How to Change Your WordPress Theme: A Step-By-Step Guide

Change is exciting — but also a bit terrifying, right?! We know you work hard on your blog, and changing your WordPress theme is a big step, especially if you haven’t done it before. While the process is pretty straightforward, and we do our best to walk you through setup and how we’ve organized the different options, sometimes issues still arise and you may not know where to look for a solution. So today we’re sharing a step-by-step guide to changing your WordPress theme, complete with tips for fixing common errors (or avoiding them completely!), and getting your new theme to look just right. Let’s get started!

1. Put up a coming soon page.

While it’s tempting to set up your new theme in the Customizer and activate your changes when ready, we only recommend this in two instances: 1) for preview purposes only, when you want to see how a new theme looks on your site before you commit, or 2) when you want to make simple tweaks to your current theme. Instead of using the Customizer, we prefer to put up a coming soon page while setting up your new theme, which allows you to activate your new theme immediately and see exactly how it works on your site. So even before you install your new theme, we always recommend putting up a coming soon page first.

Why is this so important? For one thing, once you’ve installed your new theme, if something does go wrong, it’s much easier to troubleshoot when that  theme is actually active. The Customizer does a great job creating a preview for the front-end of your site, but it’s not great at showing you what’s happening in the WordPress admin area, nor does it give you an easy way to test for plugin conflicts. Furthermore, your new theme has to be active to properly resize thumbnails, which we’ll discuss later in this post! Finally, a coming soon page will give you peace of mind—you’ll feel a lot better about messing around with your new theme and admin area if you know your users can’t see all your tinkering! Keep reading “How to Change Your WordPress Theme: A Step-By-Step Guide”

Why You Should Know About Coming Soon Pages

Whether you’re launching a brand new website, changing your WordPress theme, or just making a few tweaks behind the scenes, a coming soon page is an important tool in your website toolbox.

In fact, it’s one of the recommendations we email new <em>press customers about most. When you buy a new theme—from us, or from anyone!—it’s likely you want to take a few hours/days/weeks to get things customized, familiarize yourself with the settings, and generally make sure everything looks great before taking your theme live. Unless you duplicate your site on a staging site on your host server (a post for another day!), the only way to make customizations to your new theme is to activate it. But in the interim, you might not want your readers to see a half-customized site, nor all the changes happening behind the scenes. That’s where a coming soon page comes in!

WHAT IS IT?

coming soon page gives you a place to send people as you build your new site, and you can even use it to promote your social media accounts and gather emails before you launch! A coming soon page is also a great way to notify your visitors that you’re making site updates, so you can make changes without users seeing your work in progress.

HOW DO I GET IT?

Our favorite plugin for creating coming soon and maintenance pages is Seed Prod Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode. We use the Pro version on our site and for our clients, but they offer a free version as well that’s perfect if you need something up quickly, or for a short period of time.

Pro Version

What do we love about the Pro version? It syncs with MailChimp, our favorite mailing list provider, and makes it easy to build a gorgeous page without digging into code. It’s a great option if you’re launching a brand new site and need to create a customized landing page leading up to your launch, but don’t want to spend a ton of cash having it professionally designed and developed. You can add background images, customize your text, and add simple calls to action in their easy-to-use editor!

Free version

The free version has a simple interface for uploading your logo and a simple “Be back soon!” message. It’s perfect for a maintenance page while you change your theme or make tweaks behind the scenes. However, note that customizations are limited, so you won’t be able to brand your coming soon page with colors or fonts that match your brand identity. But it’s a perfect solution if you think your site will only be “offline” for a couple days, or maybe a week or two.

Whether you use the pro version or the free, we love that this plugin lets you edit your live site while still communicating to readers what’s going on, so you can always make a good impression. And don’t worry — with our straightforward theme customizer, it won’t take you too long to setup your new <em>press theme and show it off to the world!

How to style our Shop the Post plugin with CSS

While all of our plugins are built to display beautifully in any of our themes, we know many of our customers use themes from other shops — and have put a lot of hard work into getting that theme to look just right. By the time you discover us, your theme is sitting pretty, and while you still long for that extra bit of functionality our plugins provide, it’s a bummer they don’t match your current theme perfectly. Sound familiar?

Today, we’re showing you how to style our popular Shop the Post plugin to blend seamlessly with your site. Consider this post a great jumping off point for adding styles to our other plugins, too! This tutorial will be helpful if you’ve added the plugin on to a theme you bought elsewhere, OR if you’ve customized an <em>press theme with your own brand fonts and colors, and need the plugin to match.

Whether or not you use <em>press plugins, this tutorial is worth a read for any blogger, as this process applies to many other WordPress plugins! And if you’re not sure how to use CSS to style your site, be sure to check out our post on CSS basics before reading this one.

Keep reading “How to style our Shop the Post plugin with CSS”