Moving WordPress to a new theme.

We quite often get asked to quote for moving WordPress to a new theme.

Depending on how complicated your site build is, this can be an easy or complicated task!

So you’ve been working on your website for 12 months, adding new content, optimising pages and promoting via social media. The site looks great, but there’s something not quite right about it?

Then you remember; that theme you found for free – it was fine to start with, but now it’s getting in the way…

It’s time to think about moving WordPress to a new theme – something that can be a daunting task.

Get help changing your WordPress theme

How to move WordPress to a new theme.

1. Make sure you’ve backed everything up.

Having a recent backup of the site is crucial. If everything goes pear-shaped, you’ll be able to revert back to the old version of the site and theme.

2. Use a staging server to test the new WordPress theme.

Ideally, you’ll want a staging server where you can clone the current site onto, enable and test the new theme, and then push the staging site to the live environment.

If you’ve not got this functionality, get better hosting. That might sound a little severe, but this is your website we’re talking about and skimping on cheap hosting is hurting your site in more ways than you can imagine.

3. Install the theme and test, test, test.

Once you’ve installed the new theme, you need to check everything. Pages, posts, media files, links, SEO, widgets; everything.

There’s a good chance that all the hours you spent fine-tuning the 100s of different options on your old theme will all be gone. Get ready to do all that again.

4. Wish you’d never bothered?

Pessimistic, but true. Most people underestimate exactly how long they spend twiddling with their WordPress theme customizer.

It can be incredibly frustrating to have to put all the time in again, and you can get 30-hours in, only to find that your new theme doesn’t do the one thing you really need that your old theme did.

Remember that backup of the old site?

We can help you with moving WordPress to a new theme.

If your current theme needs to be replaced, we can help you move your WordPress site to a new theme.

At Toast, everything we build is 100% bespoke, so we can design and build you a new theme that does exactly what you need it to do.

We don’t just change the design, we’ll help you to:

  • Assess the current theme and site, looking at user journeys, key content and landing pages
  • Help you to analyse and improve the current content with SEO ideas based on keyword and competitor research
  • Improve your workflow by planning exactly what the new site needs to do
  • Design a customised admin interface to make using the new theme easier and quicker
  • Test, analyse and report on the new theme so you can actually see the improvements
Changing wordpress theme

Don’t think that a redesign will solve everything.

We see this far too often. You get bored of the design, so you change to a new theme (also makes it look like a new site) and three months later, the rankings haven’t improved, conversions are not happening and you’re back to square one.

Before we work on any site, we benchmark it using our Auditing software. This gives us an objective review of the site and numbers that we can work with such as:

  • The number of 404 errors and broken links
  • How many pages have slow load times
  • Images with missing ALT tags
  • Missing meta descriptions
  • Duplicate content
  • And a whole load more

Only when you have this information can you make sure that your new site is vastly superior to your old one.

Don’t just get a designer or WordPress developer to re-theme your WordPress site – talk to an agency that sees your site as a 24/7 marketing machine that should be winning you new business.

Update 2019

With Gutenberg now live, you may need to move your WordPress to a new theme simply because the old one is struggling.

If this is the case, you can always add the Classic Editor plugin to force WordPress to use the old editor, or you could consider a bespoke WordPress theme to avoid these headaches in the future.

David Foreman

David Foreman

Dave is the MD at Toast and has been working on branding, creative and web development projects for over 25 years. He's a founding member of Toast and enjoys a good rant.