Converting Your Website into an App: Step-by-Step Guide [+ 5 Successful Brands]
To what end would you like to adapt your current website into an app for mobile devices? You certainly wouldn't be the first person to download one of the millions of existing mobile applications.
Smartphones have revolutionized our lives, for better or worse. Now, all you need to know about a company's brand can be found with a few clicks of your mouse. Over half of all website visits in 2021 came from mobile devices, meaning consumers no longer need a desktop computer to explore your site.
If your business already has a website but you'd like to improve the mobile experience for your customers, you can turn your site into an Android or iOS app. If your website isn't optimized for mobile use, you can still provide a mobile app for visitors.
In this article, we'll talk about:
We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's get rolling.
The Importance of Mobile Apps
Customers and businesses alike can benefit from mobile applications, which is why 31% of all businesses use them. Consider the following before deciding whether or not to turn your website into an app for mobile devices:
Simplicity of Use
When a user has an app installed, it's much simpler to launch the app and start using it than it is to launch a browser and navigate to the website. It's always preferable to have fewer obstacles between the user and the content you're offering.
Recent studies have shown that app usage far outpaces web browsing on mobile devices. We attribute this to the accessibility of apps, which can be launched directly from the home screen.
Of course, there's also the difficulty of actually convincing the user to install your app; for help with this, check out our guide to turning mobile traffic into app downloads.
Source of the Picture
Improve Your Rankings On Search Engines
Search engines like Google are optimized to return only the results that are most relevant to your query. As the number of people using mobile devices to access the internet grows, it stands to reason that sites that also offer mobile apps will achieve better search engine rankings.
If your company has a mobile app, for instance, it will increase the likelihood that a user will find the information they need when searching for your brand or products on their mobile device.
Since Google always gives users the best possible result, it will show your app in an "app pack" (illustrated below) whenever a user searches for your brand on a mobile device. The search engine will recognize that the user is using a mobile device and will tailor its results accordingly.
A User Experience Optimized for Mobile Devices
It's discouraging to love a company whose website is fantastic on your desktop but falls flat on your mobile device.
Your job as a marketer, website owner, or web developer is to provide users with a satisfying experience; however, how can you do that if your site isn't optimized for mobile use? Do you scrap it and start over, redesign the site, or try to patch the problems in the hopes that they won't arise again?
Alternatively, you could develop a mobile app for your website. This way, your desktop version can remain unchanged while a mobile version that is optimized for use on smaller screens can be made available.
Notifications That "Push" You
The capability of mobile apps to notify users of new content via push notifications is a major selling point for these programs. Instead of waiting for customers to open your app and see your sales, personal offers, new posts, etc., you can send them push notifications instead.
If the user has enabled push notifications, your alerts will show up immediately upon unlocking or loading the home screen.
An additional advantage of creating a mobile app instead of just a mobile website is that apps can use more of your phone's features.
To create a more satisfying and immersive app, you can link it to the user's social networks, their browser history, their camera, and even their location using GPS.
Functionality Supporting Multiple Touches
IOS and Android apps are the only ones that support multitouch. Swiping, pinching, and other gestures are just some of the many ways you can interact with an app. Therefore, as opposed to using a desktop browser, users have a more tailored, interesting, and habitual experience.
Some users may have a spotty or nonexistent internet connection, depending on their physical location. In contrast to websites, which can only be accessed while online, mobile apps can be used even when there is no network coverage.
Your app's offline functionality is also expandable. For instance, Google Docs can be used offline; updates are stored locally and synced with the cloud when the user next connects.
Are you prepared to launch your mobile application? We need to settle first whether your app will be available for Android, iOS, or both.
Which mobile platform is better for my app?
Developing for either Android or iOS users may require a different approach to the app's structure and code. Although it would be ideal to cater to both types of users, you may have to make a choice if you lack the time or resources to create two separate versions of your app.
To begin, it's true that Android has more users than iOS does. In 2021, Android OS held an 84% market share, while iOS held a slightly smaller 16%. Android has far more users than Apple's iOS, a popular mobile operating system.
