How to Convert a website into an app?

How to turn a website into an app?

In this smartphone era, people worldwide have become reliant on mobile apps for the majority of tasks. These mobile apps are the driving force behind various businesses. They have helped them to take their business to a new level.

Some of the leading brands globally understood the importance of mobile apps and decided to turn the website into a mobile app or PWA. For example, Airbnb, Zillow, Dropbox, Google Docs, Starbucks, etc. By doing this, they have reached a wider audience and increased their revenue.

Besides this, various statistics prove mobile apps are used more than websites:

  • On average, US adults spend 4 hours on their smartphones according to eMarketer.
  • As per Statista, revenue generated from mobile apps is expected to reach 935 billion US dollars.

Considering the statistics, if you decide to convert a website into an app, you have reached the right place.

Here we will walk you through all of these things:

So, let’s get started:

7 Important Reasons to Convert a Website into App

There are various benefits of mobile apps for businesses, due to which they invest in it. Here we will walk you through some of the crucial reasons to turn a website into an app.

1. Smartphones are the Present as well as the Future of Technology

According to Statista, the total number of smartphone users in 2021 is around 6.4 billion, and it will increase to several hundred million in the coming years.

Users can carry out various things like tracking fitness, scheduling tasks, paying bills, etc., using a specific smartphone app.

2. Reliability across Multiple Screen Sizes

One of the main reasons to convert websites to mobile apps is the reliability of different screen sizes. Apps are adequately optimized, and hence users can easily access them from different screen sizes.

However, a website isn’t optimized easily in different smartphones because of screen sizes. Moreover, the user finds it hard to access a website from a smartphone because they are not able to find services quickly.

For a website owner, it is challenging to incorporate a complete website on a small screen. Hence, it is hard to integrate all features of the website into the app. Why? Because it will make the application look complex with a lot of screens.

Reliability across multiple screen sizes

For example, a website with 5-6 features is equivalent to 10 pages on a mobile device. Hence, you should only add the main features useful for the app. Later, you should add more features in the updated version.

3. An App puts Your Website in Front of Potential and Current Users

An app will 2X your visibility and help you to expand your audience.

Therefore, you should convert your website to an android or iPhone app depending on the user’s mobile useability.

Most apps are purchased and downloaded by users either from the Play Store or the App Store. Therefore, deploying your app on any platform will help you to increase brand awareness.

As soon as a user downloads an app, it becomes a part of their daily experience.

4. Mobile Apps Provide Extended Functionality

Another essential reason to turn a website into an app is for extended functionality and features. Various features like camera, push notifications, GPS tracking, messaging, etc., can be integrated into an app for better UX.

A mobile app allows businesses and industries to send push notifications to notify customers about critical updates, upcoming offers, and deals. Hence, it will ultimately help to improve the user’s interaction with the company.

5. An App Sets You apart from Your Competitors

Apps have become popular in the smartphone era, while websites are well-known from the beginning.

Having a mobile app for your business creates a positive image in the eyes of the target audience. It indicates to users that the company has made investments to provide a better experience.

Secondly, studies have shown that millennials love to purchase from a company that uses the latest technology and provides a quick and hassle-free experience.

6. Offline Capabilities

Mobile apps require internet connectivity to carry out essential operations; however, they can provide some basic features in offline mode too.

7. Quick Navigation

Interaction of the website is challenging on mobile. Therefore, you don’t want your user’s to face this issue.

As soon as you turn the website into an app, it will provide quick navigation.

For converting your website to app, most mobile app development companies follow a standard process. Moreover, they design every page with the utmost care to ensure users don’t find any issues while accessing it.

One issue which users don’t like is wasting their time accessing any website on a mobile device. To resolve this, ensure that the user gets a user-friendly experience via a modern-day app.

Before we move forward, some people think that if they make their website responsive, there is no requirement to convert it into an app? Is it so?

To make things clear, we will compare the performance of a website with a mobile app.

How does a Mobile App Offer Better Performance than a Website?

The majority of traffic on any website comes from smartphones; hence, it is essential to adopt responsive web design for any website owner.

Responsible web design means a website that is instantly accessible across various mobile devices. Some features include ease-of-use, adaptive resolution, intuitive navigation, broader reach, etc.

Compared to the responsive web design, mobile apps have a faster & better user experience; hence they provide better performance. Also, they work without any need for an internet connection and help to increase engagement via push notifications.

Moreover, they have access to mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS, device libraries, GPS functions, and more.

If your primary purpose behind creating an app is to provide a personalized experience, then you can achieve this through native app development.

The core purpose behind every mobile app is to provide convenience and user experience. To make your doubts clear, let’s run a small test. Consider that you are a user who wants to use social media. What will you choose: a mobile app or a website? The answer is clear!

