The future of WordPress Plugins

future of WordPress pluginsThe future belongs to Trusted Advisors

If you know me, you know that the overall brand I focus on developing, both personally and with others, is that of a trusted advisor. When you think of trusted advisors, don't think of consiglieres like in the Godfather. Think of your mechanic, tax consultant or physical trainer. They know a lot about a specific topic and are always helpful.

I recently spoke at a conference where I stated,

and it's true. People don't go to a mechanic just for fun. They know when to go – when their car is struggling. The same is true for your dermatologist, your chiropractor or anyone else you trust to help you in specific situations.

Connecting the dots…

I want you to imagine that you have an online store. You know, the kind running on Easy Digital Downloads, iThemes Exchange or WooCommerce.

Let's be honest – these are some of the most complicated plugins out there in the WordPress ecosystem. So it behooves us to watch what they're up to, and to learn from them.

Additionally, if you want to be a prognosticator of future events, you have to do more than watch leading companies. You need to weave the threads from other trends – for example, the number of people carrying their smartphones. Or the number of people that read my blog posts on their phone.

And when you do that, it's hard not to notice that EDD has built a mobile app to accompany their plugin.

How does this relate to the future of WordPress plugins?

I sat down this past weekend with Matt Danner, the COO of iThemes. He pulled up his phone and started showing me something. But I didn't understand what I was seeing initially. I thought it was a website. Running Sync – their remote server management solution. But it wasn't. It was a mobile app.

Think about that for a second.

Sync lets you do things like:

  • Manage themes.
  • Manage plugins.
  • Manage backups.

And a mobile app lets you do that from your phone.

That is, in my opinion, a needed start when we talk about the future of WordPress plugins.

The integration of mobile components of remote servers, with tight integration to your plugins and themes is an incredible dynamic.

Let me paint you a picture…

You're walking down the street when your phone buzzes. You look at it and you notice an app has created an alert for you. You click it and it opens the app. The app highlights a recent trend – in the case of eCommerce, for example – where a single product is selling quite well.

It then asks you if you'd like to promote the product, by creating a coupon that you'd promote via social channels. It would be a product-specific coupon that was created simply because the system realized it was trending.

You say yes, and the remote coupon is not only created, but the link to it (and the product page) is pushed out via your social channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Notice what you just experienced? It's a trusted advisor. Only this time, it's not a person. It's a mobile app. One that understands what you care about, one that understands your system, and one that has remote control capabilities because of its close integration with your site's plugins.

That, in my opinion, is the future of WordPress plugins.

Tomorrow may be starting today…

Here's the thing. The Sync app by iThemes could easily be enhanced to support coupon creation. The mobile app by Pippin could easily be enhanced to support coupon creation.

Mobile integration with Twitter and Facebook is pretty simple and wouldn't take too much work.

And platforms like AppPresser make these kinds of things pretty easy as well.

In reality, the future of tight mobile integration with WordPress plugins may not even be a year or two away.

It might be months – which is why it's easy to predict.