The cloud concept has evolved dramatically in the last decade, and it has opened new gateways for businesses. The rapidly diversifying world of SaaS (software as a service) solutions illustrate the value of cloud technology.
In fact, according to Forbes, “cloud-based business application services revenue forecasts the market growing from $13.5B in 2011 to $32.8B in 2016, attaining a 19.5 percent CAGR.”
WordPress, which currently powers more than 27 percent of the entire internet, combined with the SaaS application model, opens up an entire world of opportunity.
Using a SaaS Model for a WordPress Product
Because WordPress is open source, developers are continually working to make it better. It’s hard to believe that a simple blogging tool has emerged as an independent application platform. Using SaaS with WordPress is not a new concept. People have already tested the model with custom post types, themes, frameworks, and more.
A lot of plugins can be difficult for beginners to learn how to use. If developers opt for a SaaS solution, the onboarding process becomes easier and users of all skill levels will have a better understanding of the features offered by the plugin.
In this article, I’ll discuss how well a WordPress plugin can work as SaaS and what benefits it can offer. So, let’s get started!
So, let’s get started!
You started a WordPress business to make money, right? A huge market exists for SaaS businesses, and monetary benefits are the first thing which plugin developers must consider. You host, update, and maintain the SaaS version of a regular WordPress plugin. The subscription model brings in money every month, as opposed to a one-time upgrade fee. This creates an on-going relationship with the user and provides a feeling of financial stability.
Updates and Security Are Managed
A SaaS-based WordPress product allows you to keep close contact with your users and make the necessary security updates. Though it is a fairly safe CMS, users still get hacked, and a bit part of that is missing plugin updates.
With SaaS, you can take care of those updates yourself. When you take care of the seamless updates and security patches, you end up with happy customers.
Relatively Easy To Support
Believe it or not but a SaaS product is fairly easy to support once the initial build is complete. You control the entire stack; you know the ins and outs of your system. There’s less back and forth, and fewer issues with your product since you are managing it all.
Your customers are able to contact your team directly and answer the questions they need. Because you’re in charge of everything, you know exactly how to fix the problem. This, of course, leads to happier customers.
SaaS Provides Data
It’s hard to get data about your WordPress product. Though you may know the number of active downloads your plugin has, you have no idea why people are using it, what are they spending most of their time on, and why they installed.
Once you know the answers to these simple yet powerful questions, you can make intelligent business decisions. Vova Feldman created Freemius, a SaaS product that looks to answer these questions. The software uses analytics, monetization, and the buy button, to free up this data.
The plugin stats may show more than a million active installs, but not being able to communicate with your users is a business nightmare. One could never scale a business that way, not today. However, with SaaS, you can take complete control of all the necessary details about your customer and can cater their needs well.
Companies Using SaaS
So far I’ve listed a few benefits for you if you think about building a SaaS WordPress business. But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the few examples below.
I’m sure you are familiar with WordPress.com, the biggest WordPress based SaaS solution. Many people just head over to build a WordPress.com blog, but there are some that want to add more features and grow their site. WordPress.com allows for both kind of user to build a beautiful site.
ManageWP.com is another SaaS-based WordPress business that manages hundreds of thousands WP sites. All this gets managed from one place. The new Orion dashboard is pretty great. The pay what you use pricing strategy puts them miles ahead of any other similar solution.
There are a number of other examples e.g. HappyTables, VaultPress, Jetpack, YoGrow, PressBooks, Blogvault, BackupBuddy + Stash, RainMaker, etc.
The recent integration of WP REST API in the core has made SaaS even more adaptable with WordPress than before. Such development has opened new gateways for the plugin market, and developers will be encouraged to rely more on the SaaS based products. For me, WordPress and SaaS makes a perfect blend.
I think it’s the right time to take the big step and make your next SaaS-based WordPress product. If you’ve already developed one or planning to do so, then share your views about it. What difficulties you encountered and what other benefits you find other than the ones listed above.
Finally, you can catch all of my articles on my profile page, and you can follow me on my blog or reach out at Twitter @MrAhmadAwais; where I write about development workflows in the context of WordPress.
As usual, don’t hesitate to leave any questions or comments below, and I’ll aim to respond to each of them.
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