Help! This New Theme Messed Up My Site and Now I Want to Cry

A funny thing can happen when you change your WordPress theme. . .

No, it doesn’t make you laugh, it’s more likely to make you cry. It’s funny weird, not funny ha-ha.

Your sidebars, header, and/or footer get all messed up. Stuff is in all sorts of places it doesn’t belong.

It’s pretty weird when your header displays a search bar, resources, an odd navigation menu that doesn’t belong there, like this!

widgets in the wrong place

Fortunately, it’s an easy fix.

It’s All In the Widgets

If this happens to you, navigate to Appearance / Widgets. Start clicking to see what’s where.

While there’s no such thing as a standard set of widgets, here’s the type of thing you can expect to see.

WordPress widgets

Click the little arrow next to Header Right. Is there something in there that doesn’t belong? How about in the Primary or Secondary Sidebar? (Hint: if your site only includes one sidebar, you definitely shouldn’t see anything in the Secondary Sidebar widget area.)

As you click, jot down the names of widgets in each widgetized area.

Here’s what’s in the sidebar of this site currently.

primary sidebar widgets

Once you’ve completed your inventory, figure out where each widget is supposed to be.

To fix it, simply grab the out-of-position widget with your mouse, drag it to the correct area, and drop it.

Keep doing this until all your widgets are back where they belong.

Here’s what the page I showed you above looks like when I get done moving the widgets around.

widgets fixed

Doesn’t that look better?

Before You Change Your Theme

Before you change your theme, it’s a good idea to jot down the name and location of each widget. That way, if they relocate themselves, you’ll have an easier time getting them quickly back into position.


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