The Feast Plugin is designed for compatibility with best practices and low maintenance, so that you can focus on content development. Customizations usually increase maintenance and break compliance with best practices.
Customization support is highly time consuming and expensive and the Feast Plus properly charges to cover the support and development required for a reasonable subset customizations.
Customizations offer no benefit to search engine optimization or content development.
What is Feast+
Feast+ is a branding toolkit with support for applying the branding to your website in a cohesive way that mostly complies with accessibility, mobile-first, pagespeed, SEO and user experience best practices.
We say mostly because almost every major site breaks some rules. We want to leave it up to you to decide how strictly you want to comply with these rules.
Feast+ doesn't encompass absolutely every customization or change you could possibly ask for - that's the role of a $20,000+ custom theme.
What is the Feast Plugin
The Feast Plugin was developed with an obsessive desire to create a website that:
- requires minimal maintenance so that you can focus on your content
- complies with best practices for SEO, accessibility, pagespeed and user experience
The cost required to develop, support and maintain the Feast Plugin is more or less adequately covered by the subscription fee.
The Feast Plugin subscription fee does not, and has never, supported customizations.
Why not include it in the Feast Plugin
The cost to support customizations sites, far exceeds $249/year.
This meant that we simply didn't offer any support for customizations.
However, we've learned that people who have gone off and done custom themes often run into the problems we solved through the Feast Plugin, which is that custom themes lack updates and maintenance and have to be done every couple years.
Obviously, spending $10,000s every couple years is not a sustainable process for most food blogs. This resulted in people migrating back to our setup.
This means that by refusing to offer customization support, we're actually doing a disservice to our users.
We toyed with the idea of continuing to raise the price of the Feast Plugin to cover the additional costs of customization support but:
- it would require a major bump in pricing for all users
- the higher prices would squeeze out new sites and create an unfair barrier
The Feast Plugin is by far the best option available for what it does, which is creating a simple, maintainable site that has many of the same features that custom sites do, at an affordable price. And we want to keep it that way.
Customizations however, require more maintenance and these customizations have no impact on the performance of a blog.
Colors and fonts are bells and whistles that look pretty but will not help you rank better. They won't improve your pagespeed (usually they negatively impact pagespeed). They won't improve accessibility (and can very easily hinder accessibility).
Just customizing every piece of the website in every way usually results in poor cohesiveness.
In plain language: it's really easy to make a website ugly and for each page (homepage, category, recipe posts) to look like a different site.
To solve this, we're developing the customization support around the idea of creating a cohesive brand experience that not only helps a website look well put together, but remains identical across all pages. This ultimately improves your business value as a brand and makes you more attractive to partnerships with food brands.
By applying these styles site-wide, we're also reducing long term maintenance and preventing people from having to edit posts on a post-by-post basis.
Where you might start with a million different options for how to design a website for aesthetics, the options narrow extremely quickly when trying to comply with all the different guidelines.
This means that fully compliant websites often look very similar, and that's a comment we get regularly from people wanting to do customizations.
Feast Plugin updates
The Feast Plugin will continue to receive updates to comply with ongoing changes to:
- mobile optimization
- user experience
And there are exciting new features, along with ways we're making your life easier to configure plugins and minimize tech headaches.
Nothing is being removed from the Feast Plugin.
The purpose of Feast+ is to expand the scope of supported customizations and invest in expanding what's possible while still being compliant. We expect that some things developed in Feast+ will require less maintenance than we anticipate and will be able to merge into the core Feast Plugin, which means that everyone on the Feast Plugin will benefit from new development in Feast+.
The reason that we believe this will happen is because we've done it before. We went from only offering DIY setups following the tutorials to our $1,850 Full Site Conversion, which through continued development and experience led to the $450 Theme + Plugin Setup and eventually the $0 Fresh Site White Glove.
Charging appropriately for service-based work leads to development, experience and insights that everyone benefits from.
$1,000/year is a steal compared to $10,000 custom themes that last 2-3 years. That's the benchmark.
And while it's a bargain, we also acknowledge that it's a price point that many small sites feel is out of reach. My goal is to ensure that no site on the Feast Plugin is at any sort of competitive disadvantage if they're not on Feast+. Colors and fonts will not help a site to rank better.
While we're building out Feast+, we'll offer a limited introductory price of 50% off the first year. Renewals will be at the normal price in order to cover the cost of support and maintenance.
Eventually, we do expect to raise the price the value we deliver goes up.
There's tons of software out there that you lets you customize things in tons of ways. Even free options.
However, you generally get what you pay for and these tools are generally built only with aesthetics in mind and will happily let you do things that violate best practices for:
- mobile optimization
- user experience
Even custom themes and customizations offered by "designers" often run afoul of some or all of these.
It's up to you to decide whether it's best for your business to play pretend designer, or to off-load non-core-business activities to experts.