Your website is a crucial part of your company's online presence. That's why you spend so much time perfecting every nook and cranny. That's why you make sure it's optimized for every device. But is it really?
A responsive WordPress web design is ideal for presenting all the information on your regular website in a mobile way. However, sometimes it's not specific enough for the needs of mobile users. On average, U.S. adults spent nearly 2.5 hours a day on mobile apps in 2017. If this is a digital channel that makes sense for your business, you don't have time to stand pat. Let's take a look at how you can determine whether or not a mobile app is right for your website, and how you can find an effective solution with a WordPress plugin.
Does your company need a mobile app?
For some companies, having a responsive website for their customers is not enough. Google and Ipsos researched how consumers use mobile apps:
- Loyalty program management
- Upcoming sales notifications
- Digital vouchers that are not available elsewhere online
- Special offers that can be redeemed when shopping in-store
- Scan a product to get more details than the packaging offers
- Scan products so you can save items to your online wish list or shopping cart to purchase them later
Now think about your own use of mobile apps. You are probably familiar with mobile apps that not only support retail, but also serve other purposes:
- As a driver, you probably use a GPS app.
- If you want to stay up to date with the news, you may have something like Google News or Feedly installed on your phone in app form.
- For all singles who are currently looking, Tinder or Bumble might be your best friends.
- Productivity apps are very popular, especially when you need to work from home and block out distractions.
- Would you like to stay in touch with friends, family and possibly colleagues? Facebook has the Messenger app for this.
- And of course there are social media apps that allow you to publish and integrate posts on the go.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why consumers use mobile apps, and there are a number of ways you can hop on this bandwagon and deploy a mobile app for your WordPress website.
This investment makes sense for some sectors and types of company. For retailers for sure. SaaS products? Probably. Important news or blog sites? Yes. For everyone else, you'll have to make that decision for yourself. If your target audience could benefit from a platform that provides timely offers, relevant information and real-time management capabilities, a mobile app could definitely be beneficial for you.
Plugins that can turn your WordPress site into a mobile app
If you've been thinking about turning your WordPress site into a mobile app, you may already know how much it costs to build an app from scratch. If you're not familiar with developing an app, you'll need to outsource it to another developer or another company. WordPress Agency in Zurich or Basel outsource. Even the bare bones of mobile apps cost a lot.
You already have a beautiful WordPress website from a WordPress Freelancer or a WordPress Developer have it created. If you can't afford to go to the expense of creating an app, you can take the hybrid approach with a WordPress plugin. While this approach doesn't offer the same functionality as the €200,000 bespoke mobile apps, you still have a new and fully mobile channel for customers to find and use your store. Curious about what we can do through a plugin and some WordPress programming to turn your WordPress site into a mobile app? Check out the following:
Create WordPress app with Androapp
For content-oriented websites like blogs and newspapers, this plugin might be worth a look. Essentially, it turns your newsfeed into a mobile app-like layout. While it looks similar to how your responsive site would look on mobile devices, there are some additional features that make it more suitable for apps, including:
- Push notifications
- Inline displays
- Save content offline
- Deep link support (which is essential if you want different pages of your app to be displayed in the search)
- Zoom image
- Custom design and colors for your website
Just a quick word of caution about this plugin. Although there are several references to it that allow users to create an iOS app, this functionality is currently only in beta. If you use this plugin, do so with the goal of launching strictly for Android, at least for now.
Create a WordPress app with AppPresser
AppPresser is an app builder that integrates with WordPress. Extensive customizations are possible (and necessary) to create a high-quality WordPress app with it.
Here are some of the features of the mobile app:
- Design the navigation as a flyout menu or tabs
- Compatible with WordPress plugins and extensions so you can bring in things like Facebook login, camera connectivity, Google Maps and social sharing
- Create custom pages from any content on your website
- Push notifications
Create WordPress app with Blappsta
Here is another example of a WordPress plugin that you can use to that you can use to turn your WordPress blog into a mobile app. This device is not only compatible with iOS and Android devices, but also with Windows smartphones. Here are some of the mobile app features, you should look out for:
- Push notifications when a new post goes live
- Deep link indexing for Google
- Enable buttons for e-mail and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Google+)
- Flexibility to organize content in your app, with the most popular articles displayed at the top and bottom and related posts at the bottom
- Customize the navigation
- Customize the design of the homepage
This is still a relatively new plugin. However, it is completely free to use and even comes with a preview tool that allows you to see what your website will look like in mobile app form before you create it.
Create WordPress app with MobiLoud
Although MobiLoud is listed in the WordPress plugin directory as a free plugin to download, MobiLoud is not a free mobile app builder. Instead, it's an affordable mobile app service where you hire the team at MobiLoud to build a mobile app for you based on your WordPress website. They offer two products: one specifically for converting blog or news sites into apps, and one to help all other high-traffic websites make the switch.
With this ongoing service (it is not just a one-off payment a one-off payment for an app), MobiLoud takes care of the following:
- Create a mobile app for iOS and / or Android
- Customize the design with your logo and favicon
- Activate push notifications
- Provision of app updates and maintenance
With updated plans, you can also get assistance with setting up analytics, monetization, etc.
Looking for a WordPress plugin for site-to-mobile apps that will save you time but get your mobile app up and running in minutes? This premium plugin does just that. Probably not ideal for anyone who needs to be able to customize or control the content of their app. As it stands, this tool is ideal for bloggers or small non-profit organizations looking to get up and running easily.
One note about this app: since your website literally just integrates into a mobile app layout, there aren't many app add-ons besides push notifications and admob monetization.
Web2App is a WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly move your responsive website into a full native app. It's easy to set up, but it doesn't mean you have to compromise on the quality of the mobile app it creates. While it doesn't work exactly like an app that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to make, there are enough customization features available to make it a suitable and affordable replacement.
Here are some of the mobile app features you get with this plugin:
- Start screen
- App ratings in the Google Play Store
- Various options for designing the display and navigation of the mobile app
- Social exchange
Create WordPress app with Worona
This WordPress plugin helps users to create mobile apps for Android and iOS from their WordPress websites. The developers behind this plugin are also working on new features that will allow users to create Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles. Besides custom upgrades like using a premium theme, analytics, push notifications or the Worona team to manage your app store setup, this plugin is very powerful.
With this plugin, please note that there is a separate online dashboard for configuring and publishing your app, so you cannot use this directly in WordPress.
The ability to create an app from your WordPress website is a cost-effective and quick solution. However, keep in mind that this requires just as much attention and maintenance as a website, if not more. It is also always important that someone takes care of the Maintenance and the Support can take care of your app.
So if you go to the trouble of turning your WordPress website into a mobile app, be sure it's worth it for you and your audience.