I’d like to thank Erika Nicole Kendall at Hype IMD for designing my new theme! If you’ve read my blog before you know that I’ve had the same old hacked up theme for several years now. I gave her my requirements and some basic ideas and she did the rest. If it’s time for a theme refresh on your blog or web site, I suggest you click that link and ask her for a consult! She did an outstanding job based on what a pain in the ass I can be, and I didn’t have to do a thing – other than figure out where to put what.

Having said that, the job of “where to put what” took what seemed like forever! I think I worked on it 5-6 hours today alone before I set it live minutes ago. I don’t change themes very often because there are must soooo many things to think of. I figured since I just went through this it would be beneficial to write down all the things I to think about before I could turn the new theme on for good.

First of all – once you get your new theme coded, you should test it for awhile to make sure everything is ok. You can test it without anyone knowing by simply using the Theme Test Drive Plugin. Once enabled, whenever you are logged in as admin you’ll see your new theme on your blog, but no one else will!

Next, make list of all the things your old theme has and make sure your new theme does as well. If it doesn’t, consider creating the pages you need based on your new index.php (home) page.

– do you have a search page?
– do you have a 404.php (page not found) page?
– do you have archives pages?
– do you have category and / or tag pages?
– do you need to customize comments.php?
– do you have any page templates you need to create?
– is anything hardcoded into your old theme?
– are all your plugins up to date?

This blog is pretty big with 4,000+ pages indexed in google. My old theme had category images, dozens of category template pages, and lots of hard-coded stuff. Like page navigation, breadcrumbs, translation blocks, and more. Over the last 3 weeks I’m sure I worked 40 hours+ making sure the new theme had everything I needed to launch. That also included updating my entire category structure as well though.

If you’re launching a new theme, my advice to you is to backup everything, make a list of work to be done, and make sure you have at least a few sets of eyes (besides yours) test your entire blog before you put it live! How do you like my new theme? I think it’s awesome! If you have a product or service to sell that has to do with WordPress or blogging – I suggest you buy one of my banner slots today before they’re all sold out!