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How to Change Themes In WordPress

If you’ve ever used a non-WordPress platform before, you might have felt frustrated with the limited options for themes to choose from. But don’t worry, WordPress doesn’t have that problem – thousands of themes are available. In this article, we’ll show you how to change themes in WordPress and discuss why you might want to do so.

But what if you already have content on your site? Can you switch themes without losing your content? We’ll address that question and tackle other theme-related queries you might have about WordPress.

Now, let’s jump into changing themes on WordPress!

Table of Contents for How to Change Theme in WordPress

How Your Theme Impacts Your Success

success

Your WordPress theme plays a crucial role in your website or blog’s success for various reasons. I’ll briefly outline some of these reasons, and we’ll dive deeper into them later in this article.

What aspects does your theme impact?

  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Web page loading times
  • User engagement
  • Readability
  • Security
  • Crawlability

The success of your website or blog often depends on the theme you choose.

Don’t worry though, you can always change your WordPress theme at any time.

Why Consider Changing Your WordPress Theme?

Why consider changing your theme? Well, there are several compelling reasons why you might want to switch your WordPress theme.

Let’s explore some of the common motivations.

Change Theme Reasons: Create a Website With a Unique Look

Many websites on the internet still use the default WordPress theme that comes pre-installed. You could choose to follow this path, and your website will function perfectly fine.

The problem is you won’t stand out from the crowd. After all, WordPress is the the most popular blogging and website platform on the internet.

Make your website unique by installing a new theme and customizing it according to your tastes. By changing the color scheme, layout, fonts and other visual elements, you can craft a unique website that leaves a lasting impression on your visitors. They’ll keep coming back for more.

Change Theme Reasons: New Site Goals

You may decide to take your blog or website in a new direction, or expand it to cover new topics. That’s a great time to change the theme and let visitors know you are heading in a new direction.

Change Theme Reasons: Security and Speed

speed

Your WordPress theme can make a big difference to the speed of your website which will impact user engagement and SEO ranking potential.

Furthermore, a poorly coded or unsupported theme can leave your website vulnerable to attacks by hackers and ransomware gangs.

For peace of mind, opt for a theme from reputable developers who actively maintain WordPress themes and have received positive customer testimonials.

Preparing Your Site for Theme Change

Before you dive into making big changes to your website, it’s a smart move to back it up. Ideally, set up daily automated backups from your hosting account. This way, you can make changes without any worries. You can easily revert to your most recent backup if needed.

SiteGround daily backups
SiteGround Hosting Tools – Daily automated backup, manual backup and easy restore

How to enable daily automated backups is dependant on your hosting provider. If your hosting provider doesn’t support daily backups there are several plugins that can do this for you.

Exploring the WordPress Theme Repository

The first place you can look for new themes in the official WordPress theme repository.

Official WordPress Themes Repository

You can also access the theme repository from within your WordPress Dashboard by navigating to Appearance -> Themes in the menu.

Change Theme in WordPress from the Appearance menu.
WordPress Dashboard – Select Appearance then Themes from the menu

From the themes page you can install new themes, activate and deactivate themes and delete WordPress themes (as long as the theme is not currently active).

Selecting Your New WordPress Theme

Consider previewing a new theme before installing it. This is a smart move to get a glimpse of how the visual layout and styling will transform your website.

preview WordPress theme
Mouse over theme to see the “Live Preview” button

Hover your mouse over the theme you’d like to preview, and the display will dim, revealing a “Theme Details” overlay with two buttons at the bottom.

Click the “Live Preview” button to visualize how your website will appear with this theme.

It’s important to note that the new theme is not installed, so no permanent changes will be made to your website. If you’re satisfied with the theme, you can click on the “Activate and Publish” button located at the top left of the page.

To return to the themes page without installing or activating the new theme, simply click on the “x” button.

Installing and Activating Your New Theme

First, make sure you have a backup of your website before installing a new theme. Second, changing your theme shouldn’t result in any content loss on your website.

To activate a theme, go to the theme page and click the “Activate” button. If you are previewing a theme, you can click on the “Activate and Publish” button.

Remember, your old theme is still installed – it’s just not active anymore. If needed, you can always switch back to the old theme by reactivating it.

Customizing Your New WordPress Theme

You can use the standard WordPress customize page (available on the Appearance menu in the WordPress Dashboard) to change theme settings.

From this page you can make changes to the colors, fonts, widgets and menu of your new theme. In addition, some themes may add other sections you can customize.

Don’t forget to press the ‘Publish’ button after you make theme changes.

Testing Your New Theme

It’s possible that after you install and activate a new theme, it could lead to visual layout issues.

For example, menus and widgets may not display correctly, as the new styling could cause elements to wrap or become hidden.

It’s crucial to ensure that your website continues to function properly. Check that navigation, menus, widgets, sidebars, blog layout, and the header/footer elements still display correctly.

Check the Loading Times

You don’t want your new theme to have a negative impact on loading times. This could negatively affect user engagement and your ranking potential.

Many website tools can check the speed of your website for you, for example: https://tools.pingdom.com

Check for Mobile Friendliness

Google uses your mobile website for indexing and crawling. Up to 50% of your website visitors will access your website from a mobile device. It’s important your website works and looks good on mobile devices.

Check your website is mobile friendly by using Google’s test tool:

Google Mobile Friendly Test

If Google finds any mobile issues you can try to resolve them or revert back to your previous theme. Here is an article about finding and fixing mobile usability issues.

Check your website after a new theme install for visual issues and missing elements

Finalizing the Theme Change

Once you’ve confirmed that your new theme is working correctly, it’s a smart move to delete your old WordPress theme. This action not only frees up valuable resources on your web server but also eliminates any unused code that could potentially be exploited by hackers to gain access to your system.

Final Thoughts on How to Change Theme in WordPress

Thanks for reading this article! I hope it helps you understand how to update your WordPress theme on your website.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Backup your website before updating your theme
  • Changing your theme can improve speed, security, readability and more
  • Explore over 10,000 themes at the official WordPress Theme repository
  • Test a theme after activating it to ensure your site still functions correctly

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