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Full site design while inactive, or transfer via import / export?



New Member
I have an e-commerce site running on wordpress + woocommerce and currently it has a simple storefront theme.

I want to do a major overhaul by installing elementor, the astra theme, and some supporting plugins, but I don't want to take the site down while I'm working on the new design.

What is the best way to do this?

1) Is there a way to basically get elementor and themes etc installed on the active e-commerce site in such a way that I could work on the new design without it being "the main theme"? I don't know if there is a way the leave the running active site alone and operating on the storefront theme while at the same time building new pages using the astra theme?

- or -

2) should I build the pages etc. on a staging copy first, then .. somehow figure out how to transfer the themes and pages to the live site? how would one do that? I can see elementor allows templates to be imported / exported, but I'm hoping for a more straightforward approach to migrating a new design to a site without messing up the underlying ecommerce data etc.

- or -

is there a 3rd option that's better?


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