I serve as webmaster for four sites (including this blog). In this post, I summarize several factors that motivated me to redesign the online store that I manage.
Step 1: I noticed that some of my sidebar content was missing
I have been using WordPress as my content management system since 2007. I set up my storefront 6 years ago using a WordPress template that I purchased from a third-party developer called Expand2Web.com. Over the years, I was able to modify the site content and page structure, replacing my original home page with a custom design that I created in LeadPages. Updating the home page to reflect current prices was a bit cumbersome, as I always had to access my LeadPages account in order to initiate the process. Nevertheless, the site ran normally until last fall when I noticed that some of the sidebar content (my banner ads) was missing.
Uncaught TypeError: k is not a function
Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property ‘hasClass’ of undefined
A Google search uncovered a number of hits regarding the Uncaught TypeError: k is not a function error, such as one found on the Mozilla Developers’ site.
A search for the second error led to a WordPress.org bug report entitled, “jQuery problems since 4.9 update: Cannot read property ‘hasClass’ of undefined.”
Step 3: I couldn’t open or move widgets in the WordPress admin screen
Logging into WordPress using my admin account, I opened up the Widgets configuration screen that allows me to modify my site’s sidebar content. To my dismay, I found that I could not drag-and-drop widgets from the available list to the sidebar, nor could I open or make changes to any previously configured widgets, which were locked in place.
An Internet search revealed a number of hits that corresponded with this system behavior, such as:
Can’t open or move widgets after WordPress update
Custom HTML Widget won’t open
Media Cafe | WordPress.org
Several support articles suggested that a problematic plugin or theme could be the cause of the disabled widget menu. I disabled my installed plugins one-by-one and the widget problem persisted. I then used the troubleshooting feature of the Health Check plugin to determine that the widgets menu on my site opened fine using a plain vanilla WordPress template with all plugins disabled.
Step 4: Solve my problem by changing themes
Having eliminated one or more plugins as the culprit, I focused my attention on my installed theme. Logging on the Expand2Web site, I encountered header text that revealed that the developer had retired the SmallBiz template.
That revelation spurred me to pursue a more contemporary, business-friendly template that is compatible with current WordPress standards. Because my ‘old’ site supported several sidebar layouts (e.g., right sidebar, left sidebar, and no sidebar), I auditioned several WordPress templates that offered this feature. I elected to install the free version of the Spacious template that is designed by ThemeGrill.com.
By switching themes and eliminating LeadPages as a page creator, I have increased my daily site traffic on my store by over 10%.