WordPress for SaaS: An Overview

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If you were alive at the time Microsoft Office was sold on a CD (also the time when hot pants were fun and Catfish meant a literal fish), you’d know how far we’ve come. Emails were uncommon, spamming wasn’t a thing yet, and flyers on the porch and hand-out brochures were perfectly acceptable ways of advertising your business.

From software being sold on a CD to it being sold online, the dot com fad has become a fixture. The new ‘it’ thing on the block is SaaS. SaaS, Software as a Service, is where you pay a subscription fee (at regular intervals) for your data to be stored on the cloud. It’s on-demand software that you can use from your computer/s or practically any device with an internet connection.

SaaS vs Traditional Software Infographic

 

SaaS makes it possible for your business to know all about your user before they walk in (Salesforce), send automated emails (MailChimp), and about a million other things. (The internet is a wonderful place.) SaaS companies essentially use software to serve their users. It’s customizable and you can change the way it looks, feels, and works for you.

WordPress on the other hand was traditionally designed to be a CMS (content management system). Over the years, WordPress has evolved and so has its community. WordPress essentially has the core feature requirements for any SaaS platform (think API Systems, great plug-ins, extensibility, and scalability). WordPress.com’s Multisite feature allows you to create a network of subsites under a single WordPress, for example, WordPress.com itself. (This is so meta!) A few other examples to consider are Restaurant Engine, PressBooks, and ManageWP.

Now that you know you ‘can’ build SaaS on WordPress, the question remains, ‘should’ you?

Here’s why you should be considering WordPress for your SaaS

  1. WordPress is used by millions of people, 455M to be precise, and 1 in 4 websites is hosted on WordPress. (The official Star Wars blog, Beyonce’s Website and even SaaS companies like VaultPress)
  2. WordPress has a ton of plugins, and by a ton, I mean 50,000+! Combine it with the 11000+ available themes and great WordPress developers, and you will have found yourself a goldmine.
  3. You’ll save a lot of time by using the Multisite feature. It allows you to create and manage an entire network of multiple websites from a single dashboard.

And here’s why you shouldn’t

  1. WordPress’s security concerns are genuine. Think of it this way, if every house on the block was designed the same, wouldn’t it be easier for robbers to break into all of them if they managed to break into one? If hackers find a loophole in one system, chances are, they’ll probably find it in many others too.
  2. WordPress relies a lot on plugins. This means having to deal with a lot of code that isn’t your own and a slow WordPress admin
  3. WordPress was originally designed to publish blogs (which it still does). That is its primary use case. It’s like using body wash for your face, it does the job, but it’s not meant for it.
  4. You can’t build WordPress for SaaS unless you do it all at once (the process isn’t lean). Not to mention every update made will add to your costs (if you hire a developer).

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