build MVP with WordPress

Why You Should Use WordPress to Build Your MVP

Starting a new business is difficult. Enter the concept of the Minimum Viable Product, also commonly referred to as an MVP. Eric Ries coined the term in The Lean Startup.

An MVP as a version of a product or service that allows you to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

In doing so, the business can assess the viability of its product in the marketplace, test variations and iterations based on user feedback, and improve its offering.

One of the best ways you can build the first version of your business at a relatively low cost, but with high-quality output, is by using WordPress to build it.

There is a good chance that features needed in the first version of your product – from billing to user management, down to the user interface of your app – are already covered by a WordPress solution.

You will be able to easily put these together into a coherent, fully functional, first version of your business idea.

In this article we’re going to show you why WordPress is the ideal platform for building your MVP.

  1. Why Your Business Should Start with a Minimum Viable Product
  2. The Benefits of using WordPress for your MVP
  3. Why Use WordPress For Your MVP?
      1. Tools Built To Fit Your Business Needs
      2. Reduced Time to Build and Launch Your MVP
      3. Easily Create a Mobile App for Your Startup
      4. Marketing Your MVP and Gathering Data
      5. Assessing the Viability of Your MVP
  4. Essential Plugins for Your WordPress MVP
  5. Wrapping Up

Why Your Business Should Start with a Minimum Viable Product

As Eric Ries summed up in a TechCrunch interview: “Don’t be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product.

An MVP can save you months of development time, compared to if you built everything from scratch.

By creating an MVP, you can start digging into what your users really need and want by testing your assumptions earlier in the process.

In sum, this is what you should aim to do with an MVP:

  • Start with a hypothesis about what your target audience wants and needs.
  • Build the “product” to fulfill those using minimal but sufficient resources.
  • Launch the product earlier than you would have with a full build.
  • Be observant, talk to real users, and learn how they engage with and find value in it.
  • Take what you’ve learned from these early adopters and apply it to future development of the product.

With a content management system like WordPress, you can easily accomplish this.

Some examples of websites and businesses that existing WordPress themes and plugins make really easy to start include:

The Benefits of using WordPress for your MVP

Don’t waste tens of thousands of dollars building your first website or app for your business.

Creating an MVP with WordPress is an ideal way to start your business, as it allows you to test assumptions early on with a workable solution.

This gives your business a fair chance to find the right combination of offer, product, pricing and marketing, and build an initial customer base.

Building the first version of your web product with WordPress is a smart choice for several reasons:

  1. It’s a tried and tested solution, with strong functionality for anything like content management, user registration and login. Sites like the New Yorker, TechCrunch, CNN and Time all run on WordPress!
  2. You will find a plugin, tutorial or theme to build most of the functionality you need as the WordPress plugin directory contains 55,000+ plugins. You will save time and money building your product.
  3. Designing your site will be easy thanks to sites like Themeforest who host thousands of WordPress themes.
  4. Sites like Upwork have experienced of WordPress developers available to help you create your site, if needed.
  5. Create new opportunities for growth by converting your website to a mobile app using a service like MobiLoud.
  6. You always have the option to replace your website down the road once your business is booming and you can afford a team of developers.

WordPress is a powerful tool, which is full of themes, plugins, and functionality that can be leveraged when building an MVP.

That said, you must use the right kinds of tools when building baseline features of your online product or service.

You can start your website using WordPress.org very quickly and customize it to suit your requirements.

If you build your product from scratch, then it’s probably going to take weeks or months before a first version is ready.

With WordPress, that time frame could drop down to just days when you’re using the right tools.

Then, you’re set to start gathering feedback from your target market.

Easily Create a Mobile App for Your Startup

It’s a common question and a tough one to answer, as each business is different. As a rule of thumb, if you see people using your app or service multiple times a week from a mobile device, an app might make sense.
As consumers, we spend 80% of our mobile time within apps. Having an app store presence in the iOS and Google Play stores can be a huge advantage when acquiring new users to test your MVP.

Apps are where consumers are already spending most of their time, so you need to consider how your mobile presence (or lack of) will affect your business.

Once it’s live in the app stores and optimized for search, your MVP now has access to a large market on both desktop and mobile.

Why does this matter?

Share of mobile app time in different countries 700x394 - Why You Should Use WordPress to Build Your MVP

According to comScore’s  Global Mobile Report, more time is spent in mobile apps than mobile web and desktop.

comScore Mobile App Minutes

A mobile app is the ideal way to launch and test your MVP if you want to get results quickly.

Many successful companies have launched apps alongside their desktop presence and found success. Instagram began as a mobile-only platform, and The New York Times regularly launch new products as apps, such as their Cooking App and NYT VR. For media startups, the case for building an app is stronger than ever.

