More and more users are surfing the web using smartphones and tablets, requiring responsive web design. However, when compared to a native mobile app, responsive sites cannot yet provide the same quality as User Experience (UX). Fortunately, turning your WordPress site into a mobile app is easier than you think. With the help of the right plugin, you can offer your users a superior mobile experience quickly and inexpensively.
In this post, we will see the differences between responsive mobile apps and WordPress sites and analyze some of the plugins you can use to turn your website into an app. Let’s begin!
Responsive websites, optimized for mobile devices VS App
It is obvious that it is important to make your content easily accessible for smartphone and tablet users. But it may not be as obvious why you should make an app when you already have a website optimized for mobile devices. After all, creating an app is an investment and you certainly don’t want to waste your budget with unnecessary functionality.
To clarify right from the start, websites and mobile apps have different purposes, creating both helps you to cover every eventuality in order to provide your users with everything they need, growing and maintaining your brand.
The 51 percent of smartphone users say they find new products and brands by searching from mobile devices. Unlike an app, your website is available to anyone on the Internet, not only for current users, therefore, having a responsive website optimized for search engines is essential for acquiring new contacts.
Furthermore, a responsive site is an important factor in building your brand’s credibility. The 57 percent of Internet users will not recommend brands with web sites are not optimized for mobile devices. Having a high quality app is not profitable if you can’t start with users interested in your brand.
Native mobile apps, on the other hand, are much more effective than responsive sites when it comes to retaining users for a number of factors:
- Mobile apps offer better performance, including higher loading speeds.
- You can improve UX by integrating your app with mobile device features like camera use, touch ID and more.
- Push notifications increase brand awareness and remind users to check in regularly.
The combination of the advantages of a responsive site with those of a mobile app gives you the best of both worlds.
What options are there to turn my WordPress site into an app? Which one should I choose?
When it comes to creating an app for mobile devices, you can follow different paths. Contacting an external agency to make one, requires little effort on your part, but it requires time and money: you could wait months and spend thousands of euros.
Alternatively, there are tools you can use to make your WordPress app, like Adobe PhoneGap, but if you’re not an experienced developer, chances are you’ll have difficulty following the DIY route and you’ll have to write all the code.
For WordPress users the third option is to use a plugin as it offers the help of experienced developers at a fraction of the cost that you would incur if you had your app implemented by an external agency. It is generally much faster than developing traditional apps. For most situations, this is the best app street.
The best WordPress plugins for mobile app conversion
Since plugins are generally the most accessible option for creating a complementary app for your WordPress site, we have compiled some of the best choices. Here are four that you could consider.
- MobiLoud converts your WordPress website into a native mobile app for iOS and Android. It comes with a customizable interface that integrates the theme and existing plugins, including WooCommerce. Furthermore, the MobiLoud team is available to manage the realization and publication processes, as well as provide their first-rate support.
- Designed specifically for high-traffic WordPress websites
- Provides a complete service, including publishing your app in Apple and Google Play stores
- Includes industry standard features such as push notifications and offline support
- Possibility of white labels so that the MobiLoud brand is not visible
- Compared to a media development agency, MobiLoud creates apps quickly and cheaply. Installation and configuration costs start at $ 950 , ongoing upgrades and maintenance plans start at $ 199 a month.
- If you have a smaller budget than the one offered by MobiLoud, you could consider AndroApp that allows you to quickly create an Android app for your WordPress website. Within minutes, you can have a testable app complete with customized features of your choice.
- Wide selection of themes
- Provides options to monetize your WordPress mobile app using Google AdMob and Appnext
- Includes unlimited push notifications, support for caching and brand customization
- It is easy to configure
- Unfortunately, this plugin has some drawbacks. It is not compatible with WooCommerce or BuddyPress and will not be useful if you want to create an app compatible with iOS. That being said, AndroApp is very convenient. You can create your app for free and the maintenance costs only $ 66 a year.
- Another option for creating mobile app is WPMobile.App. This quality plugin allows you to convert your WordPress site into an app for Android, iOS or both. It’s simple to use, with configuration and customization options available directly in the WordPress dashboard.
- Integrates with Weglot to translate your app
- Includes standard features like push notifications and offline content
- Offers unlimited updates and support
- Provides free app tests
- In particular, WPMobile.App is an economic solution. Only offers lifetime licenses, which means you don’t have to worry about subscription renewal and recurring commissions. An app for Android or iOS starts at € 79 while to create an app compatible with both systems it will cost you € 149.
- The last plugin we recommend to examine is AppPresser. Instead of converting your WordPress site into an app, connect an app created with the AppPresser service to your website. This gives you total control over the design of your platform, with a visual builder similar to the WordPress Customizer.
- Allows you to design your app using the easy-to-use AppPresser builder
- Provides instant visual feedback with the live app preview
- Offers features like Facebook access, social sharing and push notifications
- Includes access to device features including contacts, cameras and more
- To get started, you’ll need an AppPresser account . Plans range from $ 249 a year to $ 599 a year for access to advanced features. If you prefer a team of experts to create your app rather than use their tools to do it yourself, you can take a look at their custom development services .
Test your WordPress mobile app after completion
- Quality control testing (QA) is a key part of creating mobile apps. It is advisable to make sure that the platform works and is free of errors before making it available to users. Unfortunately, this can be challenging, as there are so many device formats, screen sizes and hardware configurations to consider.
- The QA testing process typically involves usability, functionality and compatibility assessments on a variety of different devices. Subsequently, the app will pass to the beta test, as well as to the browser’s performance and analysis.
- If you chose MobiLoud to create your app, the plugin developers will handle the tests for you. Similarly, WPMobile.App provides a free test platform that you can use, otherwise you’ll need to consider device emulators that can show you how your app will look on different smartphones and tablets.