We frequently get asked about how to make certain customizations, and we recommend against it.
We don't build customization support into our themes: https://feastdesignco.com/themes-vs-customizations/
Who is paying for this change? Any change, no matter how small, requires someone's time. People often request changes without factoring the cost this is putting on someone else.
If this change cost you $100, instead of the person you're asking for support from, would you still fix it?
We don't build customization support into our prices, and therefore can't offer free customization services.
As a general rule, every customization you make takes the equivalent time EACH year to maintain it.
- 3 hours of customizations = 3 hours per year of maintenance
- 30 hours of customizations = 30 hours per year of maintenance
The reason this happens is because WordPress, SEO, pagespeed and accessibility best practices and standards change constantly. Anything you do this year will be not a best practice in 1-2 years, and become an active problem in 3-4 years.
There's simply no way to predict what direction these things are heading and no way to fully "future proof".
Every feature we've designed and optimized over the years has had feedback from experts, and is designed to comply as best as possible with:
- search engine optimization
- cumulative layout shift
The cost to hire an expert that's on top of all these issues to guide you through your charges is a minimum $5000 project. The amount of back-and-forth emails and hand holding and negotiating seemingly insignificant details is such a burden that every small tweak becomes a massive project management burden.
Always ask yourself: why am I making this change?
Project scoping is accurately defining the work that you expect to be done. Poor definitions leads to poor estimates and projects outcomes that don't match
Poor: "My heading looks weird"
Good: "I think the current 26px font size for my custom font for h3s on post pages is too small on mobile and needs to be bumped to 34px in order to be legible, but I'm concerned about CLS issues being caused by this"
You need to be specific and explicit with what you're looking to have done:
- quantify the change (eg. change spacing to 25px instead of the current 15px)
- this avoids "oh it's bigger/smaller than I thought"
- identify the key pages (homepage, category pages, posts, an individual post)
- this avoids "I didn't meant for it to apply over there"
- identify the device (desktop, mobile, tablet, any combination) - often, each device requires an equal amount of work so developing for desktop + mobile + tablet can be 3x the work
- you should primarily be developing for mobile, but most people only look at the desktop layout
- use the proper terminology - a header and a heading are two very different things
How the customization is being implemented has massive ramifications on the amount of effort required to maintain and update the site down the road.
This is so significant that we're seeing people with $5,000 - $10,000 custom themes from just 3 years ago simply walk from them and start from scratch.
We also see people on theme versions from 4 years who are afraid to update (or have never updated) because they're afraid of losing a customization, and often these customizations were outdated 2+ years ago.
The themes were designed and optimized in a certain way for very specific reason. Making customizations to this without deep expertise will result in problems for SEO, pagespeed, accessibility and maintenance in 90% of cases.
These customizations then require tons of work to maintain over the years, often fall far behind best practices, and cause a lot of anxiety when it comes to updating a site down the road.
That's not to say that you can't and shouldn't customize a theme, but we recommend hiring an expert to perform these for you, and the cost of this is almost always $5000 minimum. If you can't justify this expense, then wait until your site is earning enough to pay for it.
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