The Ultimate WordPress Theme Change Checklist!

After Changing your WordPress Theme – The 22 point Checklist!

Okay! Now that you have switched the theme successfully, here is our humongous list of check points and TODOs to make sure that you have a 100% functional, performing, compatible and compliant theme live and kicking!

This points mentioned here are somewhat in logical order though it may not be necessary to follow the same order.

  1. Add Widgets code from our backup step – one at a time – to make sure that you have the skeleton of the blog ready. Do not add any ad blocks at this point if they are part of widgets
  2. Add any header scripts if any from the backup
  3. Add any custom styles (that you have backed up) and make sure that these styles are actually working in the new theme
  4. Activate your plugins one at a time using the screenshot taken before changing the theme. Please note that when you use a premium theme such as a Genesis child theme, you don’t need to reactivate some of the plugins that your dated theme used. For example, mobile site plugin, feedsmith plugin, Page Navi plugins etc. At this point DO NOT activate your caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache or Super Cache
  5. Check your feed and make sure that it is working. If you have a feed redirect option in your theme options, fill the redirect value there in (If you are using Genesis theme, you don’t need a feed redirect plugin)
  6. Check your contact form by sending a test mail to yourself
  7. If you are using any other features that are powered by plugins (e.g. archives), make sure that they are working well
  8. Check once to make sure that all webpage types are working fine – i.e. home page, a sample post, a sample page, a category archive page and a tag archive are all working well
  9. Do a site search and make sure that the search page is rendering results properly
  10. Force a ‘404 Page Not found’ hit by browsing a non-existing URL on your site (e.g. and make sure that the site’s custom 404 page works well
  11. Add your new site logo if you have designed one for the new theme
  12. Add your copyright information on the footer
  13. Add your social bookmarks widget in your theme code or if you are using plugins to achieve the same, you may configure them
  14. Check the validity of your theme code using the Markup Validation Service and remove any errors reported by editing the theme files
  15. You may do a performance test on the current status of the site using Google PageSpeed, Webpage Test or Pingdom Tools and take any corrective actions on the raw site. Of course, we will do CDN integration and cache enabling at a later stage
  16. Next, check your theme’s mobile responsiveness by browsing it in 3-4 leading mobile brands – e.g. Apple iPhone, Android small and big screen phones, Blackberry and Nokia. You may want to borrow your friends’ mobile phones for the purpose. Rectify any mobile responsiveness issues unless you want to use a separate plugin for your mobile site
  17. Run the site on 4-5 leading web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Opera) and make sure that your site is consistent and browser compatibility is maintained
  18. Redesign your AdSense and other ad blocks to reflect the new font and color scheme and add them to their respective slots or widget areas
  19. Add Google Analytics or other tracking code
  20. Enable your caching plugin and solve any inconsistencies caused by other plugins. If it refuses to cope with the site features, you may have to disable plugins one at a time and find the culprit that breaks the site
  21. If you have any CDN service opted for, enable and configure it at this point. This should be one of the last steps to do, otherwise the changes that you are making in the previous steps may not be seen properly while testing
  22. Run the W3C Markup Validator, Pingdom tools and Page Speed once again and make sure that the blog’s script compliance, performance and optimization is perfect!

There you go! Your site is back in action in its new costume!!

I am sure this run-through list is going to help you in your next WordPress theme change.

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  1. Ajith, using a plugin like Theme Tester can also be a good option for testing new themes before switching over to the new one.This plugin also keeps the old theme available for users, until we test the new theme compatibility.

    This post has come at the right time.Iam in the process of testing themes for a design change.

  2. Excellent post bro. I was also thinking of writing such a post on my blog. Normally I would prefer a responsive theme (like W3C validation is also necessary. 🙂

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