Ultimate Customisation vs Ultimate Performance: The WordPress Developer’s Paradox
A common question in the forum is regarding why we don't have more customisation options built into our themes and plugins. Sometimes, customers would like to have every element that's rendered on the site completely customizable with reams upon reams of options for colours, sizes, alignments and so on....
At face value, it seems like a great idea. Users have an unlimited selection of colour pickers such that are able to modify every last part of their site until it meets their exact requirements.
The problem, as with most things, lies in the detail.
Currently, in WordPress, there is no reliable way of producing the files that store style data (CSS files). This means that style data has to be built and served each time a visitor loads a page. There are a number of issues at play, but the major one is that the styles can't be cached.
While we could build out our themes and plugins to provide ultimate customisation, the trade off with performance would be so great that everyone would suffer. The slow page load times, high bounce rates and lower conversion rates would mean less money for you (our customer) and increased frustration for your visitors who want your site to load faster.
There are WordPress solutions on the market that do allow this level of customisation. These solutions bring poor performance to all of their customers' sites in order to cater for the relatively small percentage of people that actually need all the customisation options at their disposal.
Our view is the opposite.
We want to cater to the majority of people that need faster web sites with minor customisations (read: that make more money because they perform better) and let those that want to tweak every last part of the product to other vendors that cater to their needs, albeit with catastrophic performance consequences.
This is why in our themes, for example, you will see that we offer 8 colour schemes that style the majority of the site and we have added additional options in the theme customiser (appearance->customize). The limited array of options allows you to change the most crucial aspects of your site (like fonts, headers and brand colours) while maintaining a lightweight base and cacheable, minified files.
Each and every month that goes by, we're improving our products and focusing on what's important in the context of increased conversions and revenue. Anything that doesn't sit in line with this goal is dead weight and removed. Ultimate customisation and trying to be everything to everyone creates a poorly performing product and that's why we don't do it.
Of course, we do still appreciate the need for customisation. That's why we have our talented team of techs in the support forum who will be more than happy to help with a snippet of CSS.
Thrive customers can then rest happy in the knowledge that their site looks exactly how they want and at the same time performs like a racing car.
To learn more about our decision making thought process on this, click the image below: