With constantly evolving technology, the dynamics of doing business have changed considerably.

Studies have shown that 80% of shoppers use a smartphone to look up store, product, and service information online. The number of smartphone users is set to increase to 3.8 billion worldwide in 2021.

This means that more and more users prefer using a mobile device for online shopping. While having a digital presence is imperative, building your business around a responsive website is no longer going to cut it.

Mobile Apps are much more user-friendly, have integrated features, and offer far more value in terms of customer loyalty and brand management.

Indeed, when it comes to deciding between having a website or having an app, creating a native app is usually the obvious choice. Apps account for 89% of the total media time a user spends on their smartphones. This is mainly because responsive websites accessed through mobile devices do not provide the same level of functionality as a mobile app.

The mobile app development industry is already making its mark in the digital sector.

The time is ripe to convert your website into an app.

If you are still not convinced, this guide will explore how to make a website an app and 7 reasons why you should definitely convert your site to app.

converting a Website to an app

Source: Pickaweb

7 Reasons Why Should you Convert Your Website to App

Here are some of the most obvious reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on the app development trend:

1. Greater Mobility and Ease of Use

A mobile app provides far greater mobility to a user than a responsive website. Studies have shown that only 11% of mobile users spend time on mobile web browsing.

From getting news to tracking fitness, everything has gone mobile, and it is easy to understand why.

Mobile Apps have eliminated the need for users to remember your web address. Now they no longer need to search or type in a URL into a browser.

Moreover, accessing information through apps is 1.5 times faster than through websites.

This is because user data is stored locally on the app itself, as compared to website data that are stored on servers. Another major reason is that apps offer much faster response speeds as compared to websites.

2. Enhanced Customer Engagement

When you opt for mobile app development, you are giving a better option to your customers to engage with your brand.

Let me explain how.

A mobile app offers a more interactive experience to your customers. With just a few clicks, users can access required information swiftly.

Gone are the days of failed email-marketing techniques.

Now your users can receive instant updates on promotions, product launches, and offers. Use push notifications and in-app notifications to broadcast important information unobtrusively.

With attractive coupons and deals, you can even increase brand loyalty within your user base.

A customer will rarely visit a website regularly. On the other hand, a mobile app is a constant presence on the screen. This makes for far greater brand awareness than offered by any other traditional marketing tools.

3. Integrated Functionalities

When you convert a website into an app, you can immediately start integrating extra features on the device.

Your app can let customers use GPS to automatically track location and match it with your service areas. Integration with maps can help your customer locate your physical store.

Mobile cameras can help users scan and search for a particular product. They can even upload images of defective products to resolve customer-service issues. Support of face and fingerprint detection can help with quick credential authorization and one-click purchase.

Social media integrations within the app allow for easy sharing of viral content.

This also pushes your digital marketing activities to a whole new level. It can extend your app’s reach and boost conversions while developing your brand story in exciting ways.

4. Better Conversion Rates

A mobile app guarantees 157% greater conversion rate than a mobile-responsive website.

With greater personalization and enhanced user targeting, the conversion process is much quicker. Also, with an app, there is a lot more opportunity for customer engagement and brand building.

The diverse functionalities make it easier to target bargain-hunters, need-based customers, and returning users.

5. Better Customization

When users can connect with a brand personality, it creates a deeper bond and customer loyalty.

Mobile apps can offer enhanced personalization specific to the user’s preference. It helps you track in-app user activity and offer filtered recommendations based on that.

An app also requires personal sign-in by users.

Needless to say, this has a great impact on generating leads. With integrated sign-in features, you can even generate user data across the web. This will help you create targeted ads customized to specific preferences or locations.

Using an A/B testing tool you can experiment with different strategies to optimize the customer experience.

6. Offline Accessibility

Just like a website, an app is also dependent on the internet to offer full-scale functionality to its users.

However, while a website cannot be accessed offline, some features of an app can still be available for offline use. Offline functionalities drain very little battery from the device, while still allowing users to get basic information.

For example, an ecommerce app can give offline access to user-data, coupons available, past purchases, in-app calls, etc.

A popular map application even provides access to offline routes, when you get disconnected during driving. Such features can make an app hugely popular with its users and create brand loyalty.

7. Increased Productivity with Monetization Options

A mobile app can be used in a number of different ways.

It serves not only as a base for customer purchase but also as a customer service tool. You can even use the same app to channel your brand marketing.

Considering that an app can handle so many functions effectively, it increases productivity many times over a normal website. At the same time, it brings down your marketing and sales cost by combining different end-goals in a unified platform.

