With the WordPress REST API still staggering towards the finishing line, now is a great time to dust off the crystal ball and consider how developers might actually go about making money through its commercial use in the future.
The next few years promises to bring a flood of new talent into the WordPress ecosystem, cementing the platform’s place as the dominant publishing platform online. We’re still in the early days of this next stage, but it’s already obvious that a much wider world of opportunity is potentially opening up to skilled developers.
In this piece, we’ll whet your appetite for what’s to come with a look at four exciting new revenue opportunities opened up by the REST API. All of them are still relatively unexplored and have outstanding profit potential for many years to come.
1. Creation of Niche-Specific Software as a Service Solutions
With the right mix of specific themes and plugins, WordPress has more than proven its value as a niche-specific solution over the years, and blogging is far from the only niche being served. From real estate to restaurant sites, hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the globe are already tailoring the platform to their needs in one way or another.
However, niche solutions to date have always been a somewhat patched together affair. The arrival of the WordPress REST API opens the door to genuinely all-encompassing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that are fully integrated on both the front and back ends of WordPress. Rather than site owners having to laboriously cobble together a collection of themes and plugins to match their needs, solutions are likely to arrive pre-formed.
We’ve already seen early versions of people tackling this potentially enormous opportunity with the rise of targeted services such as Happytables and Rainmaker, but that’s likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. The REST API opens up a real opportunity for WordPress to become the default infrastructure of the next generation of niche-specific SaaS solutions, and there’s money to be made in any niche.
2. Integration With Wearables
After much hype and hoopla about its arrival, reaction to the iWatch has been somewhat muted to date. However, it’s important to remember that we’re still very much in the infancy of wearable computing – the inevitable trend is towards more and more intimate devices that track and record every aspect of our daily lives.
All that data needs a place to live, and while device makers will be keen to push their own solutions, many people will be eager to see their own information hit the wider web in ways they directly control. With the REST API opening up the ability to smoothly get data in and out of WordPress, the platform is in an excellent position to help people make publishing more personal than it’s ever been.
The rise of the quantified self-movement is encouraging more and more people to track and mine the details of their own day-to-day lives. A quick look at existing personalized data dashboards (such as Gyroscope) should be enough to get developers excited about the possibilities wearable integration opens up – particularly in lucrative areas such as healthcare and fitness.
3. Integration With Legacy Enterprise Systems
As we recently covered, WordPress is emerging as an increasingly viable candidate for widespread enterprise adoption. However, the reality for a huge amount of enterprise projects is that they’re firmly married to existing solutions, and will be humming away merrily on them for years – if not decades – to come.
This is likely to push a significant amount of highly paid work towards developers who can prove they’ve already got WordPress down cold, and have the wider technical chops to work with other technologies. This won’t be for everyone, and a lot of the work won’t be particularly public or glamorous, but for those with the skills to make the grade it’s going to be very lucrative.
4. Joining the Dots With Popular Applications
While WordPress may well emerge as an SaaS environment in its own right, it’s definitely going to be interacting with existing third-party solutions in a fundamentally deeper way, thanks to the power of the REST API.
The focus on integrations with third-party services has been largely one-way to date. Popular plugins such as Google Analytics by MonsterInsights concentrate primarily on bringing external services into WordPress rather than any kind of sophisticated back and forth. With a fully functioning API raring to go under the hood, we’re likely to see an explosion of interest in much more complex workflows and interactions with third-party APIs across the board.
The existing list of WordPress integrations on Zapier shows that the demand is already there, and the REST API is only going to feed it. There are two huge revenue opportunities for developers here:
- The development of a new generation of plugins.
- Quick custom work to integrate external APIs in the context of specific projects.
The former will be dominated by a relatively small pool of developers over time, but there’ll be huge ongoing opportunities for all with the latter.
Though the hype around the WordPress REST API has been building for nearly two years now, the reality is that we’re still at the starting gate. The opportunities we’ve highlighted above are necessarily speculative, and there will be countless more emerging in the coming months and years. One thing’s for certain though, there will be no shortage of opportunity for skilled developers in the WordPress ecosystem going forward.
Let’s recap our four main potential revenue routes to finish up:
- Industry-specific Software as a Service solutions, which are set to explode.
- Integrating with wearables, opening up opportunities in profitable areas such as healthcare.
- Enterprise systems, where integration will be a lucrative expert niche.
- Joining the dots with existing SaaS APIs, which will be an ongoing opportunity.
Are there any opportunities that you’re particularly looking forward to, or any areas that we’ve missed? Get in touch via the comments section below and let us know!
Featured image: geralt.
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