Keeping that in mind, you should also think about the locations of your users. Android may have a larger global user base, but iOS has the U.S. S along with Japan — as shown in the graph
Location of Original Image
You can host your app on either system, as they are functionally equivalent. The primary distinction between the two platforms is the encoding format, regardless of user count. In contrast to iOS, Android relies on APK files. It's an iOS-only file extension (.ipa)
Hosting your app on both Android and iOS is certainly possible; however, you will need to develop two distinct apps, despite the fact that their features will be identical.
The criteria for app approval also vary between the two operating systems, which is another point of differentiation. Apple has strict guidelines and usually only approves apps that are both interesting and useful and make use of iOS-specific features. Apple claims that "websites served in an iOS app, web content that is not formatted for iOS, and limited web interactions do not make a quality app." Since this is the case, Apple's App Store typically rejects websites that have been converted into iOS apps.
Apple also considers the interface (poor UI is the most common reason for rejection). It provides designers and developers with "Human Interface Guidelines" and "UI Design Dos and Don'ts" to work by. Apple will not approve your app for the App Store if it has a poor user interface.
Let's take a look back at some key considerations as we launch into app creation.
Factors to Think About When Shifting Web Content to Apps for Mobile Devices
Many resources exist to facilitate the transformation of websites into native mobile apps (for both iOS and Android). However, this type of service cannot ensure a satisfying interaction for its customers. This is why it's preferable to build a native app from the ground up rather than use a third-party service to convert your website.
It's important to keep this in mind as you learn more about app development: it takes time and effort to create an app. You might not know what goes into making an app from scratch if you haven't designed one before. Before starting work on your app, it's important to think about the following factors:
Total Expenditure for New Construction
In contrast to websites, apps cannot be created with a CMS or other DIY tool. You should probably have a developer or a development team on your side.
It can be quite expensive to create a native app. To get the desired user interface, however, it's best to spend more money up front to ensure quality.
Before investing thousands of dollars into app development, you should have a good idea of the total cost of the project. We'll get into pricing in more detail in the following section.
Dimensions of the Display
Countless varieties of tablets and smartphones compete for consumers' attention in the mobile market. Therefore, it is important to test the UI/UX design on a variety of devices to make sure that the images, charts, and buttons all look and function properly.
Working with a seasoned and competent UI/UX designer is a must if you want to avoid common pitfalls.
Inquire About the Existence
The frequency with which people look for your website will almost always exceed that of your app store listing. Users can be alerted to your mobile app in a number of ways, including a popup on your website and a feature that allows you to link to the app directly from Google's search results (called "app packs" If your website isn't mobile-friendly, this is a great way to convince people to download an app instead.
Now that we've laid the groundwork, let's talk about turning your website into a mobile app.
Making a Mobile Application Out of Your Website
1. Decide if a mobile app is necessary.
You're probably headed in the direction of app development if you've gotten this far. It's important to keep in mind that a mobile app isn't necessary for every website. It's possible that a mobile app is unnecessary if your website already caters to mobile users. If most of your customers already use and prefer your website, developing a mobile app may not be worth the effort.
In order to determine whether or not a mobile app would benefit your company, consider the following. The more negative answers you get, the more likely it is that your business could use a mobile app.
- Do I have a mobile-friendly website?
- Is it simple to implement a mobile-friendly layout for my site?
- My app does X, can my website do Y?
- Do most of my site's visitors use a desktop computer?
- Do search engines like my website?
- Is there a mobile app that my rivals offer?
Second, make a list of everything that your app must have.
You should give some thought to the functionality of your mobile app before diving in headfirst. This will not only serve as a guide for what to construct, but also as a tool for cost estimation and cost control.
It's easy to let your imagination run wild when you consider all the things your app could do. However, by developing a carefully considered list of features, you will establish a realistic goal for your app and guarantee that each and every one of its features will be of genuine value to your intended users.
Third, staff up with a dev crew.
You need to hire a skilled and experienced development team if you want to create a top-notch app. Hiring an in-house team or partnering with a dependable vendor are the two primary choices available today.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both options. It can be costly, for instance, to employ a group of experts in-house. Rent, computers, programs, taxes, vacations, and more will all need to be paid for. On the other hand, when you develop an app internally, you have complete creative freedom and can make it fit your business's unique needs.
