Toolbox: your website way to mobile app

We won’t tell you how many people are using their smartphones for interacting with your business. To be honest, developing a mobile app is not profitable for all companies with a website. In the material, we set examples when it is unconditionally necessary and when it is better to use alternatives to reach customers through smartphones. 

Ways to turn your website into a mobile app

1. Responsive web design. Start with a mobile-friendly website — it is a must for any company with rare exceptions. It means that the website is optimized for mobile devices with different screen resolutions. 

2. Progressive Web App (PWA). The technology allows mobile devices to add a website or web application to their home screen and be able to interact with it offline. The app created through this method is a website, but it works as an app. 

PWA has features like push notification, offline support, and others. 

If you want to turn a regular web app into a progressive web app, just add a home screen icon, a manifest file that will allow the site to work offline and load faster, and let a service worker send push notifications.

When You Should Build PWA: if you don’t have a budget for developing a fully functional mobile application, it could be worth your time.

3. Web to App Converter. There are plenty of paid platforms that can help you turn your website into a mobile application in 1 day. All you have to do is provide your website URL and some important information to the converter website. Either they do it by themselves or you will have an access to pre-made templates to build your app by using a simple drag and drop feature. 

It is the fastest and cheapest technique to convert a website into an app: you can find solutions from $30 to $2000. The cost depends on time and features. Examples of the fastest and reliable platforms of this kind are:

  • BuildFire — some of the features that you can add to your app with a simple drag-and-drop action. You are able to use your brand images and brand colors. You can add your loyalty program with a “loyalty” feature or set up a blog and add an RSS feed.
  • Como — besides converting your website to app, it provides you with digital marketing tools to find innovative ways to put your data to use. The product offers features such as reservations, scheduling, blog feed, and many others. So, this is an appropriate solution for small businesses.

App Store and Google play store in their guidelines clearly mentioned that mobile apps built from the app converter and low-quality clone apps will not be accepted by them. 

With such converters or app builders, businesses only get a limited range of features. And nobody is talking about scalability.

4. Apache Cordova (hybrid mobile development).  

The framework enables developers to convert websites into apps by using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Such applications work in a built-in browser environment (WebView) on different mobile platforms (Android, iOS). They come with an icon that exists on the home screen and are able to interact with device hardware features (geolocation, camera, etc).

The app created with this technique is not as smooth as the one built from scratch. 

Besides Cordova, some other popular frameworks to consider are Ionic and PhoneGap.

Ionic Framework is an open-source software development kit for creating a hybrid mobile application.  Developers need to copy some code from the website and add it to their existing applications. The app is easy to maintain with the built-in browser and debugging tools.

5. React Native (hybrid mobile development). If your website is developed using the React.js web framework, then you can convert into a React Native mobile application with effortless ease.

You get mobile applications that use native components of your smartphone’s OS, which leads to fast loading and good performance. The source code turns into a mobile app instead of running in a web browser window, so it’s more secure than apps written for web browsers.

By converting your website to React Native mobile application, you are able to provide the best experience to your mobile user.

When to build with React Native: It’s a good option if your application doesn’t need to maintain multiple real-time connections with the server or perform complex computations. 

6. Native app development. Developing native apps is the best choice in terms of performance, security, user experience and engagement, scalability, and product quality but it is also the most expensive one. If you have a web application already, you’ll only need to build mobile clients for Android and iOS that will be connected to the same backend as your web client.  The backend may still need minor changes, but this shouldn’t take much time.

Often you’ll need at least 2 developers involved – a developer working on the iPhone app using Objective-C or Swift programming languages, and another developer on the Android app with knowledge of Java or Kotlin, which explains why the development way is the most expensive. This enables you to build your first version of the app for only one platform, and consider adding another platform later.

Much like the technologies themselves, open-source communities have been in existence for a long time. This yields many modular solutions and allows developers to efficiently solve almost any app problems.

When you should build Native App: Your product or service is a mobile app and you need to maintain multiple real-time connections with the server or perform complex computations.

Сompanies that really benefit from a native mobile application 

About 51% of US users download 0 apps in a month. To download an app users should have a real need.  And just because people download your app doesn’t mean they will continue to use it in the future. In most app categories user retention in a month does not exceed 13% and in usually — about 3-4%. One more factor is many people search for businesses on their mobile browsers, not the App Store.

So you should think twice before going into mobile app development because prices are calculated in tens of thousands of dollars. 

Signs that you need to develop a custom mobile application: 

1. You have considerable brand recognition. 

2. Your app has a certain purpose that is impossible to realize just by using the mobile web version.

3. The app is not a mobile version of the website.

4. The company’s product/service is the app.

5. You know what will be the daily interactions with your website from the user perspective. If in your business those interactions are finite, a mobile application may not receive much use and could be more of a headache than help. 

6. Your team does not interact with customers face-to-face. Companies that uniquely interact with people face-to-face, such as a neighborhood produce store, may not need a mobile application. 

7. Your end-users context when they need your app implies using a smartphone for the task. Let’s say a fitness app — it is not always comfortable to exercise with your laptop in your hands 😂.  If the users are predominantly on their desktops and require larger screens for complex information and functions, then mobile apps would be good to have but not necessary.

8. You can’t solve the problem in another way but through a mobile app. 

9. Your customers communicate daily with your business. 

10. Your product is enhanced by an app. For instance, if you sell a recurring subscription product and an app might be useful to help people track orders and purchase additional items.

11. The app plays a great role in customer engagement and retention. When a mobile website is not enough. 

12. To use your service your customers need to log in.

What is the point of having a mobile app if your main purpose in doing so is simply to allow access from mobile devices? Your website, once properly mobile-enabled, may be sufficient.

A mobile app is usually a must-have for the industries:

  • E-commerce and delivery: An app helps users easily choose and order goods, track their orders, find nearby shops on the map, chat with shop a consultant, etc. 
  • Ridesharing: This is best for companies who give their vehicles to clients on short-term rental basis like cars, bikes, trucks, boats, etc. So they can find, unlock and pay rent using an app. 
  • Tourism:  It is comfortable to order flights and apartments also through a mobile app. 

By watching videos, looking at pictures, reading reviews from other tourists, and using this information to make finer decisions and arrangements, users can understand whether they like the location.

  • Education: Users will listen to lectures and complete tasks through a mobile app.
  • Healthcare:  Mobile apps allow doctors to have a co-operative relationship with their patients, access to insurance, and expand patient medical knowledge, as well as doctors on demand.
  • Fitness: An app would include the ability to book an appointment with a trainer or a class. You can post instructional videos and help people track their progress in taking care of themselves while dieting. 
  • Finance apps. Activities like paying fines, paying bills, checking account status, getting insurance quotes, transferring money,  and much more can be done smoothly through mobile apps.
  • Entertainment industry.  Mobile apps use a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for audiences to hear the news, watch cricket scores, and listen to music anytime. For sure, it is as well related to games. 
If you are still here, read our entertainment mobile app case😅 We developed Android and iOS mobile apps, web application. The company’s market value grew 10-fold between July 2020 and January 2021. During the first month after the fundraising, Raters MAU has organically increased by 363.5%.

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