So you’ve got an idea for a new online company, but you haven’t got the foggiest about how to put something together that you can show to folks and gauge their interest.
What you’re after is known commonly as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the startup world. You want to be able to give your prospective clients a way to interact with your concept, in the best case paying for the service, or in the worst giving you valuable information about where your solution fits into the market.
We advise a lot of web-based startups to use WordPress as the core of their MVP, and here’s 6 reasons why:
You don’t have to create login/logout/password mechanisms. WordPress’ authentication system is very well tested and constantly being developed.
Less development time, means you get to market faster and spend less on development already.
2. Content Management
Although there are many places to get your blog posts read (Medium, for example, is doing wonders in this space) you should think of all your “pages” as content.
From your ‘about us’ page to your ‘how this works’ page, knowing that you have a no-frills revision-tracking editor behind the scenes gives you one less hurdle to jump over.
With the folks behind WordPress recently acquiring the folks behind WooCommerce, these two well-connected modules will bring eCommerce even closer to the core of WP.
WooCommerce allows you to turn on monetisation from day 1 without worrying about actually building shopping carts, product catalogues or payment modules.
4. Rich Plugin Architecture
WordPress has a very passionate community of developers who put together awesome free and premium plugins. These little gems can open up entire new functionality. For example we love working with Formidable Pro to give WordPress sites rich front-end forms.
You can even add bespoke functionality to WordPress using the plugin infrastructure, which allows you to build some pretty interesting apps quickly.
5. Beautiful Themes
There are entire marketplaces built to sell WordPress themes that are highly customisable and built to help you get things looking sharp and well-branded. Just because you’ve got a big first date, and want a sexy outfit, doesn’t mean you have to design, make and stitch it yourself (even if you could).
When things get a little more serious, you can bring in the big guns and get those sweet custom threads.
6. API functionality
Soon WordPress will let you make your website’s data accessible and extendable to other parties or platforms. What this means is that you could build mobile apps, or external widgets or other fancy little things as you grow out your business, without feeling like WordPress is holding you back.
Addressing the Nay-sayers
Now, there are arguably a few drawbacks to using WordPress if you have the time and/or money to build out a more robust solution, but if you’re just trying a concept out and want it up and running fast and without burning all your savings it could work for you.
For clarity, some of the drawbacks normally mentioned include: WordPress feeling Bloated; Constantly tested by Hackers; PHP being an ‘old web language’. With the right setup, and management, WordPress holds up well for MVP phase and even powers some fairly large websites.
As a company, we’ve been building sites on WordPress (including a number of startup MVPs) for over 4 years now, but our team have been doing so for close to 10.