Since you can find developers all over the world for a variety of rates, outsourcing usually works out cheaper. Unfortunately, this means you have to put your faith in the developers you've hired and let go of some control over their work.
You can prepare for this, thankfully, by setting up regular meetings with your developers. This will aid in keeping the project on track and accommodating adjustments as they are made during development. That way, after waiting weeks or months for your developers to build the app, you won't be disappointed when it looks nothing like the original blueprint.
Calculate Probable App Development Fees
After you've compiled a list of features and assembled a development team, you can begin cost-benefit analysis. As a general rule, app development costs will increase in proportion to the level of complexity of the app. One study found that the average price to create a "simple app" is between $38,000 and ,000.
When budgeting for a mobile app, there are a number of variables to take into account. What you want to do, who you're working with, how long it'll take to build the app, how many features you want, etc. You should give some thought to all of these aspects of pricing before developing your app. If you're having trouble staying within your budget, one solution is to reevaluate your feature list and determine which ones are absolutely necessary and which ones can be added at a later time.
Construct a user-friendly user interface (UI) fifth
When designing your app's interface, user experience design (UX design) should take precedence over even the most fundamental features. After all, if your mobile app isn't as responsive as your website, what's the point?
If you can't make your app more user-friendly on mobile devices than your website is, you might want to rethink developing an entirely new app in favor of improving your existing one.
Learn everything you need to know about user experience design by reading this comprehensive guide.
Attempt to use the app.
You should test your app before submitting it to the app store, just as you would a landing page, social media post, or email campaign. Your app's features can be fine-tuned and any bugs can be fixed before users even encounter them.
This will not only prevent customers who are having problems with your mobile app from contacting your support team, but it will also help you retain users who might have deleted your app after encountering these issues. If you can't fix all the problems before releasing it, at least you'll know to expect them and can train your support staff accordingly.
Make sure your app is ready for the App Store by step 7.
Putting your app up for sale on the App Store is the last thing to do before it goes live. The approval process for both the Android Market and the iOS App Store is roughly the same length of time, at around three days. Your app will be live in the app store as soon as it has been approved.
Some Websites that Have Been Transformed Into Apps
When a website is successfully adapted into a mobile app, what might it resemble? You can use these well-known websites that have been adapted into mobile apps as inspiration for your own app's design.
A New York Magazine
The New Yorker has evolved from its print edition into a digital magazine, a website, and a mobile app, all since its inception. The desktop site features articles, editorials, cartoons, a store, and more.
Taking a look at the New Yorker's mobile app, we can see how it mimics the look and feel of the website while offering all of the same content and functionality (right down to the crossword puzzles).
Apps are a common way for online retailers to bring their desktop sites to mobile devices. For example, H&M's app offers a shopping experience that's on par with the website and can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.
You can scan a product's price tag in-store with your phone's camera to see if more of that product is available, a feature unique to the app.
Home cooks can rely on Blue Apron's meal kits for an ingredient-filled helping hand. Meal orders and subscription management are both available to subscribers online. Blue Apron has made it simpler for its customers to discover new recipes, save their favorites, and manage their accounts by porting its service to a mobile app.
Schedule meetings, appointments, and more with Calendly, the professional scheduling app. The firm has developed an iOS and Android app that gives users instant access to its core functionality wherever they may be. On the sleek mobile interface, users can set up meetings, check their schedules, make changes, and book rooms.
Image Credit: Source
Canva, a design company, is following in the footsteps of Calendly by condensing the best features of its web app into a mobile app in order to attract more users. You can use it to create unique graphics, edit photos, and even produce brief videos all from the convenience of your mobile device.
Enhancing Your Mobile Application
As users' information-seeking habits evolve online, so must the content of your website if it is to be successful. Specifically, this means developing a mobile app that is accessible and useful for people who are looking for your brand via mobile device.
By implementing the aforementioned strategies, you can transform your website into an interactive mobile app and provide your clientele with a more convenient experience while on the go.
This post was originally published in April 2021 and has been revised and expanded upon since then to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information possible.
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