As companies find ways to complete in this digital landscape, a mobile presence can help them cross that divide.

For example, the 2017 Mobile App Report from comScore shows the dominance of mobile apps on device share of digital media time.

comScore Digital Media Time

 

Secondly, there are a plethora of benefits that come from having a mobile app.

Some of the most notable include:

  • You have more places to promote your MVP (i.e. in the Android and iOS app stores).
  • You can connect directly with users through push notifications.
  • Your brand has an home screen presence on users’ devices.
  • Having your own app will boost your credibility in the eyes of new users.
  • It might be easier to attract investment and participate in incubators.

If you go the traditional route of hiring a team of app developers or using an agency, it’s going to cost you tens or hundreds of thousands to build, and will take months. Luckily, if you have a WordPress website, you can easily convert it into a mobile app using a service like MobiLoud.

Expanding your MVP from a WordPress website to a mobile app is an important part of gaining the data needed to make a decision regarding the viability of your business venture.

Now, you need to start collecting that data.

Marketing Your MVP and Gathering Data

To start marketing your MVP, you need to start with a landing page that promotes your MVP and mobile app successfully.

You can use theme builders specifically designed for your use case. Popular page builders include Divi and Elementor, but there are a host of themes that may be even more closely suited to your business requirements.

Then, you need content that directly supports and is relevant to your website and app that will attract visitors from around the web.

After launch, it would be a good idea to invest some money in pay-per-click advertising, too–in both Google search as well as on the app stores, in order to attract targeted audiences to your business idea, and then you can begin testing the viability.

You can easily optimize your WordPress site for SEO using plugins to help you attract organic traffic. This may take time to pay off, and as such, you may want to pay-to-play to help it gain some traction in the meantime.

Assessing the Viability of Your MVP

As your landing page attracts interested parties and you begin to get users downloading your app, pay close attention to the data coming through.

You can configure Google Analytics for both your website and mobile app to monitor traffic and demographics, as well as your most successful acquisition channels.

You should look at your key metrics, and decide whether they match your expectations, and decide whether you can build a sustainable business using them.

Once your website and app are sustaining high levels of traffic and generating a steady stream of revenue, you can call your MVP a success and start looking ahead.

When you’re ready to scale, start working on producing more content and doing further work on app store optimization to increase your brand’s visibility.

Now, if the data tells you the MVP wasn’t a success, that’s okay.

WordPress will allow you to pivot easily, and quickly.

Essential Plugins for Building Your WordPress MVP

It’s likely that you’ll use plugins and themes that were built specifically for the niche you’re operating in.

But, there are a range of tools that can provide huge value for all types of businesses.

Here are some of our favourites:

Monetization

Although ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce and EDD already come equipped to accept payments through PayPal and direct bank transfers, you will have users who want more options. To accommodate for this, you need to add additional payment gateways.

Let’s take a look at some of your options:

Stripe

One that you may already know, which is global-friendly and accepts many different payment types you’ll likely need is Stripe.

WooCommerce Stripe

The WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway plugin is one you can use to add Stripe payment options to your WooCommerce-powered store. In addition to opening you up to the possibility of accepting credit cards, you can now take payments from AliPay, SEPA, Diner’s Club, and more.

If you would like to configure your WooCommerce shop to accept recurring payments for subscriptions, then you’ll need the help of this premium extension: WooCommerce Subscriptions. With this plugin, you’ll have more control over billing schedules, renewals, upgrades, and so on.

Stripe Payments

If you’re not using WooCommerce to sell through your MVP, then you’ll need this Stripe Payments plugin.

It does the same thing as the WooCommerce counterpart, except that it works with any ecommerce plugin.

To open up features like recurring billing, you’ll need the Pro version. In addition to creating subscription plans, you get access to other features like calculating tax rates, adding coupon codes, setting up installment plans, and other features to make your life easier!

Contact Forms

Every WordPress site and mobile app you build will need a contact form.

Without one, users will be relegated to tracking down other methods by which to contact you or submit their listings or information for consideration.

While email, phone, and social media are viable alternatives, they’re not as effective as contact forms which capture more information since you can ask for exactly what you need.

There are a number of very high-quality contact form plugins for WordPress:

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin that makes it easy for anyone to build out even the most complex of contact forms.

If you know that your signup or contact intake processes require the collection of a lot of information, the unlimited forms, fields, and pages are ideal.

Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms Plugin

Ninja Forms is a nice choice for anyone who wants more control over each element in their site’s contact form.

This developer-friendly plugin allows for more robust form builds, which includes functionality like accepting file uploads, handling payments, applying conditional logic, and even spreading fields across multiple pages.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is currently the most popular contact form plugin available for free in the WordPress repository. With it, you can create and customize contact forms with ease.

