Complete Guide to Using Thesis 2 for WordPress. Click Here.

≡ Menu

Step 56: How to test your website after it goes live

Crash Test

Photo by mariordo59.

We don’t want our website to look like the crash test pictured above.  So, how do we test changes to our site without wrecking our site?  Unless we host a separate test site, our changes go live immediately when we click the green Thesis 2 save buttons.  When I used to program, we had separate installs to work in and only after thorough testing were we allowed to go live with our changes.  Working with Thesis 2 and WordPress, our changes are immediately available to the public and we may not want this.  Maybe we are working on a new look that we don’t want everyone to see until we’re ready.  Read on to see how I solved this problem.

How to test Thesis 2 and WordPress changes without wrecking your site

As a programmer, I had to isolate my work from the live website until it was tested and ready.  Since I only have the live site to work with, I wondered how I can achieve the same type of isolation of changes on my live site.  Then it occurred to me, why not write a test post using a test category using a test template.  This post/category is never linked or exposed on the main site.  I can make my changes on the test template until I’m happy with them, then copy the test template over to the desired target template when I’m ready to go live.

Step 1 – Create a test template

From the WordPress Dashboard navigate to the Thesis 2 Skin Editor HTML Home page.

Thesis 2 HTML Template Editor

Click on the “Home” button as shown in the picture above.

Thesis 2 HTML Add New Template

A window will open showing a list of available templates.  Click the blue “Add New” button.

Thesis 2 Add New Template

Give your test template a name and click the green “Create Template” button.

Thesis 2 HTML Test Template

Our template is just a Body tag.  Now we want to copy the template that we want to test changes for to our test template.  Click on the template name, Test, to open the template list again.

Thesis 2 Copy Template Function

Using the drop-down in the “Copy from Template” column, select the template you want to test changes to.  Click the green “Copy Template” button.  WARNING: this can’t be undone so make sure you are on your test template before performing the copy.

Thesis 2 Copy Confirm Popup

You will now see that your “Single” template has been copied to your Test template.

Thesis 2 Test Template

Click the green “Save Template” button.

Thesis 2 Save Template

You can read here for more information on working with Thesis 2 templates.

Step 2 – Create a test WordPress Category

Next we need to create a test WordPress Category.  From the WordPress Dashboard click Posts > Categories.  Give your category a name and slug value.

Thesis 2 Add Category

Scroll down and check the noindex checkboxes.  No need to let search engines index this page.

WordPress noindex

Scroll to the bottom and click the “Custom Template” drop-down and select your test template.  This will assign all posts to the test category to use the test template.

Thesis 2 Select Category Template

Click the “Add New Category” button and you will see your test category in the WordPress Category List.

Thesis 2 Category List

For more information on creating WordPress Categories read this post.

Step 3 – Create a test post

Our last step is to create a test post using our test category with our test template.

From your WordPress Dashboard click Posts > Add New.

Give your test post a title and select your test category.

Thesis 2 Test Post

Check the noindex options.  Again, no need to let the search engines index this page.

WordPress noindex

Under “Thesis Skin Custom Template” click the drop-down then select your test template.

Thesis 2 Skin Custom Template

Before publishing, click the “Edit” link next to the Visibility title.  Change to “Private”, then click Publish.

Thesis 2 WordPress Private Post

Read our step for adding posts to your WordPress site.

We’re all done.

Check out your test post.  You’ll see in the bottom left of the page the template being used.

Test Post

You are now free to test changes to templates in a safely isolated place.  Check out my test page here.

Warning: some HTML changes and most CSS Package changes are global. You may need to create duplicate, test version of HTML and CSS Packages for testing purposes.

About the author: I’m a techie, a gadget geek, a former programmer, and all-around technology nut. Currently I’m a business analyst for a technology company. I love what technology can do for us. I love smartphones and apps for everything. Building sites with Thesis 2.0 and WordPress help me to reconnect with the feeling of building something tangible.

I’m on: Google+ and Twitter

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment