It’s hard to believe WordPress started out as a mere blogging solution isn’t it?
It wasn’t long before WordPress developers started creating plugins and themes. This led to WordPress becoming a solution for creating professional level websites. Then came WordPress plugins which used the Facebook API, the Twitter API and multi-media features to connect WordPress sites with social media sites.
Now we have WordPress plugins for eCommerce, mailing list management, creating online forums and social media communities, managing customer relationships through live chat and customer support tickets and for tracking marketing campaigns.
If were a betting man I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing accounting solutions created specifically using premium WordPress plugins.
WordPress has evolved from a mere blogging platform to what I believe will become one of the most powerful solutions for creating and managing a virtual business. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d like to share what I believe will be the next phase of the WordPress revolution, and why WordPress developers might soon become some of the most sought after craftsman in the global economy.
It’s the evolution of WordPress into a full blown solution for creating a virtual business ecosystem…
What the Heck is a Virtual Ecosystem?
Based on some feedback I’ve seen from my readers, even some of the most diehard WordPress fans are still having a hard time separating the concept of social media marketing from the concept of a virtual ecosystem. An ecosystem is a complete solution for managing and growing your business from top to bottom including:
1. Content management and delivery
2. Customer relationship management
3. Project management and collaboration
4. Campaign tracking and management
5. Product creation, manufacturing and delivery
As farfetched as number four ^ sounds, it’s already starting to happen. An article in the April issue of “The Economist” talked about the emergence of a new printer technology which allows product manufacturers to design and to perfect physical products and have them “printed” into physical form by one of these printers.
The entrepreneurs who understand this technology and who see its potential in cutting manufacturing costs and even allowing consumers to custom design their own products are already planning on integrating it into their virtual business ecosystems.
One such company is creating a community like Facebook where shoppers can create and sell their own custom designed products using this amazing virtual technology. Imagine the potential for integrating such technology with your existing eCommerce system, your company website, your blog, your Social Media properties on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.
Imagine integrating this technology with your affiliate management solution, your blog network and the other technologies which you or your customers are already using to manage and to grow a virtual business. Give all of these technologies a centrifugal platform from which they can be managed and you could literally create a virtual ecosystem which completely replaces many of the high overhead brick and mortar businesses around the globe.
Now, here’s what this will mean for WordPress developers…
The Emergence of a WordPress Ecosystem
The evolution of WordPress from a blogging solution to a solution for creating a virtual ecosystem is already underway and has been for some time. Even if you browse through the plugins in the WPMU DEV library, you’ll notice that many of most popular plugins can be combined to turn a WordPress website into a virtual ecosystem.
Here are just a few examples, see if you can spot how these plugins might work together to accomplish what I’m talking about:
- Plugins for creating and managing events
- Plugins for recruiting and managing affiliates
- Ecommerce plugins for selling both virtual and physical goods.
- Plugins for connecting to Facebook, Google +, Twitter and You Tube
- Plugins for building and managing customer mailing lists
- Plugins for creating Social Networks using “Buddy Press”
- Plugins for tracking site statistics and improving marketing campaign performance
All of these were created in response to two things:
1. The emergence of new online technologies
2. WordPress customer demand
What do you think will happen as more virtual technologies become available? Will WordPress developers find a way to integrate the virtual product manufacturing technologies we talked about earlier so that they can be managed from one central WordPress site or network? Do you think that would be a desirable solution for people managing a virtual business…or looking to virtualize the operations of their brick and mortar businesses?
Are you starting to see where things could be headed if the WordPress developer community continues to innovate and to create as they have in response to the virtual technologies which have now become commonplace? And this, my friends, is just the beginning…
Virtual Ecosystems Will Change the Way We Do Business Forever
Okay, so virtual ecosystems sound pretty cool, but MySpace was also cool until Facebook came along. What will happen when the whole “Virtual Ecosystem” trend dies out? What if it’s just another one of those fantastical theories which never takes off?
It’s not, and if you want to know how I know this, just check out what the information technology giant IBM has been up to with their project called “Virtual World.” It’s a virtual reality where people can browse through virtual storefronts using an “avatar,” much like the virtual reality which you saw in the movie “The Matrixx.”
I know, sounds fantastical, but it’s happening. How many people in the world do you think would love to shop like that? As this technology becomes more efficient and affordable, how many companies do you think would love to offer that kind of experience to their customers AND cut their storing and manufacturing costs?
If you study the history of computers and the technologies which have brought us where we are today, you’ll realize that it all started with the megalithic IBM mainframe computers. IBM has been around for a long time and if there’s one thing they know it’s how to evolve and survive.
My humble opinion is that the technology which is being used to create “Virtual World” and the virtual product manufacturing solutions I talked about earlier will become more and more popular, more affordable and more influential in the global economy.
Why wouldn’t they?
They appeal perfectly to the human desire for customization, convenience and for connection. So far, the open source nature of WordPress has allowed it to evolve from a mere blogging solution into a solution for building a fully functioning online business. The evolution of WordPress into a solution for creating a virtual business ecosystem is the next logical step.
The WordPress developers who understand this emergence of virtual ecosystems and prepare themselves for what’s coming will soon have a world of opportunity at their fingertips.
How about you?
I hope this blog has opened your eyes and that you’re up for seizing the opportunities that await you, because those who catch this trend early will become the architects of the virtual economy.