It’s also GDPR-compliant, so that’ll take some of the work out of complying with recent privacy regulations.

WPForms

WPForms

WPForms is a contact form plugin that comes with two especially notable features. First, it includes a drag-and-drop builder, so you can design your contact forms with greater ease. Also, it includes a number of pre-built form templates, which will save you time setting up the most straightforward of contact forms.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something you should always be working on with your website.

Thankfully, WordPress has made this a much easier task for its users to handle. For instance, by using responsive and fast WordPress themes, you’re already checking off two of Google’s requirements for SEO.

There are plugins you can use as well to give you an additional boost:

Yoast

Yoast

Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that covers all the major SEO bases. It analyzes every piece of content you publish to the site and provides guidance on how to improve it.

It also helps with things like creating and sharing an XML sitemap with search engines as well as assessing the quality of links on your site.

The Yoast team explained to us why it’s a great tool to use in your MVP:

“Yoast helps you optimize your website, whether it’s with our widely used SEO software or our online SEO courses. We have many ways of helping you reach your goals. Our Yoast SEO plugin has indispensable tools to, for instance, help you create redirects, add internal links to your posts and optimize your content. In addition, we offer SEO courses which teach you all about our plugin, copywriting, technical SEO and SEO in general.”

Here’s how they recommend starting with the tool:

“When you’re getting started with Yoast SEO you should read the Holistic SEO it tells you how we see and practice SEO. We have loads of interesting reading material on our SEO blog. If you need help, try our help center or the Knowledgebase where you can find many answers and guides regarding our plugin.”

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack

The All in One SEO Pack is another great choice when it comes to simplifying the work you have to do on SEO.

With this plugin, you’re going to see a bit more automation when it comes to optimizing content and metadata for search. It also integrates with WooCommerce, so you can more effectively optimize products for search.

Third-Party Services

WordPress is an open source software, which means developers can build any piece of software they want to integrate with it. (That’s what all those themes and plugins are.) However, there are non-WordPress tools that can hook into WordPress as well.

For instance, a plugin like Gravity Forms integrates with third-party services for:

  • Email marketing software
  • CRMs
  • File storage
  • Task management platforms
  • Texting and live chat systems
  • Payment gateways
  • Lead generation tools

Zapier

Zapier

Zapier is a powerful tool you can use to connect your WordPress site with services that might not naturally integrate with the content management system or its plugins.

Here’s how the team at Zapier say it can save you time when building your MVP:

Zapier integrates with over 1,300 apps, to help you build processes that automate time-consuming tasks and boost your productivity!”

They recommend getting started with their documentation here.

Once you’ve got Zapier setup correctly it can save you huge amounts of time – and they’re constantly adding new integrations that will help your business function effectively!

Mobile App Creation

With mobile users consuming up to 2x the amount of content than desktop users, you really need to be tapping into the mobile market.

Mobile vs deskop Average minutes per platform 700x384 - Why You Should Use WordPress to Build Your MVP

In some cases, a PWA or well optimized mobile website might be a viable way to access the mobile market. But, if you really want to tap into this market and provide mobile users with a greater user experience, as well as gain benefits such as increased brand awareness through an App Store presence, powerful engagement opportunities thanks to Push Notifications and more, it’s worth having an app for your WordPress website.

MobiLoud

mobiloud wordpress app

MobiLoud is the best way to turn your WordPress website into a native mobile app.

What’s great about having built your website in WordPress is that the process to turn it into a mobile app with MobiLoud is easy.

Our experienced team will take care of everything you need:

  • App configuration
  • Testing
  • Publishing
  • Maintaining your app so you can spend more time talking to your customers

MobiLoud Canvas can convert any WordPress websites into mobile apps. All of your existing website functionality can be added to the app, and you won’t need to make any compromises, like you might with a DIY app builder.

MobiLoud News is the perfect service for converting news websites and established blogs into mobile apps.

Your website will be turned into a native app, complete with native menu and tab features to enhance the user experience (like the apps used by publishers such as The New York Times, Business Insider, TechCrunch and more!). You’ll also be able to take advantage of powerful Push Notifications to engage your audience more than you could before!

Wrapping Up

When you’re low on startup funds and nervous about the acceptance of your offering, creating an MVP is a really smart move.

You can keep funds low in the startup phase while still offering a complete product and experience to your users. It’s just a minimal experience to test the waters and keep risk low–which is exactly what you need when starting up.

WordPress is the ideal platform to use when starting your business, and it will be powerful enough to grow with you as your business scales up!


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Written by
Brenda Stokes Barron

Brenda is an expert writer on WordPress, digital and mobile publishing. She's a regular contributor to MobiLoud's blog and many industry publications such as WPMU Dev, Speckyboy and Torque.

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