Moreover, you don’t need a paid app to interact with your users and build a community.

There are a number of ways to monetize free apps while promoting your brand story. You can leverage your user base to earn money, through ad revenues or premium upgrades.

Should Your Mobile App be Android or iOS?

Choosing between developing a mobile app for Android or iOS depends on various factors:

  1. Target Audience: Android has a larger global market share, but iOS is more popular in specific regions like the United States and Western Europe. Consider where your target audience is located and which platform they prefer.
  2. Development Cost and Time: iOS development can be faster and more cost-effective due to a more standardized ecosystem and fewer device variations. Android development can be more complex due to device fragmentation but offers more flexibility in terms of customization.
  3. Revenue Model: iOS users tend to spend more on apps and in-app purchases, making it potentially more lucrative for certain types of apps. Android might have a larger user base, but monetization can be a challenge due to a higher prevalence of free apps and ad-supported models.
  4. App Store Approval and Updates: The iOS App Store has stricter guidelines and a more rigorous approval process compared to the Google Play Store. This can impact your launch and update timelines.
  5. Device Capabilities and Features: If your app relies on specific hardware or software features, you need to consider the capabilities of each platform. For instance, Android offers more flexibility with hardware integration, while iOS offers a more consistent user experience across devices.
  6. Future Scalability: If you plan to expand your app’s features or target audience, consider which platform aligns better with your long-term goals.
  7. Development Skills and Resources: Consider the skills of your development team. Developers often specialize in one platform, and cross-platform development can require more resources.

Many developers start with one platform and then expand to the other. Some also use cross-platform development tools like Flutter or React Native, but these have their own pros and cons.

Ultimately, the decision should align with your business goals, target audience, budget, and long-term strategy.

6 Key Aspects to Consider When Converting Your Site to a Mobile App

Converting a website into a mobile app involves several important considerations to ensure a smooth transition and optimal functionality on mobile devices.

Here are the 6 key variables to consider:

1. Development Cost

  • Platform Choice: Costs can vary significantly between Android and iOS, with different development tools, licensing fees, and maintenance requirements.
  • Complexity: The more complex the website’s features, the higher the development cost for the app. Integration of existing web services, databases, and back-end systems can add to the cost.
  • Design and User Experience: Adapting a website’s design to fit mobile screens while maintaining user experience quality can require significant redesign efforts, impacting the budget.

2. Screen Size and Device Compatibility

  • Responsive Design: Apps must be designed to work across a range of screen sizes and resolutions. This includes not only smartphones but also tablets.
  • User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX): The UI and UX need to be adapted from a desktop-centric design to a mobile-friendly one, considering touch interactions and mobile usability norms.
  • Testing: Comprehensive testing across multiple devices and screen sizes is essential to ensure compatibility and a uniform user experience.

3. Search Presence and Marketing

  • App Store Optimization (ASO): Unlike websites that rely on search engine optimization (SEO), mobile apps require ASO to improve visibility in app stores.
  • User Acquisition and Retention: Strategies for attracting and retaining app users might differ from those used for websites, often requiring more engagement tools like push notifications.
  • Cross-Platform Presence: Maintaining a coherent brand presence across both the website and the app is crucial. This includes synchronizing content updates and marketing strategies across both platforms.

4. Functionality and Features Translation

  • Adapting Web Features for Mobile: Not all web functionalities may be suitable or necessary for the mobile app, and new mobile-specific features might need to be developed.
  • Performance Optimization: Mobile apps require optimization for performance, including faster load times, efficient data usage, and offline functionality where necessary.

5. Maintenance and Updates

  • Regular Updates: Mobile apps require regular updates for new OS versions, bug fixes, and feature enhancements.
  • Cost of Maintenance: Ongoing maintenance costs for a mobile app can be significant and should be factored into the long-term budget.

6. User Data and Privacy

  • Data Security: Ensuring data security and privacy is crucial, especially when handling user data and integrating with existing databases.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Mobile apps need to comply with various regional regulations (like GDPR in Europe) concerning user data and privacy.

In summary, when you want to turn website into app, you should know keep in mind it’s not just a technical challenge but also a strategic business decision.

It requires careful planning in terms of design, functionality, user experience, marketing, and ongoing maintenance.

How to Convert a Website into Mobile App Step-by-Step

Converting a website into a mobile app involves a series of steps that ensure your app meets user needs and aligns with your business goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Assess the Necessity of a Mobile App: Before diving into development, evaluate whether your business actually benefits from a mobile app. This includes understanding your audience’s mobile usage and the potential value addition of an app.
  2. Define the App’s Feature Set: Outline the features your app must have. This could be a translation of your website’s functionalities into a mobile context or new features that leverage mobile capabilities.
  3. Engage a Professional Development Team: Look for a skilled development team that has experience in mobile app projects. The right team should align with your project’s technical requirements and budget.
  4. Calculate the Development Budget: Work with your team to estimate the costs involved in app development. This includes initial development, design, testing, and ongoing maintenance costs.
  5. Design for Mobile User Experience: Focus on crafting a user experience (UX) that caters to mobile users. This often means simplifying interfaces and ensuring ease of navigation on smaller screens.
  6. Conduct Thorough App Testing: Rigorously test the app for usability, performance, and bugs. Testing should cover various devices, screen sizes, and operating systems to ensure a seamless user experience.
  7. Launch Your App on App Stores: Finally, submit your app to platforms like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This step involves meeting specific guidelines and requirements set by each platform.

By following these steps, you can effectively transform your website into a functional and user-friendly mobile app.

Native or Hybrid – Which Kind of App Should You Turn Your Website into?

Deciding whether to convert your website into a native or hybrid app depends on various factors, each with its own advantages and considerations:

Native Apps

Pros:

  1. Performance: Native apps typically offer the best performance, speed, and responsiveness, as they are optimized for their specific platform (iOS or Android).
  2. User Experience: They can provide a superior user experience, with smooth animations and access to all native UI elements.
  3. Device Feature Access: Native apps have full access to device hardware and software features (camera, GPS, notifications, etc.).
  4. Offline Functionality: They generally offer better offline capabilities.
  5. Security: Often more secure due to the platform’s inherent security features.

Cons:

  1. Development Cost and Time: Developing a native app for each platform (iOS and Android) can be expensive and time-consuming.
  2. Maintenance: Requires separate updates and maintenance for each platform, increasing long-term costs.
  3. Technical Skills: Requires in-depth knowledge of platform-specific programming languages (Swift for iOS, Kotlin/Java for Android).

Hybrid Apps

Pros:

  1. Cross-Platform Development: One codebase for multiple platforms, which can significantly reduce development time and cost.
  2. Easier Updates: Updates can be pushed more easily, as most of the code is shared across platforms.
  3. Broader Reach: Easier to reach a wider audience across different platforms.
  4. Web Technologies: Built using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), which may be more familiar to web developers.

Cons:

  1. Performance: Might not perform as well as native apps, especially for graphics-intensive applications.
  2. User Experience: Can be less smooth and native-feeling than a truly native app.
  3. Access to Device Features: Limited access to native device functionality compared to native apps, though this gap is narrowing with advancements in hybrid technology.
  4. Dependence on Frameworks: Reliant on frameworks like Cordova or React Native, which can introduce limitations.

Decision Factors

  • Budget and Resources: If resources are limited, hybrid development can be more cost-effective.
  • App Complexity and Performance Needs: For complex, high-performance apps, native development might be more suitable.
  • Time to Market: If speed is a priority, hybrid apps can be developed and launched more quickly.
  • Target Audience and Platforms: Consider where your users are. If your audience is spread across both iOS and Android, hybrid apps can be a more pragmatic choice.
  • Long-term Maintenance and Scalability: Native apps might require more effort to maintain but can be more scalable and robust for long-term growth.

Ultimately, the choice between native and hybrid should align with your business goals, user needs, and resource constraints. Hybrid apps offer a practical solution for broader reach and faster development, while native apps excel in performance and user experience for more complex applications.

5 Ways to Convert a Website into an App

Converting a website into an app can be approached in various ways, each with its own cost and time implications. Here are five methods:

  1. Coding the App Yourself (Native/Hybrid):
    • Cost: Low to moderate. If you have the necessary skills, you can save on labor costs. However, tools and software licenses can incur costs.
    • Time: Can be lengthy, especially for beginners or if developing a native app for multiple platforms. Time spent learning and troubleshooting should also be considered.
  2. Hiring a Freelancer to Build the App (Native/Hybrid):
    • Cost: Moderate. Freelancers may charge less than agencies but more than DIY options. Costs can vary widely based on the freelancer’s expertise and location.
    • Time: Typically faster than coding yourself, but dependent on the freelancer’s schedule and efficiency. Communication and revisions can add to the timeline.
  3. Hiring an App Development Agency to Create the App (Native/Hybrid):
    • Cost: Higher. Agencies provide a comprehensive service, including design, development, and testing, which adds to the cost.
    • Time: Can be quicker due to a team working on your project. Agencies have streamlined processes and resources to expedite development.
  4. Using a DIY App Builder to Create Your App (Hybrid):
    • Cost: Low. Many app builders offer affordable subscriptions, and some have free tiers. They are cost-effective for simple apps.
    • Time: Generally the quickest option. These platforms offer templates and drag-and-drop interfaces, making the process faster, especially for basic apps.
  5. Converting through a Web-to-App Conversion Platform:
    • Cost: Varies. These platforms can be cost-effective but may have limitations in terms of customization and functionality.
    • Time: Quick. These platforms automate much of the conversion process, making it faster but potentially less flexible in terms of design and features.

