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Thinking about changing your WordPress theme? Have your checklist ready?

Here are the 11 things you should consider to add to your checklist before doing so:

The 11 things you should do before changing your WordPress theme
The 11 things you should do before changing your WordPress theme

1. Backup everything

Always backup before hand. Why? Backup enables you to restore your WordPress, if anything goes wrong. WordPress Database Backup is your tool to count on.

2. Analytics

Don’t forget to double check on your Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and other tracking codes before go live. These tools allows you to keep track of your site’s performance, measure your conversion rate, and all the insights you need to know about your WordPress site.

3. Plugins / Shortcode / Custom code

Make sure to examine all the plugins, shortcodes and custom code, remove all the old and unused plugins on the new theme to guarantee your site’s performance. You don’t want the change to slow down your WordPress sites, do you?

4. Ad code/design:

Fine-tune your ad code and design to fit nicely with the new theme, especially when working with Google Adsense, Chitika, Clicksor, etc. Pay attention to detail, because every advertiser has their own set of codes and design. You don’t want the ad code to break your design.

5. RSS feed

Subscribe to your own blog to keep yourself in the loop and make the subscribe box “visible”. RSS feed is the vital part of your blog, build your audience and send them update frequently.

6. Theme functionality

Test EVERYTHING about the theme. Seek help from anyone you can: your friend, your family and if possible, your potential customers/audiences/users. Running in beta can be a great idea before you officially make the switch. Observe and listen to your users’ behavior. Change and adapt accordingly. Don’t neglect the theme documentation! Treat it like your favorite product’s manual, it’s there for a reason.

7. Widgets

WordPress widgets add content and features to your Sidebars. With text widgets, you need to verify and copy all the added code to a new file with your note and comments. After switching to the new interface, you can add it manually. Remove the unnecessary widgets for better performance.

8. Cross-browser checks

You’re confident on how gorgeous you new WordPress theme looks? Be aware, Internet Explorer (IE) may not agree. It’s important that your site remains the same in all the popular browsers.

9. Security

This is IMPORTANT. Period.

Check your new theme for potential malicious and unwanted codes. Hackers tend to target free themes to inject links and other junks. You know you don’t want to open your doors to those evil doers, so think harder and check twice before using free themes. Read this article on How to Scan Your WordPress Site for Potentially Malicious Code

10. Links

Are you sure all your links will work? We got an advice for you: “Click them all!”, then double check with this W3C Link Checker Last but not least, link your logo to your homepage. I don’t recall any site don’t link their logo to the homepage, and you don’t want to be an awkward exception here.

11. Page size and load time

Page loading time gives you a boost in SEO ranking and better user experience. You can lean on a wide range of online tools/service out there, such as Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, etc.

Everyone has their own experience. Do you have any items apart from those above on your checklist? Are these also on your list? Please share in the comments!

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Jin is Nanny at DesignWall, a leading WordPress development company which builds responsive WordPress themes and best WordPress plugins. She makes sure everyone is happy, every question is answered, every release is bug-free. She also blogs about our products and shares her WordPress knowledge with our readers. Jin is also a travel lover.