How to Turn a Website into an App (using a WordPress Plugin)

Nile Flores

WordPress Expert ··WordPress

How to Turn a Website into an App (using  a WordPress Plugin)

Years ago, the concept of making a mobile responsive site, or turning a website into an app had been thought of. However, as mobile phone usage has increased and online shopping market size is expected to reach 4 trillion by 2023, this has become a requirement for many businesses. In this article you’ll learn why you should consider creating a mobile app for your WordPress site, the difference between responsive versus mobile app, and some WordPress plugins to achieve it.

Why Create a Mobile App for Your WordPress Site?


Mobile apps provide a better user experience, while you can control what specific content you want delivered to customers. The purpose of doing this is to increase engagement and website conversion - in other words, getting people to buy your stuff, especially if you run an ecommerce site. It’s just smart business to consider a mobile app for your website, as 83.72% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, and a lot of people are on the go, so more than likely, they are using their phone over tablet, laptop, or desktop PC.

Sure, you can forgo building a mobile app for your website, and solely rely on your WordPress theme’s responsive design, but unless you do a lot of customization, it will not perform as well as a mobile app.

Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Websites vs. Apps


You’ve probably heard or read that you need to have a responsive and mobile-friendly website, and perhaps have already built one. However, that is different from a mobile app. In simple terms, a responsive, mobile-friendly website is a desktop version of your site that is optimized for smaller devices, like a tablet, laptop, and different browser widths for desktop computers. Mobile-friendly websites are accessed via web browser, and require an internet connection.

As for mobile apps, you can offer a more streamlined experience using the same content you use on your website, but you can offer other dynamic features for users to interact with. A really easy example is Google Maps. The mobile app allows you to view and download maps offline, and even do other things like save your search and mark locations as favorites.

Because mobile apps offer a streamlined experience, they are often faster loading than a responsive, mobile-friendly website. You can also offer push notifications to offer updates to your users.

WordPress Plugins to help turn your site into a Mobile App


Here are some WordPress plugins that can help you turn your site into a mobile app:

  • Appilix
  • AppMySite
  • Appresser
  • Appful.io
  • MobiLoud

Please note that all of these options are paid options. However, the cost of paying to turn your mobile app with any of these plugins and services, costs far less than hiring a developer that specializes in this area. Also, most of these plugins require you to have a paid account in order to effectively use the plugin, as it is there to sync your site with your mobile app service. Lastly, the majority of the paid packages offered by each of these companies do help you with submitting your mobile app application, unless specified in their price table.

Appilix

appilix

Appilix says you can get your mobile site converted into an app in less than 5 minutes, and they have a free plan. However, you’re better off paying at least $25 per year, so you get more features and don’t have to display Appilix’s branding on your mobile app.

You can download the Appilix WordPress plugin here.

AppMySite

appmysite

AppMySite offers a free plan to just check out what they can do, but if you want to be able to submit your mobile app to both Android and Apple, you will need to choose their Pro package at $39/month.

You can download the AppMySite WordPress plugin here.

Appresser

appresser

Appresser is geared to work well with WordPress, as the company is run by well known WordPress contributors. Plans start at $79/month.

You can download the Appresser WordPress plugin here.

Appful.io

appfulio

Appful.io has a trial version that you can check try out the service, and their pricing model starts at $109 per month.

You can download the Appful.io WordPress plugin here.

MobiLoud

mobiloud

MobiLoud offers a free demo to check out what they can do for you. If you like their service, then their smallest package is $200 per month.

You can download the MobiLoud WordPress plugin here.

How to Turn a Website into an App using a WordPress Plugin

Because there are a few mobile app services, the steps listed below are pretty much the same from one company to the next. There aren’t a lot of steps, but it’s important that when filling out the title, description and other information about your app, that it’s thorough. It will help get your app approved.

  • Step 1. Sign up for a mobile app service.
  • Step 2. Install the WordPress plugin and sign into your mobile app service.
  • Step 3. Follow the instructions of the app on filling out the details for the mobile app you will submit to Apple or Google or other app download services.
  • Step 4. Customize your content and design with the app wizard that the mobile app service provides.
  • Step 5. Test your app.
  • Step 6. Submit your app.

Step 1. Sign up for a mobile app service.

Before you can even start anywhere, you’re going to want to choose a mobile app service and pay for a plan. Some do offer a free demo or trial version, but if they don’t expect to pay a subscription fee, whether yearly or monthly.

Step 2. Install the WordPress plugin and sign into your mobile app service.

All of the mobile app services in this article have an associated plugin. Unless instructed otherwise, install and activate the plugin. You may be prompted to sign into the mobile app service from the admin area of your WordPress website.

Step 3. Follow the instructions of the app on filling out the details for the mobile app you will submit to Apple or Android services.

You will need to tell Android and Apple the name and description of your app, as well as what category or industry it falls under. You may even be asked to provide some keywords. Make sure to keep the keywords related to the app, as those will eventually help people find it on Android or Apple download stores.

Step 4. Customize your content and design with the app wizard that the mobile app service provides.

Design and customize the look of your app. Make sure to focus on adding areas of interest to get your visitors to interact. For example, if you want them to buy a specific service or item, make sure it can easily be seen in a prominent place on the app.

Step 5. Test your app.

Once you’ve gotten the design done and you seem satisfied with it, you should always test your app. You will use the instructions of your mobile app builder to check on your phone. When you’re happy that everything works like it should, then it’s time for the next step.

Step 6. Submit your app.

When you’re ready, if your paid plan with the mobile app builder service includes submitting your app’s application to Android or Apple, then follow their instructions. When your app is approved, you will get a notice.

In Summary

Turning a website into an app is easier than ever, and may be less expensive than hiring a developer. Sure, you could hire one for less using the mobile app builder services out there on the internet too. However, the biggest takeaway of this article is that you probably should consider turning your WordPress website into an app, especially if you’re selling and services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should use WordPress hosting?

First of all - people using CMS WordPress

How do I keep WordPress plug-ins up to date?

In most cases, your plug-ins will scan for updates automatically, but it’s always worth logging into your dashboard on a regular basis and performing a manual scan. This can usually be done in just a few clicks.

Do I need to know how to code in order to use WordPress?

There isn’t a need for advanced coding knowledge to use WordPress. The platform offers plenty of plugins and themes which you can use to customize your website.

How do I transfer my WordPress site for free?

There are many WordPress Migration plugins that are free, including WP Staging, Duplicator, All-in-One Migration, WPvivid Backup, Migrate Guru, and many more.

Nile Flores
About the Author
Nile Flores

Nile Flores is a long time professional blogger, as well as WordPress website designer and developer from the St. Louis Metro East. Nile blogs at Blondish.net, where she’s passionate about helping website owners, whether they’re small business owners or bloggers. She teaches about Blogging, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design, and WordPress. Additionally, Nile loves to speak at WordCamps (WordPress conferences) across the United States. When Nile isn’t knee-deep in coding, she’s a proud mom of a college student, and enjoys oil painting, cigar smoking, nail art design, and practicing traditional Okinawan kempo karate.

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