The launch of Feast+ took careful consideration when it came to figuring out where it belongs in the eco system.
Feast+ offers a set of elevated styling options that complies with requirements for:
- mobile optimization
- user experience
Specifically, it avoids breaking or violating technical requirements in these areas, which is what happens with the majority of customizations.
It's a more guided experience than a point-and-click theme, but not as fully custom as a custom theme. It's a mid-point between off-the-shelf themes and paying $10,000+ to go custom.
Custom themes, where there's a significant amount of education and back-and-forth, cost $10,000 - $20,000 (and much much more depending on requirements).
This is actually very reasonable given that for each request, care must be taken to address:
- mobile vs desktop
- posts vs. pages. vs. homepage vs. category pages
- context of use (blocks, background colors)
- position of the element (menu, sidebar, footer, content) and the purpose of that element within that position
- training the end user on how to use it
Feast+ is designed to offer some level of customization that complies with the above requirements, which is expensive.
Custom themes often go outdated within 12-24 months due to changing requirements from Google, WordPress, Yoast, Facebook, recipe cards and more.
Other "off the shelf" themes
There's some other "off the shelf" themes offering styling from a designer, but fails to properly accommodate accessibility or pagespeed have the experience to know how food bloggers can cause themselves severe long-term maintenance issues.
Often, what's overlooked is that:
- it comes with one year of support and/or updates, which means it's a yearly fee not a one-time fee
- there's significant custom work required to fix very basic accessibility issues
- they're not mobile-first, which is 80% of traffic to recipe sites
- there's yearly subscription fees for other parts
- they lack the dozens of optimizations and fixes for non-Wordpress issues the Feast Plugin has, which requires hiring a developer to fix
Off-the-shelf themes simply aren't cheaper when looking at the full lifecycle of the theme.
The Feast Plugin offers a setup that complies with the huge number of (sometimes competing) requirements for:
- user experience
- accessibility, including screen readers, keyboard navigation, and
- mobile-first optimization
- long-term maintenance
The cost for this alone, without customizations, is over $250,000 per year.
That's roughly what it would cost you if you were to have full time staff monitoring:
- every WordPress update
- Google change
- pagespeed requirement and updates
- updates to WP Rocket
- attend conference sessions
- feedback from industry experts in SEO
- feedback from consultants on accessibility
- support staff to interpret visitor issues and requests
- training and documentation on these changes provided to your staff (even if it's just you) in a language that isn't overly technical
- bilateral communication with trusted third parties such as consultants, hosting companies, support agencies, freelance customization, ad networks and even competitors
- how these changes impact your content
And even that JUST barely covers what's within the scope of the Feast Plugin, which is maybe 10% of what's required to run a successful food blog.
Historically, we haven't discussed this very openly and just let our work speak for itself.
Customization requests from a reputable company (such as Nerdpress) comes with about 5 "quick" requests for $429/month with a minimum 1 year contract.
That's roughly $5,000 per year, and with everything else they provide, is an absolute steal and we recommend everyone running a recipe content business sign up with Nerdpress as soon as they can.
You can't hire someone off an outsourcing network (such as Fiverr) to do a good job, period.
Freelancers may be able to perform a single narrowly-focused task but will always lack the experience, incentive (eg. pay) and holistic perspective to make a change that complies with SEO requirements, accessibility requirements, pagespeed best practices, mobile optimization, ad optimization, and general industry knowledge.
There are very few companies that we know of that are able to offer customization services that come with guidance on how to best approach something - so few that we can list them here:
The only reason that their services won't cost $4,000+ per customization is that they're tightly focused in scope and have been optimized through repetition.