WordPress has become the synonym for unlimited functionality. From blogs to e-commerce it can manage it all. With a share of approximately 1/3rd websites from the total live website on the internet, WordPress is constantly serving its users with new features, updates, and advancements.
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and hence every small & big aspect associated with needs a makeover. A website is a perfect example of that. Websites play a crucial role in ensuring conversions and generating leads. But, with time it needs updating and sometimes a complete makeover depending upon the industry one is associated with.
Users are frequently advised to change WordPress theme as it is the most convenient method of updating the appearance. But there are thousands of users online who made mistakes and lost considerable data. This short read will answer everything that you need to know regarding modifying the appearance of your website.
Effect of changing your WordPress theme
1. When I change WordPress theme, do I lose everything?
This is the primary and amongst the frequently asked questions. The simple answer to it is NO. WordPress is a flexible platform and it has been designed in a fashion where one can easily change the appearance.
In fact, when you make a change the Plugins and WordPress core functionality will remain the same. Only the aspects of the website that are directly or indirectly related to the theme will be changed or gone.
2. When I change WordPress theme, what happens to the post content, page, and plugins?
A database stores the content of your website, which is a peculiar feature of using WordPress. This means that even if you change the appearance of your WordPress website, your data remains preserved in the database. Hence, re-uploading the old data will not be an issue.
Posts and Pages are standard in WordPress which means you do not need to be concern regarding them. When you modify the appearance, in any case, they will not disappear. Not only this but tags, categories, and even comments on the blog will be preserved.
Plugins are directly related to the functionality of the WordPress sites. In most cases, plugins are designed keeping in mind that users change WordPress theme. Hence most of them will work fine. But, if any plugin used by you is theme-specific then it will stop functioning. Such plugins will work only with specific themes.
3. What happens to the media library images when I change WordPress theme?
The appearance change of the website will not affect the media library. Hence, there is no need to be worried about it. In case you want to reuse any images from the existing theme then copy that image from the specific folder. The theme folder can be found outside the media library.
4. Everything you need to know relating to the theme differences
Each theme on the WordPress platform is unique and sometimes different in terms of functionality from the others. Hence, before you change the appearance it is important to know the difference it can cause. It is also essential to prepare for coping up with these differences in advance.
Functions and appearance of your website are changed when you use a new theme. There are many elements that vary from one theme to another like page templates, menu locations, theme-specific widgets, widget areas, theme-specific shortcodes, custom post types, element styling, and scripts.
5. What do I do if everything is distorted after I changed my theme?
It is quite possible that everything may seem to be broken when you first change the appearance. There is no reason to panic. All you need is just a reset and reshuffling of elements according to the new appearance pattern.
Different themes have various names for the widget area. It is possible that the existing widgets become inactive or move to a different area. First, go to the Widgets option from the Appearance Menu. Make sure that the existing widgets are placed only in the new theme’s widget area.
The same can also occur with the Menu locations. Compared to the old theme the location and name of the Menu will differ. Repeat the same process here and go to the Menu option from the Appearance Setting. Assign your Menu to the new location according to the appearance.
6. Things to take care
It is the presentation and design of the website that a theme should focus on. Plugins are made exclusively for enhancing the WordPress functionality and hence themes must not do it. If this simple norm is followed then there is no need to worry.
Web developers often create custom post types during the development of the theme. But if you use a plugin instead for custom post types it will remain forever. This means that it will not affect the functionality even if you modify the appearance.
Even if the theme has a custom post type it is recommended that you recreate it with a plugin for your safety in operations. This will help you in preserving all your contents which will be stored in the database.
Hence the moral of this learning is to conduct an accurate analysis of the elements which are theme-specific. Replace such elements with plugins functionality and secure your data. In certain cases, even Google Analytics is coded with the theme. Here also you will end up losing it when you modify your theme.
It is recommended that you clone your website with a development staging area before you end up playing with a new theme. Many hosting servers offer this service and you can choose from any of them. With this, you can freely test any theme while your site is still live on the web. This also ensures that you can test all the theme-specific features. It enables you to take a final call of whether to use a particular theme or not after thorough testing.
In case you do not intend to do so then double-check that you have a complete back up of the entire site data. This must include all the content and also the photograph.