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Changing WordPress Themes? My Experience Shows How Straightforward It Is

Changing WordPress Themes? My Experience Shows How Straightforward It Is

I hope that you have the same experience if and when you decide to change WordPress Themes.

Changing WordPress Theme

I was happy with the previous WordPress Theme, however…

I had been using the Iconic One WordPress theme for a while and was happy with it.

There is a lot going for it. It is a nice clean responsive theme. However when I visited other WordPress sites on the internet, I came across the SongWriter WordPress theme which I was impressed with straightaway. I like its layout and it seemed to me to have a nicer user interface.

Now this of course is a personal thing.

About to switch, what preparation needs to be done?

So before I could actually change over to a different WordPress theme, there is some preparation work that may need to be done.

In my case, I had done some ‘under the hood’ work with my version of the Iconic One One theme.

So I needed to dig out these changes, so that if need be, I could apply them to my version of the SongWriter WordPress Theme.

Not a lot fell out

I was actually thrilled and delighted to discover:

  • header.php was modified to include some Google Analytics code.
  • footer.php was modified to include my copyright notice, the link to my affiliate disclosure page, the link to my terms and conditions page and the link to my privacy policy page.

Ok, ready, steady, go …

I went into my WP Dashboard, selected appearance, selected themes, selected new. Then over on the right, I entered Songwriter into the search themes search box. It displayed an image of the theme. I selected Load. After it was loaded and installed on my WordPress site, I selected Live Preview. I liked what I saw and noted a few things I needed to check.

Some minor changes

The top menu was not what I wanted. So I went into WP Dashboard, Appearance, Menus and noted my current main menu details on the back of an envelope. Well, it was asking for it. 🙂

Then back to WP Dashboard, Appearance, themes. I then made the Songwriter theme active.

I then went back to WP Dashboard, Appearance, menus. And made my main menu the main header menu by ticking the appropriate box at the bottom of the menu and clicking update.

I then visited my site. It looked like I expected. 🙂

I then went into the WP Dashboard, Appearance, Editor, and selected the header.php file. I changed it to include the Google Analytics code and clicked update. I then visited my site. It looked like I expected.

Always good to test changes as you go along when possible to confirm that all is well and if not, to either correct or revert back. All was well.

Marching on…

I went into the WP Dashboard, Appearance, Widgets.

I was thrilled to see that this theme had options related to footer notices.

Well, guess what? I could insert some html code in here to replicate the changes I made to the other theme’s footer page. I did that. I worked with it some and am happy to say that my copyright notice, the link to my affiliate disclosure page, the link to my terms and conditions page and the link to my privacy policy page are in my Footer notice widget.

No need to go near the footer.php file. Always good where possible, not to change php code that is working well on numerous other sites on the web.

I visited my site. I noticed my right hand sidebar had a search option.

This new theme displays a search option on the top right hand side.

Having both was not required. So one had to go. I removed the one from my right hand sidebar as I knew straight away how to do this without thinking.

I visited my site and it was as I expected.

It was late then, so I left that in place. My website in my opinion looked a lot better. Happy days. 🙂

Time for a break, and then resume later

The next day, I did some additional changes to make it even better. I went into my WP Dashboard, Appearance, theme options. And went through each of these options.

  • In General Settings, I changed the “Display Breadcrumb Navigation” option to hide. An additional WordPress plugin is required in order to use this and at the moment, I do not want to manage another WordPress plugin unless I really have to.
  • General Settings for this Word Press Theme allows an favicon to be uploaded and specified. There are instructions in this Word Press Theme if this is something that you want to do.
  • In Header Settings, I changed nothing. I left those settings as is.
  • In Posts/Pages Settings, I changed the “Display Featured Image on single posts” to hide. It was putting the image above my post. I usually display a similar image on the top right of a post, so having both displayed was not a good idea. When I was there, I changed the “Display Featured Image on pages” to hide. And of course, I click on the save all changes button.
  • In Post Entries Settings, I changed nothing. I left those settings as is.
  • In Fonts, I changed nothing. I left those settings as is.
  • In Other Settings, I selected header image. I then went to my favorite place to get images and tried a few different images. It usually takes some time and effort to find a suitable image. In this case, I had to go away and come back to this later, because the images I was finding were just not suitable. In a later session, I found a great one and put that in place on my website.
  • I obtained feedback regarding this big image which suggested that maybe, just maybe, that it was not such a good idea. I then tried a few different things. For now, I have removed that big image. Now, I do know how to implement it if I obtain a really brilliant suitable image. 🙂
  • In other Settings, I selected Background settings. I worked with this some and found a good color for my background. That is now in place.

I then visited my site. I am very pleased with the result. Happy Days. 🙂

Any Google developer insight concerns?

I also visited the Google developer insights page before I made any changes using the previous WordPress theme and after I had moved to the current WordPress theme with the above points implemented.

There were some little differences. Overall, more or less the same. However I think my website looks way better now than it did a few days earlier.

All in, a good experience

I hope that my experience helps you if or when you decide to change WordPress themes. My experience may even help you to explore the options that you have available within your WordPress theme and help you make your website better. If so, great.

Very Important

In my opinion it is very important that you take a number of precautions when changing WordPress Themes. At the very least you should do a complete backup of your website before you change your WordPress Theme.

It may also be an idea to setup a test website and implement the “new” theme there. WordPress Themes are different and different WordPress Theme developers put ‘similar’ functionally in different places.

Of course, not all functionally from your “old” theme may be in the “new” theme. You might need time to figure out the differences and if necessary how to implement any “old” functionally that the “new” theme does not have.

Or if the cost is too great in terms of your time or costs, you might have to forego some of your “old” functionally in the “new” theme.

Update in May 2021

The SongWriter WordPress Theme has not been maintained for some time.

I captured the following screenshot on May 8th 2021 at https://wordpress.org/themes/songwriter/

Song Writer WordPress Theme

As you can see from the above screenshot, this WordPress Theme was last updated on September 19th 2016. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

I therefore needed to switch to a theme that was been maintained and updated to include the latest developments in the exciting fast moving WordPress world.

I have been using the GeneratePress WordPress Theme since January 31st 2019. I opted for the premium version as the premium version has additional functionally that I wanted.

A disclosure, I may earn if you buy using links on this webpage.

I am still using the GeneratePress WordPress Theme with the premium plugin. There is a small recurring cost every year so that I can get the latest updates and support from GeneratePress.

Hi, I'm David. I write articles such as this one. Enjoy!

[More About David]
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2 thoughts on “Changing WordPress Themes? My Experience Shows How Straightforward It Is”

  1. I have been looking to change my WordPress theme for some time now. I think I have found the right advice in this post to help me in changing my theme. But I’m pleased to say thanks to Davids advice i have finally found the how to information on how to go about changing my theme. Thanks David.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you Chris for those kind words. You have me bursting with pride. 🙂

      Cheers,
      David

      Reply

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