Build micro-SaaS applications with WordPress

WordPress has become the jumpstart to building your idea fast!

WordPress has a massive market market share for a reason. It’s collection of plugins, out of the box features, and extendable UI allow your micro-SaaS project to get off the ground fast for low cost and low build time.

Example WordPress Plugins

I have my micro-SasS idea but how to I build it?

So you have figured out your micro-SaaS idea maybe after reading my post on how to find ideas and now want to know what options you have to build your micro-SaaS project? WordPress. Yes, really. I will tell you why.

Startups building a project need to focus on three key items: speed, agility, and cost. When startups go down the path of building their idea, they spend a lot of cycles over-engineering simple concepts, coming up with your super detailed microservices architecture on AWS or Google Cloud and engineer your project to hell before you even have a working proof-of-concept or MVP. By the time you do build something, the time to add a feature to keep your first client or add something quickly that your competitor released in their app, you have such a mess you need to hire a team to assist.

The essence of this problem is that a lot of startups and founders worry too much on bleeding edge or the latest Javascript UI framework of the week and lose track of ready-made solutions which with a few adjustments can bring you a good-enough MVP to the market and test it much faster without spending thousands of dollars on offshore teams and a code base that becomes a money pit to maintain.

Leverage an existing giant to boost you forward

WordPress has over 43% of the marketshare on the web. I know you are probably thinking, “what a blog platform have to do with my web application?”

The answer is simple, WordPress offers you custom post (content) types, an array of plugins, and a core platform that allows you to manage users and other core features.

WordPress for SaaS

WordPress is a Content Management System or a CMS. The content doesn’t have to be blog posts. Content is what you make it so whether a post is a standard blog, recipe, pictures of your trip to Fiji, a profile page, resume, shirt, quiz, lesson, video, podcast.. the list never ends.

When you move past the standard blog, you are moving into WordPress Custom Posts which is its secret ability to display any amount of work from its backend relational database with a readymade API solution and user management.

On top of being able to extend this yourself using a developer friendly PHP and MySQL platform, you can implement your own plugins from the over 58,000 plugins, many of which offer free tiers to get you started and can be upgraded to paid if you begin to require support and custom features as your app grows.

  • WooCommerce: Full e-commerce solution ready to integrate with templates and themes.
  • BuddyPress: Social network plugin to bring a Facebook like feature set to your website.
  • LearnPress: E-learning plugin with courses and lesson plans.
  • myCred: Gamification and loyalty plugin to drive social media growth.
  • MailPoet: Newsletter plugin and list manager to send automated emails as well as post notifications.
  • WPForms: Drag and drop form builder.

WordPress also allows you to build your own plugins or hire a solo developer to bring you the features you want very quickly (and cheap!) to integrate your idea instead of needing a team to start fresh. For example, Fiverr, a marketplace of quick to hire individuals for services starting at $5 has over 89,000 results for “WordPress”.

How Do I Get Started?

To get started with your SaaS WordPress Application, I usually follow the steps below to churn out sites and projects quickly.

Register your micro-SaaS domain

You need a domain to post your new SaaS application to. For registrations, I have been a Namecheap fan for over two decades. Their support, pricing, and overall policies on ownership keep them above the rest and even have fun giveaways and contests on social media.

WordPress Hosting Types

Choose your hosting depends on how your technical skills are.

If you take the self hosted route, you can buy a VPS hosting from sites like Vultr for a few dollars a month and install WordPress yourself. You become responsible for updates, operating system, and securing the entire platform. It may sound simple but with todays bots and scanners, it is amazing how fast you will get hammered with logins, scans, and attempts to find something outdated when a new internet site comes online so really for an experienced professional.

They also offer a WordPress Hosting which if you put on their standard compute VPS runs you about $5/month and comes preinstalled with WordPress in a more controlled approach. You still will need to make sure your server is updated but does take a lot of the heavy lifting out of it.

If you are someone like me who wants to host Multiple WordPress Sites and not deal with the headache and monitoring, I am addicted to SpinupWP. You buy a server from AWS, Vultr, or a range of providers and they managed the entire system. System reboots for operating system updates, WordPress site deployments, and quick build and destroy multiple sites on a single server. The amount of time they have saved me is incredible and if you sign up using this link, you get credited $50 in free credits to use for your first few months.

WordPress SaaS Themes

The WordPress interface has plenty of existing themes you can install, many of which are free. If you are someone who likes to launch ideas rapidly, you can also look at a premium theme package which is very customizable and has monthly and lifetime options for unlimited installs such as GeneratePress. Using the visual editors, you can visually customize themes with your own content and layouts and drop in plugins and widgets.

Themes are responsive which means you can see how they look on web as well as on mobile so your users get the same experience on all platforms.

WordPress SaaS Plugins

Look at plugins available to offer the features you need. WordPress offers ratings and installed counts so you can find ones that are more well done.

As you grow, you can enlist developers and agencies to help customize even further or reach out to us for your application development needs. Fiver as mentioned before has plenty

Taking your SaaS idea beyond WordPress

At the heart of WordPress is the relational database that powers it. As you grow your micro-SaaS MVP, you may find the need to leverage new architecture for your user interfaces and do things like power native mobile applications or completely redo the web interface.

You don’t need to throw away all the work you did!

There are plugins available that can bring your backend data into a powerful API or even operate in a Headless WordPress form. You now can keep your existing application to power your next version with out the heartbreak or terror or having to do a full-stack transformation.

WordPress SaaS Use Cases

If you are still looking for some inspiration, here are a few WordPress SaaS based websites that I have built around WordPress.

Use Case 1: On Demand Moving Services

A local niche SaaS website that accepted requests for people looking to move and pulled a full quote for moving in and out services. The pain of having to look for cleaning, cleanout, transportation, and shipping is a big time consumption. WordPress allowed me to create a website where you submitted information about your services and needs, fill out a questionnaire, and then automate the email to local services that I had indexed to provide a streamlined broker process. The response from the vendor I then imported into my HubSpot CRM with the contact information and generated an email with the quotes with a single click to the original subscriber.

Use Case 2: IPO Filing Announcements

IPOs for new public companies get filed with the SEC every day. Keeping track of them can be difficult and knowing when to be on the look out to start trading them is important. To remove the need to have to focus on the user facing side, I was able to use WordPress as the central blog post, user management, and emailing signup so every time there was a new filing I needed to post, anyone who was signed up was able to get an email of the filing.

To make this more powerful, my custom built application was responsible for downloading the documents and handling the processing services. I then can use WordPress’s powerful API to create the posts and let the backend already provided by WordPress handle the rest of the flow to reduce my development time and able to quickly turn out this micro-SaaS project.

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