How to turn a website into an app?
In this smartphone era, a majority of people love to spend their time on a mobile platform, whether it’s shopping, entertainment, bill payment, or social media. Apart from that various popular brands such as Airbnb, Zillow, Dropbox, Google Docs, Starbucks, etc. have initially released a website and then launched their mobile application.
Why these firms have followed this approach?
Because the statistics reveal that mobile apps are used more as compared to web apps:
- 87% of users love to spend time on the apps, while just 13% spend time on the web.
- Mobile Apps are expected to hit $188.9 billion revenue in 2020.
- After shopping on a website, 42% of consumers use a shopping app or a communication app.
- 83% of B2B marketers demand that mobile apps are an essential part of content marketing.
- Retail apps conversation rate is 120% higher as compared to the website.
Are you still confused about whether you want to convert your website to an app or not? Then, here we will provide a list of essential reasons for the same.
7 Important Reasons to Turn Website into App
1. Smartphones are the present as well as the future of technology
By 2020, there will be more than 6 billion smartphone users. This clearly indicates that 70% of the world’s projected population will be using smartphones. Here, we haven’t considered tablet users.
From alarm to tracking your fitness and from scheduling your tasks to reading news and paying bills, all these things can be done on a smartphone on a specific app.
2. Reliability across multiple screen sizes
One of the main reasons to convert website to the mobile app is due to reliability on different screen sizes. Apps are adequately optimized and hence they can be accessed easily 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.
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
This will 2X your visibility and help you to expand your audience.
Therefore, you should convert your website to an android app or convert the website into the iPhone app depending on the user’s mobile useability.
The majority of apps are purchased and downloaded by users either from Play Store or from the App Store. Therefore, deploying your app on any platform will help you to increase brand awareness.
As soon as the app is downloaded, it becomes a part of the user’s 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.
Also Read: Why invest in mobile apps?
Using mobile apps, businesses and industries will be able to send push notifications, notify customers about the critical updates, upcoming offers, and deals. Hence, this will ultimately help to improve the user’s interaction with the company.
5. An App sets you apart from your competitors
Apps become popular in the smartphone era, while websites are well-known from the beginning.
Having a mobile app for your business will create a positive image in the eyes of the target audience, as it indicates that the company has made investments to provide better user experience.
Secondly, studies have shown that millennials love to purchase from the company which uses the latest technology and provide 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 on the website is hard 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 of the mobile app development companies follow a standard process. Moreover, they will design every page with the utmost care so that users don’t find any issues while accessing it.
One issue which users don’t like is wasting their time to access any website on the 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, then there is not any requirement to convert it into an app? Is it so?
We will provide a complete difference between Mobile Apps vs. Responsive Web Design.
Mobile Apps Vs. Responsive web design
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, and orientation, broader reach, etc.
When compared with responsive web design, mobile apps have faster & better user-experience, hence they provide better performance. Also, they work without any need for internet connection and helps to increase engagement via push notifications.
Moreover, they have access to mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS, device libraries, and GPS functions. If your app’s primary purpose is to provide a personalized experience, then you can achieve this through native app development as it can be accessed in most of the scenarios.
Mobile apps main purpose is convenience and user-experience. In order 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!
From the above image, you can observe that responsible web design is a good choice; however, it doesn’t replace the mobile app. Responsible design works when you just 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.
However, if you are presenting a new product for your targeting audience for better engagement and to increase revenue via mobile sales and retargeting, we suggest you learn how to turn your website into an app or hire a team of dedicated app developers.
Apart from this, various users are looking for quick ways to convert their website into an app.
Is it okay to convert my website using an online converter?
Internet is full of offers like “turn a website into an app with a few clicks.” The various business owner also believes that it is the best solution to convert a website to a mobile app using a converter.
Yes, this kind of services exist. However, we can divide it into two types for delivering exact information.
1. It places website into WebView-wrapper
Using this method, your website is opened in a browser and somewhat changed to look like an app.
If you have used this method, then you know that it makes your website’s UX horrible.
2. It converts website using popular engines like WordPress & WooCommerce
Developers of these sites have build plugins for such engines, which first provide an API and then they possess a template to integrate that API.
Using this method, you will not be able to add new features to the app because it has a fixed template.
Hence, to get away with all these issues, we recommend you to build a customized app. You can convert your website into a mobile app using 3 methods given below.
3 Ways to convert a website into a mobile app
List of different ways on how to turn a website into an app is given below:
1. Progressive Web Apps
This is basically a new technology developed by Google, which allows mobile devices to add a website or web application to a phone’s screen and then access it easily.
In order to convert 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 which enables the site to work offline and load faster and lastly, allow to send push notifications.
Keep in mind that 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.
- Enable push notifications
- Apps can work in offline mode
- They are reliable and provide silky-smooth animations
- PWAs helps to rank better in search engines
- It is basically a browser wrapper. It’s not a fully-functional app, this technically means it’s a website
- Users don’t get a native app experience because UI contains a fullscreen browser without a URL that works offline
- Not compatible with iPhone and iPads
2. Hybrid Mobile App Development
A hybrid app is mainly a single app build for different platforms. Here, one app will be able to fulfill the requirement on various operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry.
