As of June 2021, we're moving all-in on the Feast Plugin setup for recipe sites, and leaving the theme-based setup behind.
If you have just the theme without the Feast Plugin, we'll be referring to these as the "classic" setup (eg. Foodie Pro Classic). This is in contrast to the "modern" setup that comes with the Feast Plugin. The only similarity between the classic and modern setup is the overall styling (spacing, colors, typography).
As part of this transition, we're changing two things for all classic themes:
- The price for each theme is now $9, instead of $75, and includes the Genesis framework
- We no longer offer any support for the classic setup (support is the biggest cost)
The reason for this is simple:
Sites running just a theme without the Feast Plugin are at a significant disadvantage to sites with both. The Feast Plugin can keep key pieces of a website up to date, while a theme can't (without manual updates, which are difficult).
Who is the classic theme for?
New sites who are in their first 12 months see little to no benefit from a theme, and have a minimal budget, and so the classic setup works fine. Your only job for the first 12 months is to create 100+ high quality recipes. This is because it takes 9-12 months for any new site to start getting any traffic, and there's a minimum threshold of quality content that Google wants to see.
Note: high quality recipes are composed of keyword research, topically-focused content, proper headings, process shots, quality photography, and more. This is 100x more important than a theme at the beginning and has a steep learning curve.
After the first 100 high quality recipes, you must invest in yourself and your business, which involves:
- Moving to a quality host
- Investing in a quality pagespeed and caching plugin (WP Rocket)
- Investing in a modern setup with the Feast Plugin
Yes you can! And the only reason not to do this is because you're not fully committed to (or confident about) going the distance with this business.
Confession: I personally think buying a theme (ANY theme from ANY developer) is a mistake. The only reason we're still selling the classic themes independently is because if someone is going to make this mistake, it should at least be the best theme out there. On a theme-vs-theme comparison, ours are far better than alternatives out there. The best option is to start with the Feast Plugin.
What is a theme?
The themes were designed primarily for aesthetics. While we built in what best practices we could for SEO, the setup (for the homepage, menu, sidebar, footer, recipe index) was based on assumptions that have been proven wrong, see the themes are dead post for more details.
When people ask "what is a theme?", they see an overall look plus list of features that are built with coding. But this is an incorrect model. The functionality that builds the site itself can not be coded into a theme that isn't regularly updated.
Themes should only be used for styling. Building functionality into a theme to create the homepage, recipe index, menu, sidebar and footer is a mistake.
In a sense, the Feast Plugin is like an entirely new theme, that keeps the original styling and feel of the themes (with tweaks made for accessibility where necessary).
The themes were built with a single thing in mind: design.
Since they were first developed in 2016, the web has evolved to mesh all things together, and as of 2020, we need to consider:
- core web vitals
- changes to WordPress (block editor, blocks, full site editing)
Traditionally, these are all separate functions and it's unfair to burden site owners with this.
With the Feast Plugin, we've been able to pour additional resources into developing a holistic solution that isn't just design, but helps to cover common pitfalls bloggers experience.
- Designed to look great
- Designed to for SEO
- Designed with accessibility in mind
- Designed with pagespeed in mind
- Designed with Core Web Vitals in mind (eg. CLS)
It's important to note that we're not an all-encompassing solution for these, but what we do cover, makes your life significantly simpler.
Start with our migration guide to get an idea of how to proceed with updating your site, and what we can and can't help with.
To migrate from the theme setup to the modern features through the Feast Plugin, you'll want to follow the tutorials to replace the theme-based functionality one at a time.
- Modern features
- Feast Plugin
- Modern Homepage built with blocks
- Modern Menu
- Modern Footer built with blocks
- Modern Sidebar built with blocks
- Modern Recipe index built with blocks
Once the theme functionality has been replaced, a final theme update to the most recent version is much simpler than previous theme updates.
More than just changing the functionality, bloggers need to adapt to a new mental model for how sites operate.
At a basic level, we recommend shifting your thinking from a "blog" (random series of personal stories) to that of a content publisher (like a recipe magazine) whose job is to serve the reader what they're looking for.
In practice, this means:
- the homepage is displayed based on popular posts and categories, and organized topically, rather than chronologically
- navigation menus are significantly simplified, with drop-down menus removed and replaced with "indexes"
- logos are redesigned to be unobtrusive and out of the way instead of oversized and a representation of the site owner's ego
- "site taglines" are removed from the logo and appearing site-wide
- the user experience is put first: get rid of off-topic content, don't serve intrusive pop ups, and provide good post navigation
- all parts of a site are built primarily for mobile devices (80% of traffic), rather than the desktop interface you use 99.9% of the time
- fonts are selected based on accessibility (contrast, font size) and pagespeed (CLS, LCP), not because they "look pretty"