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How To Safely Change Your NationBuilder Website Theme

How To Safely Change Your NationBuilder Website Theme

If you’re planning to update your NationBuilder website theme, it’s essential to take steps not to break your web pages.

While most pages on your website should inherit the new theme’s styles and formatting automatically, pages with custom formatting or page-level templates may break, negatively affecting your supporters’ experience and hurting your search engine optimization efforts.

Follow the steps below, and you’ll be able to change your NationBuilder website theme without any issues safely.

Why Change NationBuilder Themes?

If you’ve been a NationBuilder customer, you may be happy to learn that the company has made significant improvements to its free, public themes in recent years.

With the enhanced mobile-friendly design, better-performing donation pages, and easy-to-use content blocks, these newer NationBuilder themes are hard to resist.

Or perhaps a change in your organization’s branding has you investigating a new custom NationBuilder theme! It’s pretty common for campaigns & causes to update their website every 2 to 4 years to keep up with new technology and avoid looking stale to their supporters.

Regardless of the reason, it’s critical to ensure that your newly updated website doesn’t become broken and unusable.

Best Practices for Changing Your NationBuilder Website Theme

If you follow these best practices, you should feel confident in updating your NationBuilder website theme without any issues.

Table of Contents
  1. Add your theme to your nation
  2. List pages with a “custom template”
  3. Preview your pages
  4. Make content changes as needed
  5. Launch your new website theme

1. Add Your Custom Theme to Your Nation

If you’re planning to use one of NationBuilder’s public themes, congratulations! This first step is complete (since every public theme is pre-installed on your account)!

If you’re planning to use a custom NationBuilder theme, you’ll need to make sure that your theme has been installed on your account before using a custom NationBuilder t to the next step.

Dig Deeper:

2. List pages with a “custom template”

Over time, you may have customized individual pages on your NationBuilder website with “page-level templates.”

Page-level template edits happen when you click the “template” tab of an individual page and directly edit that page’s code.

Screenshot: NationBuailder’s Template Tab
Screenshot: NationBuilder’s Template Tab

Any pages on which you have made changes using the template tab will not inherit the styling of your new website theme. That may lead to those pages appearing broken when the new theme is applied.

Before applying your new NationBuilder website theme, you will want to delete or update the page-level template changes on these pages.

Get NationBuilder Help:

Do you need help preparing your custom page templates for your new theme? Get in touch today and I will help ensure that your theme update goes smoothly.

3. Preview Your Pages

Now we’re ready to preview our changes and confirm that everything looks good. You’re almost ready to launch!

Navigate in your NationBuilder control panel to Website > [Your Site] > Pages > [Your Homepage] > Preview

The preview mode will open in a new window or browser tab, and you’ll be able to preview unpublished changes to your NationBuilder website theme.

Screenshot: NationBuilder Preview Mode
Screenshot: NationBuilder Preview Mode

In the dropdown menus at the top of the page, click “theme” and choose your new desired theme. Note that this will not change your theme publicly! It will only allow you to preview how your site will look using this new theme.

Now, using the page dropdown, preview your website page-by-page until you feel satisfied that it looks great using the new theme.

4. Make Content Changes As Needed (Optional)

If during Step 3 you noticed anything was wrong, this is the time to correct the issue by changing content, code, etc.

Note that you may find that nothing looks wrong. That’s great! That means you’re ready to launch!

If you do find any issues, correct them and repeat Step 3 as needed.

5. Launch Your New Website Theme

When you’re satisfied with how your website looks in preview mode, it’s time to launch your new NationBuilder theme publicly.

To officially switch to your new NationBuilder theme, navigate in your control panel to Websites > [Your Site] > Theme and select your theme.

When hovering over the theme name, you’ll see a button labeled “switch to” appear to the righthand side of the screen. Click that button to officially switch your theme!

Note: If for some reason you need to switch back to your old theme, repeat Step 5 but select the old theme.


Changing your NationBuilder website theme is a straightforward process that can be completed in a few clicks.

But in my experience, it pays to spend the extra time to confirm that your site’s content will look and work properly in advance before officially changing your theme.

Do you want help changing to a new NationBuilder website theme?

I have launched more than 100 NationBuilder website themes, and I am certain that I can launch yours without any issues. Get in touch today and I will help ensure that your theme update goes smoothly.