Even if your WordPress website is mobile-first and responsive, you could still be missing out on a huge chunk of traffic by not offering your visitors a mobile app, and the smooth user experience that comes with it. The only problem is that it’s incredibly difficult (and expensive) to build a native mobile app from scratch.
Thankfully, there are a number of high-end plugin solutions that can help you turn your existing WordPress website into a fully functional mobile app at a fraction of the cost.
In this post, we’ll run the rule over some of the best plugins to help you turn your WordPress website into a mobile app. But before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at how you can determine whether you need a mobile app for your site and whether or not your site is mobile app ready.
Does Your WordPress Website Need a Mobile App?
The customizable and refined user experience that apps offer has greatly influenced the recent upsurge in mobile traffic. And while having a responsive website that’s optimized for all kinds of devices is enough for some, others may be better off with a mobile app.
That said, not every business needs a mobile app; especially if interacting with it won’t improve your customers’ experience with your brand. However, if your online business will benefit from allowing your visitors to access it offline or store data locally then you might consider developing a native mobile app.
Those of you who are running businesses where it makes sense to have a mobile app need to first make sure your site is mobile app ready before you scramble to find a way to build one. This means that, at the very least, your WordPress website should be mobile-friendly and responsive to help you understand which bits of functionality you’ll need to translate to your app, and which to leave out. In addition to this, it’s also a good idea to take a step back and study your site’s analytics—mainly the metrics that offer insight into your audience’s behavior and the devices they use to access your site.
Once you’ve ticked all these boxes off your list and are ready to jump on the mobile app bandwagon, you’ll presumably want a low-cost solution to help you get there.
4 Plugins to Turn Your WordPress Website Into a Mobile App
If you’ve been thinking of turning your site into an app for some time now then you probably already know how much it costs to have one built from scratch. And, of course, there’s always the lurking fear that your app won’t take off.
The good news is that there are a number of WordPress plugins out there that allow you to dip your toe in the mobile app waters without breaking the bank. In this section, we’ll take a look at four of the best plugins to help you turn your WordPress website into a mobile app and highlight their standout features.
MobiLoud is a mobile app service that takes your WordPress website and turns it into a native mobile app without requiring you to do anything. As of this writing, the service offers two different solutions to their customers: MobiLoud News and MobiLoud Canvas.
MobiLoud News is designed specifically for blogs and news websites whereas MobiLoud Canvas lets you turn all kinds of websites (community, e-commerce, directory, conference, event, and more) into native mobile apps for both the Android and iOS platforms.
The key benefit you get with MobiLoud is that you can instantly publish your app to your own Google Play or AppStore account and even charge for downloads if you’d like.
- Build a native Android and iOS app.
- Compatible with BuddyPress and WooCommerce.
- Allows you to enable rich push notifications and leverage mobile advertising.
Price: Starting at $69 per month
AppPresser is a hybrid mobile app solution that allows users to build Android and iOS apps from their WordPress websites. Unlike MobiLoud, AppPresser is built on top of WordPress and Phonegap (an open-source framework) which means that it creates an additional layer.
If you’re a developer then you’ll feel right at home with the extensive customization options that go into creating a mobile app from scratch with AppPresser. However, if you’re not particularly technically inclined, you may have difficulty getting started.
With AppPresser, you can create an app from just about any WordPress website such as school apps, event and conference apps, WooCommerce apps, and BuddyPress apps.
- Powerful visual app builder with side/tab menus.
- Comes with custom extensions for WordPress that allow users to enable camera, geolocation, Facebook login, etc.
- Makes it easy for users to setup push notifications.
Price: Starting at $19 per month
Web2App is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to turn your mobile-responsive website into a full, native application. It comes with a wide-range of features that you can use to improve your app’s user experience including push notifications, analytics, splash screen, and pull-to-refresh.
The standout feature on offer with Web2App is that you can turn your WordPress website into a functional app in four simple steps—without having to code a single line. In addition to this, its built-in tabs and drawer feature lets you add as many pages as you’d like and customize them with color and display options, loading bar styles, and tabs.
Web2App is compatible with Admob allowing you to monetize your app from the get-go. In addition to this, you also get access to its rich documentation and series of video tutorials from the user panel to help you get started.
- Comes with push notifications and pull-to-refresh functionality.
- Tons of customization options and editable templates.
- Allows you to display a splash screen and rate my app dialog boxes.
Wapppress is a premium lightweight plugin that is designed to help you turn your WordPress website into a simple yet functional mobile app. Compared to the other solutions in this roundup; Wapppress doesn’t pack an extensive list of features. That said, it does offer support for e-commerce sites and allows users to enable push notifications and auto updating.
The Wapppress plugin works by taking your site and converting it into a simple, classic mobile app layout. While it may not be the best choice for online store owners, it offers enough functionality for content-based sites like news sites and blogs to get started in the mobile app space.
- Simple, three-step app creation process.
- Allows you to enable push notifications and auto updating.
- Makes it easy for users to add custom functionality and third-party scripts.
There are a number of ways your business could benefit from having a mobile app. However, the heavy cost and time concerns linked with native mobile app development have made it difficult for small business owners to explore this ever-growing digital channel.
We looked at some plugin solutions that are designed to help you turn your existing WordPress website into a mobile app and, hopefully, you’re in a good position now to take things further yourself.