The WordPress core is changing quickly, and we've been busy keeping on top of it. It's time to take a step back and provide some clarity on where things were, and where they're heading.
Food blogging is more competitive than ever, and last year's solutions don't cut it moving forward.
The overall goal here is to make your life easier by removing the anxiety tied to theme updates, while also keeping your site up to date with best practices.
Where we came from
Foodie Pro and its siblings have been the most popular off-the-shelf food blogging theme for years.
This has all been done thanks to the incredible feedback we've received both through the support tickets from our incredibly talented customers, and partners who offer complimentary services and make enhancement requests.
Over the years, we've resolved a lot of problems for you through the themes and WordPress in general. It's allowed us to develop a deep understanding of the common issues people face when starting from scratch, all the way through monetization, including non-theme-related issues.
But some problems are simply unfixable at the theme level, and require a completely different approach.
Where we're heading
Let's get this out of the way: themes are dead.
Aside from being an unsustainable long-term business model that doesn't work for anybody involved, WordPress is actively moving towards making themes irrelevant.
That's why Studiopress has made the move to 12-months of support for themes, and why other platforms are building in yearly subscriptions into their themes and plugins.
Our solution to this is to replace the theme setup with modern functionality through the Feast Plugin, which we can keep up to date over time through normal plugin updates.
Those of you who've been paying attention will notice the word "Modern" there from our updates. What exactly is going on with this?
It's just our way of branding the Feast Plugin's updated features to replace the outdated theme versions:
- Modern Mobile Menu
- Modern Homepage (or start with the Simple Modern Homepage)
- Modern Recipe Index
- Modern Footer (coming later in 2020)
- Modern Sidebar (coming later in 2020)
- Modern Thumbnails
- Modern Google Fonts (coming later in 2020)
- Modern Branding (coming later in 2020)
- Final update: stripped down themes
The end goal of all of this is to remove the anxiety that comes with theme updates, which should make running a blog much simpler.
Check out the Food Blog Page Structure for a better understanding of how the "Modern" components are going to affect the blog visually:
- Header (orange, Modern Mobile Menu)
- Content (blue, Modern Homepage, Modern Recipe Index, post content)
- Sidebar (green, Modern Sidebar)
- Footer (red, Modern Footer)
Each of these sections has a role to play, and will be getting more specific guidelines as they're released.
By the end of the year, we expect to have most of the theme functionality replaced so that theme updates are no longer a major issue.
Feast Plugin Setup
We rolled out updates to the plugin over the past year as they were built, with individual tutorials that can be enabled piece-by-piece, as needed.
As it grew though, we've had more requests for a setup guide, and it's started to make sense.
We've released the Feast Plugin Setup tutorial so that new installs can get off the ground quickly.
Aside from keeping our own themes and functionality up to date, we're also working on a settings checklist and self-audit page so that you know what our current recommended best practices are.
This touches on areas outside of the theme's responsibility, such as Yoast and WP Rocket configurations and managing disk space usage through WordPress configurations.
These are intended to cover the basics, but are by no means comprehensive. We are not an all-in-one solution.
Running a food blog is incredibly complex and requires input and assistance from other professionals. That's why we recommend
- Andrew @ Nerdpress for monthly maintenance
- Casey @ Mediawyse for audits and personalized recommendations
- Grayson @ imarkinteractive for quick fixes
- Susan @ OneHappyStudio for WordPress training.
As with any WordPress plugin, we're continuing to develop comprehensive tutorials so that everyone can do it themselves. We also offer support for anything that is unclear in the tutorials, so that we can improve and refine them over time.
Nevertheless, many of you are busy and would prefer to have it done for you. We'll be offering conversion services for people who want to go this route, such as the Modern Homepage White Glove Conversion.
We're 100% confident that what we're offering is worth 10x what we charge, and we're continuing to refine and add to it over time. The $99/year price was an introductory offer, and the normal price was always to be $199/year.
We'll be raising the plugin price to $149/year for new subscriptions on May 15, 2020.
Existing subscriptions are locked in at their current price. Sign up today to stay locked in at $99/year, and keep your subscription active.
The final jump to $199/year will come in 2021, once we've completed the transition to the complete "Modern" setup.