In short, hybrid mobile development is mainly a combination of native app and web applications. The two most popular frameworks which can be used to build hybrid apps are given below.
React Native is is the best choice if your website is developed using React.JS.
It is currently the trendy technology to develop hybrid mobile apps and migration from the current app can be done easily using this technology.
Hence, you will receive an application that utilizes native components of your smartphone’s OS (native buttons, inputs, and other device features).
The performance of such kind of app is better as compared to a website, which runs in a browser. If you are looking for a budget-friendly way to convert your website to the mobile app, then you should consider react native app development.
Some popular apps built with React Native are as follows:
- High development speed for React-based apps
- Web app 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
- Provides native user experience
- As code is independent of platforms (iOS and Android). It can be used on both platforms.
- Cost-effective solution
- Less open-source solutions as it’s 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
Ionic is an open-source SDK for developing hybrid mobile applications. It helps to develop apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScrip with a single and reusable 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.
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:
- 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 simply and effectively.
- It is Platform independent
- Ease of maintenance because of built-in browser instruments and debugging tools
- Allows you to transform your Ionic app into a desktop or PWA
- Performance issues due to high callbacks on native code
- They can access every native feature of device like camera, gyroscope, but by using native plugins
- Security Issues
- Not suitable to develop high-end complex applications
Apart from these, there are other popular frameworks which can be used to build hybrid apps. List is given below.
- Adobe Phonegap/ Apache Cordova
- Cordova SDK
- JQuery Mobile
To know more in detail about these frameworks, read our guide on Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Frameworks.
3. Native App Development
Native app development allows you to create an app for various systems such as Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry. However, an app developed using the native platform will only work on a specific operating system.
If your web application is developed, then you only have to develop mobile clients for both Android mobile apps and iOS mobile app. Here, it will be connected to the same backend where your web client is.
In order to turn the website to 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 of the app such as design, development, testing, and deployment.
If you want to turn the website into an iPhone app or build a fully-functional iOS app, then you can take the help of iPhone app developers. They will be well-versed with Objective-C or Swift programming language. They will provide you the best iOS app as per the current market requirement.
- Contains various modules and libraries for solving various development issues
- High performance and awesome user experience
- Provides better safety and security
- Better positioning on the specific app stores
- More development time
Now if you have made up your mind to convert website to app but still confused about whether to choose Native or Hybrid app development, then read our guide on Native App Development Vs. Hybrid App Development.
Also, you have to keep in mind that users have a different behavioral pattern on website and mobile. What strategy should a developer keep in mind while converting a website to the app? A list of all these factors is given below.
What is the best strategy to convert a website to a mobile app?
1. Develop an MVP
First and foremost, you should develop an MVP of your product. It’s basically a functional prototype that only consists of only core features and then later updated as per the requirement of the user.
By applying this idea, you will be able to 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.
There are various benefits of MVP
- Focuses on the core ideas of app
- Gives targeted users an early testing opportunity
- Allow market validation
- Saves development time
Therefore, we believe that investing in an MVP will help you to develop a strong foundation for the further development process of the application.
If you want to turn your website into an app properly, you should look after all the aspects of UI.
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 main purpose here is to be selective and to integrate only the key features. The best idea here is to only have a few screens and provide exceptional quality to the users.
Interaction on a website is complicated sometimes. The mobile interface should consist of proper positioning of features and quick navigation.
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.
- Saves a lot of space
- Easily recognizable
- Enables you to hold various navigation options
- Makes page less important
- Low engagement as the user has to perform one more action to open menu
- Located out of the thumb-friendly zone, therefore it is difficult to reach
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.
- Tab bar is located in the thumb-friendly zone, therefore it’s easy to reach
- It’s in user’s view sight, therefore works in most of the cases
- Navigate with just a single tap
- Best when your app needs a lot of menu interactions
- Hides content
- Holds limited options (max up to 5)
- It’s always visible, so you have to understand how it matches with other screens
- Difficult to interpret what’s behind them
Here, rather than menus and icons, you have to use different gestures to switch from one screen to another.
- Saves spaces by which you will be able to add more valuable content
- They are intentional hence the user will understand just by launching the app
- Helps to build for an immersive experience
- Maybe confusing for various uses
- Some gestures need more user effort like shaking or rotating a device
- App interface in the app’s navigation system
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 a number of actions or screen increases.
Moreover, it is important that search bar to 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.
3. Mobile Platform
While developing an app, we need to be confident enough that it should work on all the screens and platforms such as Android or iOS. Both the system have their own differences.
Android’s market share 76.24%, while iOS market share is just 22.48% as of September 2019. Android has fewer UI requirements, while iOS has fewer fragmentation.
Mobile has a lot of benefits as compared to websites. They have access to the device’s services and hardware. Using the device’s GPS, camera, gyroscope, etc, we can identify its location, position and motion and more.
Investing time and money into developing a new product might seem risky; therefore we recommend you to convert your website into an app from a professional web & app development company. They have experience in both web and mobile app.
In a highly competitive market, it is very important that your application is ease-to-use, solves the problem, adds value in the life of users, engage, and gain user’s attention.
By providing this opportunity to a highly dedicated team, you will be able to scale up your business and reach potential customers.