Changing WordPress.com themes is a straightforward process; however, it’s not always clear how deep the changes actually go, or what you should do after you get yourself a shiny new theme.
On the surface, a lot changes when you switch themes. After all, your website is getting a whole new look.
Under the hood, however, the most crucial elements of your website stay the same:
- Your content won’t vanish. When changing WordPress.com themes, your posts and pages stay online and can be accessed by your readers, as usual.
- Your general website settings will stay intact. This involves your domain name, any plugins you installed (if you have a WordPress.com Business plan), and everything else you configured in the Settings panel of your dashboard.
There are five main areas to which to direct your attention:
1. General appearance of your posts and pages
As great as a theme preview might look prior to applying it, some things can look a bit off once you enable a new theme.
Take a look at a few of your posts and pages to make sure everything looks as expected.
Unfortunately, if there are serious inconsistencies, there’s not much you can do about it. In most situations, you’ll have to revert to your previous theme.
2. Homepage settings
Your new theme might come with a custom look for the homepage.
If that’s the case, you can configure it through the WordPress.com Customizer.
To access it from the main sidebar, click Customize next to Themes. You’ll see something like this:
There are many options along the left sidebar of the Customizer, but the one you’re looking for is labeled Homepage Settings (or something similar).
Click on this button to see what options are available.
Also in the Customizer, you’ll see a sub-menu titled Widgets.
Every WordPress.com theme handles widgets differently. When you switch WordPress.com themes, some of your widgets might not be displayed anywhere.
Go through your list of widgets and reassign them to the available widget areas to regain their original functionalities.
4. Navigation menus
Menus are yet another thing that themes tend to handle differently. Hence, you need to check to ensure your navigation menus are visible. Click on Menus in the Customizer sidebar.
Then, flip through the available menu locations to make sure that your menus are right where you want them to be.
5. Other theme settings
Some themes come with a lot of customization options right out-of-the-box. This is convenient as it allows you to tune up a theme’s design to suit your individual preferences.
Once again, these customizations can most commonly be found in the Customizer.
Depending on your new theme, you can locate different sub-menus in the Customizer’s sidebar, allowing you to adjust things like color palettes, website backgrounds, fonts, and header images.
Go through these options one by one to see what effect they have on your site’s appearance. Once you’re done, click Publish to save your changes.
Congratulations! You’ve just successfully changed your WordPress.com theme and verified that your site works as expected.
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