Mobile Apps Vs. Responsive web design

From the above image, you can observe that responsive web design is a good choice; however, it doesn’t replace the mobile app. Responsive design works when you require a single page website with a short description, 1-2 features, and about us. In such a case, make sure that you provide valuable content to the users.

After understanding the performance difference between a website and an app, we will discuss the options to convert a website into an app.

So, here we go:

What are the Options to Convert a Website into an App?

There are three options available to convert your website into mobile apps. You can look at all the three options and choose the best one.

1. Progressive Web Apps

It is a new technology developed by Google that allows mobile devices to add a website or web application to a phone’s screen and access it easily.

Many leading companies worldwide have built progressive web applications.Here are the examples of PWA.

Progressive Web Apps

For converting your web app into a progressive web app, you will have to add it to the home screen icon, generate a web application manifest file, and build a service worker. By doing this, your site will work offline, load faster, and allow you to send push notifications.

When you load a progressive web app into a mobile app, it prompts the device to add it to the home screen. Presently, PWAs are only available for Android devices.

Pros Cons
Costs less than mobile apps. They have limited hardware and software support.
PWAs can work in offline mode. No app store for PWAs.
They are reliable and provide silky-smooth animations. Not compatible with iPhone and iPads.
Easily discoverable by search engines. It has limited browser support.

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to convert your website to a mobile application, then go with PWA.

Feel free to share your requirements with us. We will review it and give you an exact quote.

2. Hybrid Apps

A hybrid app is mainly a single app build for different platforms. Hence, one app can work on various operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry.

In short, hybrid mobile development is mainly a combination of native apps and web applications.

While developing a hybrid app, you should ensure that it works on all the screens and platforms such as Android or iOS. Both the systems have their own differences. Android has fewer UI requirements, while iOS has low fragmentation.

Moreover, hybrid apps can access various device capabilities like the camera, gyroscope, etc.

If you have decided to go with a hybrid app, then you have to choose a hybrid framework.

The three most popular frameworks used to build hybrid apps are as follows:

React Native

React Native

React Native is is the best choice if your website is developed using React.JS.

It is a trending framework worldwide to develop hybrid apps. Moreover, you can migrate your website to the app quickly & effectively using React Native.

In the end, you will have an application that utilizes native components of your smartphone’s OS (native buttons, inputs, and other device features).

Some popular apps built with React Native are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tesla, Skype, and many more.

Now, we will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of this framework.

Pros of React Native

  • High development speed for React-based apps.
  • Web apps developed using React.Js can be easily converted into React Native by modifying some of the source code.
  • Big developers community enables you to get a feasible solution in a short time.
  • It provides a user experience like a native app.
  • Developers can share code on multiple platforms due to platform independence.
  • It is a cost-effective solution.

Cons of React Native

  • Less open-source solutions as it’s a comparatively new technology.
  • Not suitable for complex projects like mobile games or apps which need a high load.
  • Low performance as compared to a native app.

The performance of such an app is better than a website, which runs in a browser. If you are looking for a budget-friendly way to convert your website to a mobile app, then you should consider react native app development.

If you want to build an app on both platforms(Android & iOS). It is the best option to convert your website into an app.

Ionic

Ionic is an open-source SDK for developing hybrid mobile applications.It allows developers to build hybrid apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with a single codebase.

Ionic is originally built on top of Apache Cordova and AngularJS. To create attractive and fully functional apps, Ionic possesses a set of UI components and functions. But, you will require Cordova and Phonegap for Ionic to work efficiently.

Ionic

If you want to turn your website into an app with ease, then go for Ionic app development.

Some popular apps built on Ionic are as follows:

MarketWatch Pacifica Sworkit JustWatch

Now, we will walk you through the pros and cons of Ionic framework:

Pros of Ionic

  • Documentation is easy as most of the things are mentioned on the official website.
  • It works on UIWebView (iOS) or WebView (Android).
  • Develop mobile app UI functionalities effectively.
  • It is platform independent.
  • Ease of maintenance because of built-in browser instruments and debugging tools.
  • Developers can transform your Ionic app to desktop or PWA without any hassle.

Cons of Ionic

  • Performance issues due to high callbacks on native code.
  • The Ionic framework has to utilize various plugins to access native features.
  • It possesses security issues.
  • It is not suitable to develop high-end complex applications.

Flutter – Google’s Mobile UI Framework

Flutter is an open-source UI framework developed by Google. The first version of Flutter was released in 2018. It enables developers to build native-looking applications for Android and iOS platforms using a single codebase.

Flutter - Google's Mobile UI Framework

The framework is based on Dart, a well-known object-oriented programming language. It possesses a software development kit and UI widget library. The UI library consists of various elements that developers can use to build intuitive and user-friendly applications. If you want to develop a modern and cost-effective app, then go with Flutter.

