Changing the theme of a website is one of the scariest things a website owner could do. It is a huge change to the website which can leave a site potentially vulnerable.
For example, you only have to Google search ‘traffic drop new theme’ or anything similar to realize the extent of new themes causing huge drops in traffic.
When you change to a new theme and see a drop in traffic, it is very quick to panic. The first step is to understand why you are experiencing a drop in traffic. Is it caused by the theme, or not? Here’s my checklist to confirm.
#1 SEMRush and Ahrefs is Always Key
The first place I always look to is SEMRush and Ahrefs. This is because both can accurately predict a website’s rankings and traffic on organic results. If you see a drop in the rankings/predicted traffic here, then you may have a problem.
However, if there is no immediate decline, then the drop in traffic is natural. Traffic is not consistent and comes in waves. For example, holiday websites get the majority of their traffic during the summer and Ski resorts during the winter etc.
#2 Check Google Analytics
If you see a drop in traffic, compare that data range to the previous week. It is also worth comparing the last month to the previous year. Here it will help you see what extent the traffic drop was and if there is any consistent pattern when comparing to the year before.
This is particularly useful, especially when comparing traffic from different countries. Maybe your traffic drop was for all countries, or just one – if one, what is happening in that country to cause it? It is also especially useful in conjunction with looking at Google Search Console for this too.
#3 Is the Traffic Drop Due to the Theme
If you can rule out natural occurrences for the drop, then it is a good idea to look into your new theme and analyze some key data:
- What’s the bounce rate/average time on page, and other Google Analytics metrics looking like – are they better or worse?
- Structured data tool – does your website have the same structured data as before?
- Amount of code – has your site got much more code on it than before?
- Page speed – is your site slower since going to the new theme
- Google search console – are there any issues GSC is highlighting with your new theme?
- Mobile – is your new theme completely optimized for mobile?
- Mobile indexing – does the mobile version of the new theme have the same content as the desktop?
- Redirect issues, or content changes – has the content URL or the content itself changes since migrating?
As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons that can cause a website to drop traffic after a theme change, so be sure to check the above and see if you can find the issue to fix it as soon as you find it!