Each method suits different needs and skill levels. When choosing, consider not just cost and time, but also the complexity of your app, desired features, and long-term maintenance and scalability.

Embracing the Mobile Shift: 10 Businesses That Transformed Their Websites into Mobile Apps

In the digital age, where mobile usage dominates, businesses are swiftly transitioning from traditional websites to mobile applications. This shift not only aligns with user preferences but also opens new avenues for engagement and service delivery.

1. The New Yorker App: A Digital Magazine Experience

The New Yorker’s transition to a mobile app is a prime example of adapting written content for a mobile audience. Their app not only provides digital versions of their articles but enhances the experience with interactive features and offline reading capabilities. This transformation caters to the needs of readers who prefer on-the-go access to their favorite magazine.

2. H&M’s Mobile Shopping Experience: Fashion at Your Fingertips

H&M has successfully extended its fashion retail experience to mobile devices. The app offers more than just online shopping; it’s a style advisor and personal shopper in your pocket. With features like personalized recommendations and exclusive deals, the app makes fashion shopping convenient and personalized.

3. Blue Apron’s Culinary Companion: Simplifying Meal Preparation

Blue Apron’s app brings the convenience of meal planning and preparation to mobile users. It goes beyond basic meal kit delivery by offering features such as detailed recipes, delivery scheduling, and tracking nutritional information, making it easier for users to manage their culinary needs.

4. Calendly – Simplifying Scheduling: Streamlining Appointments

Calendly’s app transforms the task of scheduling into a seamless mobile experience. The app syncs with your calendar and allows for easy appointment setting, rescheduling, and management, all from a smartphone. It’s a perfect tool for professionals who need to manage meetings on the go.

5. Canva – Unleashing Creativity: Design Made Mobile

Originally a web-based design tool, Canva’s mobile app allows users to create stunning graphics directly from their mobile devices. The app simplifies design through a user-friendly interface, making it accessible for both professional designers and novices alike.

6. Etsy – The Marketplace in Your Pocket: Handcrafted and Vintage Shopping

Etsy’s mobile app extends its unique marketplace of handmade and vintage items to a broader audience. The app makes buying and selling these items more accessible and convenient, enhancing the overall user experience.

7. Airbnb – Travel Accommodation Revolutionized: Your Travel Companion

Airbnb’s app extends the functionality of its website into a comprehensive travel tool. Users can search, book, and manage accommodations and experiences, making travel planning more streamlined and interactive.

8. Flipboard – Personalized News Aggregator: A Tailored Reading Experience

Flipboard’s app offers a unique magazine-style content aggregation, pulling together news, articles, and stories based on user preferences. It provides a personalized reading experience that adapts to the user’s interests over time.

9. Pinterest – Visual Discovery Tool: Pinning Made Easy

The Pinterest app enhances the website’s visual discovery and sharing capabilities. It allows users to browse, save, and share ideas and inspirations on-the-go, making it an essential tool for creative minds.

10. Spotify – Streaming Music and Podcasts: Your Personalized Soundtrack

Spotify’s move to a mobile app has been pivotal in its growth. The app offers streaming music and podcasts with features like personalized playlists and offline listening, catering to the modern listener’s needs.

Still Wondering Whether to Go For Mobile App Development?

Now that you know how to convert your website into an app, one question remains:

Will you consider a mobile app for your business?

Make no mistakes, this is the age of ‘everything has its app’.

From productivity to health, travel, lifestyle, and food, almost everything is at the tip of our fingers. The world has gone mobile and under such circumstances, businesses can no longer afford to stay away.

It is only sensible to take the next logical step and convert your website into an app.

Before you go on to the next stage and hire an app development company, think of your requirements. Make a list of the USPs of your app.

Get help from experts and app developers to understand how an app works.

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