Changing WordPress Themes
In this article we cover the process of switching from a WordPress theme to using a Flothemes WordPress Template, including questions as what happens your existing content, SEO, how to avoid downtime or use a maintenance mode plug-in. All these and many other items that should consider to make your switch smoother.
Will I keep my existing content?
The great news is YES. When installing a new WordPress theme over another theme, your main content will be there, i.e. blog posts, pages and menus.
Of course you will have to check your pages and make sure to select the new options, if your theme provides some custom page templates, custom or posts types like galleries, testimonials, etc these posts will be missing in your new theme unless you replicate the templates, so make sure to check before making your switch, and see if there are alternative ways to display them. If you have any queries regarding custom post types and page you can send us a message here.
Will I keep my SEO?
The answer is again YES. All your SEO will be maintained as long as your permalink structure remains the same. If you want to improve your SEO further we recommend using 2 plug-ins that can really make SEO easier:
Check out their documentation for further tips and hints on how to improve SEO on your WordPress platform. Also, take a look at our Quick Guide to SEO.
Changing to a Flothemes template
As an existing WordPress user, the process will be no different than when you’ve followed setting up a theme initially. You can upload your theme in the WordPress backend, or via FTP, and activate it as normal. Learn how to install your theme here.
What you should be aware of when changing themes.
When changing themes, there are a few things that you should always consider and do before/during a switch:
- Do not activate your new template until you’re prepared to make some changes.
- Look at the plug-ins you have installed, are they necessary? Having many plug-ins can slow down loading time. You can also check out the list of plugins we recommend when using a Flotheme.
- Take note of your sidebars/widgets, generally there are no issues when swapping themes, but its always best to make note of the current sidebars that you have on your site if you want to use them on your new template. You may have to re-create them.
- Flothemes incorporates its own gallery types for portfolios, so you should be prepared to update your portfolio images to take benefit of the custom slider types. Note: this is not necessary, if you’re using a plug-in to do this already, just make sure to test that it is compatible with your new theme.
- Take your time when making changes, investing time into updating your site will make the user experience better, make some changes and test them as you go along.
- When you are ready to make changes, install the Flo Launch plugin or add a maintenance mode plug-in and activate it.
- When you have activated your new theme make sure to set up your menu, changing themes will often deselect your menu, simply go back into appearance > menus and reselect your existing menu, or set up a new menu. Also remember widget area’s may need to re-set as mentioned in point 3.
Using the Flo Launch plugin
Now you can forget about Maintenance Mode, Coming Soon pages and sleepless working nights. With Flo Launch you can safely test drive any theme, plugin or idea that you have for your blog, while visitors continue browsing on your actual site.
Here are the main steps you should go through when working with this plugin:
1.Download and Install the plugin
2.Make a Database backup
3.Enable the test mode. Note: the plugin functions based on cookies, so the test mode is activated only in the browser where the “Enable Test Mode” button was clicked.
4.While the test mode is activated install and activate your new theme and plugins. Set up your layouts and pages as you wish.
5.When your test site is done, you can publish it so it’s available to everybody.
For a more detailed tutorial on how to install and use Flo Launch, check our tutorial here.
Using a Maintenance Mode plugin
When activating a new theme over an existing theme, your site will now look differently. Please do not activate the theme until you’re prepared to take some time to make relevant changes. The second best thing after Flo Launch is to use a maintenance mode plug-in so that your users know that your site is undergoing some changes. It also allows you to give them some information so that they can still get in touch with you and not lose out on those important inquiries.
If you do not want any downtime on your website, at Flothemes we provide installation services which you can see here: www.flothemes.com/get-started. The full installation package will cover a full move for you.
What is a Maintenance Mode plugin?
In short, a maintenance mode plug-in creates a simple one page cover for your site to let users know that your website is under maintenance. It may look something like the following (but it depends on the plugin you use):
Recommended Maintenance Mode Plug-ins
There are hundreds of maintenance mode plugins available for WordPress but our personal favorites are as follows:
WP Maintenance Mode
Ultimate Coming Soon Page
WP Construction Mode
Please note that you will still be able to view your own website when you have a maintenance mode plugin installed and activated if you’re logged into your WordPress account.
Installing the Theme
If you have already purchased a Flotheme you can follow our tutorial on how to install a theme here.
Note: If you’re planning to use a Maintenance Plugin, don’t activate your new theme until you’re prepared to make changes. If you’ll be switching with the help of Flo Launch, backup and enable the test mode before starting to work on your site.
Ready to make changes
Once you’re ready to make changes you can follow the next steps to check your site:
1.Turn on a maintenance mode plug-in if using this method / Enable your test mode with Flo Launch.
2. Set your menu in appearance > menus.
3. If there is a slideshow, check slideshows, or create a slideshow and assign to the relevant pages.
4. Check your widget areas against the list that you previously noted.
5. Review your pages, including blog, contact pages, galleries etc.
6. If you’re using new theme features add them, such as Flothemes gallery types, testimonials.
7. Replicate old custom posts types if required (advanced users only)
8. Again re-check the site, test the contact form and make sure you’re happy with all the page layouts. Once ready, de-activate the Maintenance plug-in / publish your test site with Flo Launch and let your users know that your new site is ready.
Remember to look at our documentation and youtube tutorials to make your change smoother. Here you can find how to set up any pages that come with each of our themes:
If you have any questions whilst working on your new theme, you can also drop us a message on our Facebook group or send us a support ticket here.
What to do once ready?
Once your new site is ready, test it and make sure that everything is running smoothly.
1. If everything is good to go, you can deactivate your maintenance mode plug-in / publish your test site with Flo Launch.
2. Write an article and tell your users that changes have been made. Ask for feedback as it can help improve your platform’s user experience.
3. You can use our theme launch pack to show off your beautiful new website here.
4. Also don’t forget to let us know any feedback on your experience. We are always looking to improving our themes and documentation, you can leave your thoughts here.