Before you change WordPress themes, you need to do a few things.

Do you have any questions about what you should do before switching WordPress themes?

When switching your WordPress theme, there are a few crucial procedures to follow to guarantee that the transition goes well and that no vital data is lost.

We’ll go over the top things you should do before switching WordPress themes in this checklist.

Changing a theme is a big decision that every website owner has to make every few years.

Of course, you must decide why you’re switching and select a theme that meets all of your requirements.

If you’re seeking recommendations, we have a list of the best WordPress multi-purpose themes and best WordPress blog themes.

Once you’ve decided on a theme, go over the checklist below to make sure you don’t lose any content or data in the process.

  1. Make a list of any WordPress theme customizations that you’ve made.

Some WordPress website owners alter their themes by inserting code snippets into the theme files. Code snippets can let you add additional features to your website that aren’t included in the default theme.

However, if you add those snippets to your theme files directly, it’s simple to lose track of them.

If you or a web developer made these modifications, look through your current theme files and note all of the new code.

We always propose using a site-specific plugin or a code snippets plugin to add code snippets in the future. You’ll be able to maintain those snippets even if you switch themes later. Check our beginner’s guide to pasting web snippets into WordPress for additional information.

  1. Get Up-to-Date Performance Metrics for Your WordPress Theme

Before changing your theme, make sure your present website’s loading speed and performance are satisfactory. This allows you to compare any changes in page load time after switching themes.

Because WordPress speed and performance are critical for user experience and SEO, you’ll want to be sure the new theme is faster than the one you’re currently using.

Using a WordPress speed testing tool like IsItWP’s free website speed testing tool, you can verify your existing website speed metrics.

See our tutorial on doing a website speed test for more information.

  1. Make a list of the theme’s current sidebars and widget areas.

Sidebars are used to add widgets such as email newsletter signup forms, social media buttons, popular posts, and more to your website.

When you switch themes, your widgets may unexpectedly relocate or disappear from your site because each theme has various widget regions.

Before switching themes, compile a list of the widgets you’re using in your WordPress sidebars and any other widget locations on your website. Then, after switching, you can easily recreate them.

If you’ve used any custom code or shortcodes, make a copy of them and save them somewhere safe so you can utilize them with your new theme.

  1. Copy the WordPress tracking codes that are already in place.

Many users will include analytics tracking code in their theme files directly. You can also add tracking codes to your theme options panel in some WordPress themes.

It’s all too easy to overlook these crucial tracking codes.

Duplicate all of your website tracking codes for analytics, advertising, and other purposes to paste them into your new website.

To make things easier for yourself, we recommend installing Google Analytics in WordPress with a plugin like MonsterInsights.

You can feel certain that your analytics will not be disrupted or data lost when you use Monster Insights.

  1. Make a backup of your current WordPress site.

Backing up your website regularly is always a smart idea. It would help if you backed up all your posts, pages, plugins, media, and databases before changing your theme.

The simplest way to do this is to create a backup of your complete site using a WordPress backup plugin. See our guide on how to backup your WordPress site using UpdraftPlus for more information.

This will ensure that you can recover your website if something goes wrong while switching themes.

  1. Activate Maintenance Mode on your WordPress site

It’s always a good habit to place your website into maintenance mode while making modifications. You can display a user-friendly notice to your visitors when in maintenance mode.

This keeps your visitors from seeing your website while it’s still being built or half-finished.

We propose utilizing the SeedProd plugin for this. It’s the most popular drag-and-drop WordPress page builder, with over a million websites.

It allows you to design custom maintenance mode pages, landing pages, coming soon pages, 404 pages, and more with ease.

  1. Check all of your WordPress plugins and their functionality.

Once you’ve installed a new WordPress theme, double-check that it has the same functionality as the previous one and that all of your old plugins work with it.

Start by re-inserting the code snippets you copied from your previous WordPress theme files. See our beginner’s guide to copying code snippets into WordPress for more information.

Then, spend some time using the WordPress plugins that power your site’s functionality. If you’re having difficulties with WordPress errors right now, check out our beginner’s guide to troubleshooting WordPress errors.

  1. Run a Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Test on a New WordPress Theme

Cross-browser testing ensures that your new website is compatible with various browsers, screen sizes, operating systems, and mobile devices.

Most of your readers will most likely visit your WordPress blog using Google Chrome. Other web browsers, like Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and others, are still used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

If one of those browsers doesn’t work properly with your new website, you lose visitors and traffic.

To check how your website looks across different browsers and devices, you can utilize various cross-browser testing tools.

See our tutorial on testing a WordPress site in multiple browsers for more information.

  1. Remove WordPress Plugins You Don’t Use

When you install some WordPress themes, they come with pre-installed plugins. Some of them may be useful, but you won’t need them all the time.

To see if your theme has included any new plugins, navigate to Plugins » Installed Plugins.

Now is also an excellent time to check over your complete plugin list to determine if there are any that should be removed.

See our list of must-have WordPress plugins if you’re seeking high-quality plugins to go with your new theme.

  1. Inform your users that your new website is up and running.

You can turn off maintenance mode once you’re ready to publish your new WordPress theme.

You should also contact your readers and inform them about your new website. This will help keep your subscribers engaged and return to your site to view the new design and ensure that they are not confused by any major design changes.