Some of the most popular apps made using Flutter are as follows:

eBay Google Ads Insight Timer Grab Groupon

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this framework.

Pros of Flutter

  • Hot reload functionality in Flutter allows developers to integrate features, resolve errors, and experiment quickly.
  • It provides a layered architecture that offers complete customization.
  • It offers comprehensive documentation. Developers can easily get started with Flutter.
  • The framework possesses a massive community of developers worldwide.
  • Developers can not only build apps for mobile, but also for the web & desktop using a single codebase.

Cons of Flutter

  • It is comparatively new. Even though it offers various UI libraries and plugins, they are less compared to React Native and other popular cross-platform frameworks.
  • There are no proper guidelines to develop Flutter apps. Hence, it can be challenging to build high-end apps.
  • Dart language is immature compared to other languages like Kotlin and Java.
  • It lacks to provide a specific look and feel like the native apps.

Apart from these frameworks, you can also utilize various other popular hybrid frameworks to build hybrid mobile applications.

3. Native Apps

Using native app development, you can create an app for various operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry. However, an app developed using the native development approach will only work on a specific operating system.

Native App Development

To turn the website into an android app or develop a feature-rich android app based on the current market scenario, you can take the help of android app developers. They will be familiar with Java and Kotlin. They will look after all the things, such as design, development, testing, and deployment.

If you want to turn the website into an iPhone app, then you can reach out to the iPhone app developers.They are well-versed with Objective-C or Swift programming language. Hence, they can provide you the best iOS app as per the current market requirement.

Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of native apps:

Pros of Native Apps

  • Developers can utilize various modules and libraries for solving various development issues.
  • They offer high performance and best-in-class user experience.
  • They help you to provide better personalization to users.
  • You can provide better security and safety to the users through native apps.
  • They can access device capabilities like facial recognition, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

Cons of Native Apps

  • They take more development time.
  • They are pretty expensive compared to other options.
  • Developers have to spend a lot of time supporting and maintaining the app.

If you have made up your mind to convert a website to an app but are still confused about whether to go for native or hybrid apps , then read our guide on Native Vs. Hybrid App Development.

After understanding the types of apps you can convert your website to, we will walk you through different ways to convert website to app.

How Can You Convert a Website into an app?

There are generally four ways to convert a website into an app. We will discuss all of them along with their benefits and drawbacks. So, here we go:

Option 1: Code it Yourself

If you are a developer and know how to code, then you can code it yourself.

Code it Yourself

However, if you want to develop a complex application, then you may need a team. Further, it depends on your skills and app requirements.

Benefits

  • By coding it yourself, you save a lot of your money because you handle the entire app development process. You don’t have to give money to anyone.
  • You are already familiar with your website, and that’s why you can benefit from these things while starting an app project.
  • You are entirely handling the project, and hence you can make changes anytime during and after the app completion.

Drawbacks

  • If you are not familiar with frameworks, you need to learn many new things.
  • You would not be able to focus on other projects running in your business.
  • If you don’t closely track the things working in converting your website to an app, you might feel like revising them again & again.

Option 2: Hire a Freelancer

If you have a low-budget and want to develop a small application, you can go with a Freelancer.

Hire a Freelancer

But if you want to develop a complex app, you need a team. A freelancer can’t handle the entire project effectively.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a freelancer.

Benefits

  • You can save money by hiring a freelancer as you don’t have to provide them various compensations, etc.
  • You can hire specialized talent from leading platforms like Upwork, freelancer, etc., for your project needs.

Drawbacks

  • For hiring a freelancer, you need to invest a sufficient amount of time in research.
  • You need to verify all the skills, portfolio, and references given by the freelancer before hiring them. It will cost a lot of your time.
  • A freelancer might leave your work in the middle if they get a big project.
  • You can’t be sure about the quality of the work of a freelancer.
  • You need to constantly get in touch with the freelancer to ensure that they are working on time.
  • There is no guarantee about the quality of their work.

Option 3: Hire an App Development Agency

If you want to develop a feature-rich and reliable app, then you can hire an app development agency.

Hire an App Development Agency

Businesses of different sizes and industries outsource their work to an app development agency because it is more reliable & secure than a freelancer.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of hiring an app development agency.

Benefits

  • An agency has years of experience in a particular field, and hence they can deliver the best quality work.
  • They follow the best UI UX practices for building any mobile application.
  • They understand your business inside-out to create an app.
  • App development agencies are familiar with the latest tools and technologies working in the market.
  • You have complete control over the project.
  • They have accountability and transparency of the entire work done during the app development process.
  • Your internal team can focus on other essential tasks of your business.
  • You get continuous support from the app development agency.

Drawbacks

  • The cost of developing an app from an agency is higher compared to a freelancer. However, it is worth it.

