Here are my 5 tips to remember when editing WordPress Themes, unless you want to lose your mind in frustration.
Trust me, this can make your life easier.
Editing WordPress Themes can be a real b*tch if you aren’t careful.
I recently spent 2 days trying to fix one stupid mistake I made because I hadn’t implemented these tips. We never think we’re gonna screw things up but we definitely do from time to time.
And now I’m passing this on to you in hopes that it may save you the aggravation.
5 Kick-ass Tips You Want to Use Before Editing WordPress Themes
- Back Up, Back Up, Back Up! I don’t care what you use or how you do it but make sure you back up your stuff. This means database and files. You never know when you’ll need it but you definitely don’t want to need it when it’s not there! There are plug-ins to help you do this. Save it on your hard drive or external device for even safer keeping.
- Disable plug-ins before updating. Save yourself the trouble of having to fiddle around with configurations and settings after updating WordPress by disabling your plug-ins before you update. This won’t mess them up, you can re-activate them after your successful update. Keeping them activated can cause malfunctions and can be a pain in the arse and even more so if you mess things up more by trying to fix it. I ran into some weird errors by not doing this and tech support at my hosting company filled me in on this little tid bit.
- Use a child theme! I didn’t really understand the concept of this until I tried to use a child theme after I had already finished editing my WordPress theme the way I wanted it. The purpose of this is to customize your site without changing any of the original theme files which means that you will be able to update that theme with no complications or differences made to your site. If you tweak your site without using a child theme and then update that theme your customizations will be gone and you will have to do them all over again. By using the child theme your alterations will stay intact and you’ll get the updates you need. Use your child theme from the beginning if you can, it’s much easier to start this way than to add a child later. It’s really not that hard, you can find great instructions for setting up a child theme and just go step by step. It will save you time in the long run.
- Speed Test your site. Use Google page speed to test your site’s load time. There are many things that can affect the time it takes to load your site. Settings of plug-ins can affect your site’s speed sometimes. If you are in question of how much a plug-in slows down your site, analyze your speed before activating the plug-in and again after you’ve activated it and compare. My wt3 setting affected my speed by three points! You get a score out of one hundred and you also get specific suggestions based on your site on how to improve your speed. Very handy, this prevented me from getting rid of a plug-in that I wanted but thought it was making my site lag. After analyzing I realized it wasn’t that plug-in, after all.
- Set up a test page for tweaking and really digging into the nitty-gritty stuff when editing WordPress. Using a child theme will prevent you from losing your theme alterations after an update but it doesn’t prevent you from screwing things up in general. Tweaking and learning how to do things to your site is best done on a test site you’ve set up first. Once you’ve mastered it, duplicate what you did on the test site on your live site. That way you won’t get into a problem that you don’t know how to fix and ruin your live site like I did. Ugh. (I did this using the Pinboard theme, my slider wasn’t working and somehow I managed to royally mess things up. I then started from scratch with a new theme AND using a child theme this time and am feeling much better about future tweaking)
I hope these will be helpful to you. xo