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Redesigning with Headway While Your Website Is Live

As you make changes in the Visual Editor and save them, your live website is updated. If you’re designing a new website that hasn’t been announced to the world, it’s not much of an issue to be designing it live in Headway.

When you’re redesigning an existing website, though, you probably don’t want the site to be in upheaval during the redesign process.

Note: Before you re-design your site, you may want to export your layouts, block settings, and designs in case you want to use them again. See Reusing Blocks, Layouts, and Designs.

Moving to Headway from Another Theme

If you are replacing your current theme with Headway, one way to redesign your website behind the scenes is to use the Theme Test Drive.

  1. In the WordPress admin panel, install Headway, but don’t activate it.
  2. Install the Theme Test Drive plugin from the WordPress > Plugins > Add New panel.
  3. Click Theme Test Drive in the Appearance menu.
  4. Select Headway Base, and then click Enable.
  5. Develop your Headway design.
  6. When your new design is ready to go live, disable Theme Test Drive and then activate the Headway theme.

Be aware that WordPress can have a hard time handling two sets of widget-ready sidebars (old and new) during this process, so some of your current widgets may show up as inactive when you disable Theme Test Drive.

Note: In addition to the Visual Editor, Headway includes settings in the admin panel. When you activate Headway Base, configure these admin settings, such as search engine optimization.

Redesigning Your Existing Headway Theme

To develop your new design while Headway is already active, you will need a development environment. This environment could be a subdomain on your live site or a site you set up on your local computer with software that imitates a web server. Using a subdomain is recommended because relative links won’t break.

See Copying or Moving Your Website for instructions if you need them for copying everything to a development site.

When you are satisfied with your Design:

1) Make sure both your live installation and your development installation are using an up-to-date version of Headway

2) Export the Template on your development site (See this section for how to Export your Template)

3) Import the Template you created to your Live Site (See this section for how to  Import your Template)

4) Activate your new Template (See this section for how to Activate your Template)

This article was last updated for Headway version 3.8.5

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