If you want to develop a successful application, then you can go with an app development company.

Option 4: Use an App Builder

If you want to convert an entry-level website into an app, then you can go with an app builder. However, you can’t create any small, medium, or high-scale app using a builder. For the same, you require an app development agency.

An app builder is a platform that allows anyone to create apps without having a coding experience. They provide a drag and drop feature through which you can build an app effectively.

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of app builders.

Benefits

  • You don’t need any programming skills to develop a mobile app.
  • It is highly affordable for small businesses and startups.
  • Develop and launch your mobile app quickly.
  • It consists of ready-made architecture.
  • You can update your app anytime.

Drawbacks

  • You have limited features and functionalities.
  • The app built using an app builder has a template design.
  • It is hard to scale a mobile app built using an app builder.
  • There is no way you can edit the structure and the code.
  • In most cases, apps built using a builder are tied to a platform, and you can’t transfer them.
  • You can’t customize the app by adding any third-party services or tools.
  • It has less security, which increases the chances of the data leak.
  • There is a low possibility of an app getting accepted in the leading app stores.

After looking at the different ways to convert a website into an app, we will look at the most suitable method to convert any website into a mobile app.

What is the Best Way to Convert a Website into an App?

The best way to convert a website into a mobile application is to create an MVP app. It is a functional prototype that consists of only the core features of the app. Further, it is updated as per the requirements of the users.

What is the Best Way to Convert a Website into an App

By following this strategy, you can put your idea into reality without wasting more money. Here, you have to obtain constant feedback from users and engage with developers to improve functionalities.

Therefore, we believe that investing in an MVP will help you to develop a strong foundation for the further development process of the application.

Various leading companies worldwide adopted the MVP strategy for app development. Some big companies like Airbnb, Instagram, Uber, and many more. They have been created MVP and then updated regularly to become successful.

Implemented an MVP

Apart from that, it provides various benefits. Here we mention some of them.

  • It helps you to analyze the performance of the app.
  • You can check the demand for your app in the market.
  • It is the quickest way to obtain reviews from your target audience.
  • It increases your chances of getting an investment from the market.
  • You can test your mobile app idea without investing a lot of money.
  • It helps you to examine various security issues and resolve them effectively.
  • You can define an effective monetization strategy for your app and analyze whether users are willing to pay for it.

Crucial Elements to Consider When You Convert Website to Mobile Application

There are lot’s of best practices to design a mobile app. Here are some of the essential UI/UX elements you need to know for converting a website to a mobile app efficiently.

Complete focus on UX

When it comes to UX, a minimalist approach is best for mobile app development. Web pages consist of various buttons, blocks, etc. Implementing all these things in an app is challenging.

The primary purpose here is to be selective and to integrate only the key features. Hence, you should include few screens and provide exceptional quality to the users.

Simplicity

Interaction on a website is complicated sometimes. The mobile interface should consist of proper positioning of features and quick navigation.

Hamburger menu

The hamburger menu is the best example of a hidden menu. The main purpose of this menu is simple; it doesn’t hold a screen space until a user taps or swipes on it.

Hamburger menu

Tab bar is another popular navigation option that you must have used earlier. It’s placed on top or bottom of the screen and consists of some most basic navigation options.

Gesture-based navigation

Here, rather than menus and icons, you have to use different gestures to switch from one screen to another.

Gesture-based navigation

Instant Gratification

Users should get instant alerts when they perform any action. This helps to increase engagement. User’s don’t like anytime page loading time increases and the number of actions or screen increases.

Moreover, it is important that search bars have filters; this will help the user to find a particular product or item with ease. If the user wants more filters, they can switch to a desktop version.

Consistency

You must have a consistent theme on the entire app. If you integrate different kinds of elements in your mobile UI, then it looks very bad. Moreover, it creates a bad impression among the audience.

Hence, it is always better to consider one theme for your app and maintain it from start to finish.

Prevent Ambiguity

All the things in your app UI should be clean, without any chance of misinterpretations. You need to remove all the unnecessary things in your app UI and ensure that users can utilize the app hassle-free.

Conclusion

Here we conclude our detailed guide on how to convert your website into an app.

Initially, to convert a website into an app, you may have a low budget, and spending a lot of money may not be a suitable option for you. Hence, you can go with the MVP version.

Besides going with MVP, you also have an option to convert your website into a Progressive Web App. If you have enough budget and want to develop a quality app, there is no substitute for custom mobile app development.

However, if you are looking for a cost-effective option for custom app development, you can go with a hybrid application. At Guru TechnoLabs, a mobile app development company, we provide all kinds of mobile porting services that help your business move forward.

Moreover, we have converted many websites into mobile apps for clients worldwide. Hence, we can understand your business and develop the best application considering your budget and timeline.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru Technolabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.

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