Mobile phones are the lifelines for individuals in a world dominated by technology, where time is limited, and speed is a necessity. Small and portable, smartphones provide convenience in all areas of life. Everything is accessible via smartphones, from shopping to booking tickets, entertainment, and other businesses.
High user engagement is one of the reasons why companies are investing in mobile app development. Additionally, mobile apps offer access to global audience, improved visibility, open communication between the businesses and the users, and more.
It is not enough to have an online presence. You need a mobile presence to target active smartphone users. There are two ways to get closer to your target audience; responsive web design and intriguing mobile apps.
Responsive Web Design Vs. Mobile Apps
Responsive web design means an optimized website for mobile users. The process involves coding a desktop-optimized site to rearrange and resize depending on the device used, adding user-friendly navigation, and ensuring a faster loading speed. You can find some top web development companies with relevant experience.
Responsive web design is still fundamentally a website that offers better functionality and visual appeal for mobile users than its desktop version. But they do not provide the same user experience as an application.
Mobile apps are downloadable via app stores. They are native to the device they are built for, hence offer faster load time and operational speed. Additionally, mobile apps can function offline which allows users to open and use the application without an internet connection.
Responsive web design is not a replacement for native apps. If the purpose of turning a website into an app is to increase retention, revenue, and user engagement, then develop a mobile app.
Over the internet, you’ll find plenty of options showing you how to turn a website into an app. ‘Converter’ platform does the job in a few simple clicks, while other possibilities include hiring a development firm.
Without further ado, let’s dive in and explore your options to make a website into an app:
Using Converter Platforms
Converters offer simple drag and drop features to create custom mobile apps. It even has built-in templates for your use. The program works by gathering essential elements of your website and transferring them to the app that you can publish on the app stores.
An app created with converters is a washed down version of native apps specific for iOS and Android and does not offer the same quality of user experience. Converters are of two types:
- The first one creates a website wrapped in a WebView-wrapper within the app that makes it look and function like an official app. It is as if you opened a site via a mobile browser but modified it to look like an app.
- The second one is for websites developed using engines like WordPress, Shopify, or others. These engines have plugins that provide specific APIs that the converters integrate with built-in templates to turn a website into an app.
The apps created via converters hold no comparison to the custom apps built by developers through proper channels. But converter apps are cheaper and offer faster conversion than the months it would take a developer.
Here are some of the converters that you can use to convert a website to an app:
With simple drag-and-drop, BuildFire lets you create a custom app for your website. You can use your brand images, choose the color scheme, and integrate your blog with the app via the RSS feed. Furthermore, if you want to reward your users, you can add a point-based loyalty program.
Como is a converter best suited for small businesses. It offers features like reservations, scheduling, and user reviews. You can also add a blog and other content to the app, such as photos, videos, social sharing, and more.
It’s relatively new, but DWNLD packs an abundance of features that make it worth exploring. You can add all types of content, social feeds, media players, and more into your app. So far, it only offers robust solutions for iOS app development.
SwebApps is another converter platform that offers a unique set of features like lists and a calculator. You can organize the pages and data within the app via a drop-down list menu. It is useful if you want to provide your users with valuable resources offline. Additionally, a built-in calculator would help businesses of specific sectors like restaurant chains, real estate agencies, and more, keep track of the money.
If you don’t want to build an app from scratch, Onbile has a collection of ready-made templates that you can customize and turn your website to an app. Each one is well-designed and offers basic app functionality.
Mobiloud is the second type of converter for WordPress sites. It lets you create an app via a WordPress plugin that keeps your app updated with your website.
Before you make your decision, here are some cons to consider:
- Many converters only work with websites built with JS, HTML, and CSS. In such cases, you would need to create the app from scratch. It will increase development time and cost and still, you won’t get a fully-functional app.
- Apps built with converters cannot match native apps in performance, user experience, and user-friendly interface.
- Some converters do not support the built-in features of a mobile device.
- Converters have a limited assortment of features.
- You cannot scale up your converter app into a high-grade product. If you want to integrate more features, you would need to build it again from the start with a team of experts.
Hiring an App Development Company
Hiring an app development company is the right choice if you want more functionality in your app. You can get other features integrated with the mobile app like chatbots for direct communication with your users.
Here are a few more reasons to help in understanding how a native app will be better than a converter app:
- Native apps are built with native APIs, unlike apps wrapped in WebView-wrapper or other templates. They integrate naturally with the device’s OS, offering smooth performance and flawless UX.
- With a native app, you can add custom features along with the built-in characteristics of a template.
- You have the freedom to customize your app to give it a unique look as opposed to the thousands of similar apps built with the same converter platform.
- A native app operates and loads faster, which enhances its usability and helps in retaining the target audience.
- Native app development processes offer you the flexibility to make alterations to the app design at any stage of development.
Besides developing a native app for your site, a mobile app development agency can guide you better on how to turn a website into an app. Here’s what it will tell you:
- First Create an MVP
An MVP is a functional prototype with the bare minimum features of a fully-fledged mobile app. It incorporates only those attributes that are fundamental to the app function and the UI/UX of the design. Over time, you can add more features to improve the design and user experience.
Designing an MVP before launching a fully-functional app will provide user feedback on your app idea. You can analyze the users’ reactions and work with the developers to make relevant modifications and improvements without wasting time, effort, and money.
- Decide on the App Design
The app design needs to adhere to the mobile UX if you want your users to enjoy the experience. It means that consistency, simplicity, and gesture-based navigation are must-have aspects for your app.
Pick only the fundamental features of your website to add in the app design and provide the same value with just a few screens. The simplicity of the application will enhance its usability. It will also keep the load time low, improving the user experience. Additionally, if your user wants more features, then they can open the website on the desktop.
- Platform to Target
Mobile apps have significant advantages over websites and web apps. They have the flexibility to integrate with the device’s OS and use its services and hardware. But Android and iOS platforms have distinct requirements.
iOS platform has fewer fragmentation issues, while Android has a more straightforward UI. iOS apps have a strict guideline to follow, whereas Android offers more flexibility and freedom of design.
Additionally, you have the option to turn your website into a native app, specific to one platform, or a hybrid app for multiple platforms. With native apps, you can target a particular group of users, but a hybrid app gives you access to both iOS and Android users.
Convert Your Website into a User-Centered Mobile App!
A successful application would work efficiently regardless of platform type. It should offer value, solve a problem, and convenience to users. All these qualities combined will ensure your app is a profitable channel for your business.
The development team you choose will follow the necessary steps to turn your website into an app. They will guide you through the processes and keep you in the loop during development. You might want to trust some top fintech software development companies for your project.
So, are you ready to join the mobile app market? Share your idea with our app experts, and we’ll help you find success with your first app!