Key Steps for Building an App Based on Your Website
If you’ve already launched a blog, website, or online store, and you’re ready to take interactions with your audience to the next level, you might be thinking of converting your site into a native mobile app.
After all, smartphones have changed the world drastically over the last few years. We can now access everything from entertainment to products and information through a handy pocket-sized device, rather than having to boot up a clunky computer or laptop.
Today, more than half (58.99%) of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, so there’s a good chance your customers already want to interact and transact with you through their smartphones. A mobile app could be the best way to take those convenient interactions to the next level.
The question is, where do you get started?
How to Turn Your Website into an App in 5 Steps
The good news for business owners looking to take advantage of the mobile market is that creating an app out of your existing website isn’t as complex as it seems. Today, platforms exist to make the website-to-app transformation process as simple as clicking a few buttons. You don’t even need any coding or developer knowledge.
However, there are still some key steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Decide if You Really Need a Mobile App
Almost 48% of small businesses already have their own mobile apps, so if you’re planning on converting your own website, you’re in good company. However, it’s worth remembering not every business will necessarily need an app.
If you already have a mobile-friendly website that can do everything your app would be able to do, then an app might not be necessary. However, before you assume you can simply get by with your mobile website, remember that there are specific benefits to having your own app.
For instance, mobile users only spend about 17% of their time on mobile browsers, but they spend 83% of their time in apps. Simply converting your mobile website into an app could improve your chances of interacting with and engaging customers more regularly throughout the buyer journey.
If you’re still not sure if a mobile app is worth it, ask yourself:
- Can your site do everything a mobile app does?
- Do customers visit you mostly via mobile devices?
- Do your competitors offer a mobile app?
Step 2: Create a List of Features for Your App
If you decide converting your website into a mobile app is worth it, the next step is deciding what your app should be able to do. You may want it to have all of the features of your website, such as a blog, product pages, checkout page, and social media buttons.
Alternatively, you might want to remove certain features from your website, or add new capabilities specifically for your mobile app users. You may choose to implement in-app purchases, social login options, push notifications, and other handy tools.
A good way to get an insight into what your mobile app should be able to do is, to look at your competitors. Find out what kind of experiences they offer, and decide what you’d like to replicate for your own audience.
Step 3: Choose Your Development Strategy
Next, you’ll need to choose how you’re going to create your app. In the past, the only option used to be hiring a development team to do all of the complex behind-the-scenes work for you. You could either hire a freelancer or work with an agency, but you would usually need developer skills.
Now there are platforms available that allow you to convert your website into an app easily, using simple editing tools. The process can be as simple as logging into a system, entering your URL, and tweaking the various components of the user experience according to your needs.
Of course, if you want particularly advanced features on your app, or bespoke customization assistance, you may still need to consider working with a developer, or learning how to use a low-code program yourself.
Step 4: Design and Test Your App
The great thing about choosing to convert your website into an app, rather than building something from scratch, is that you’ll already have a lot of the resources you need. You can use the same home page, about page, and various pieces of content you already use on your website.
This means your development process should be a lot quicker. Working with your developer, or using your app platform, develop and customize your app to suit your exact specifications. Focus on creating an intuitive and simple user experience, so you can delight every customer.
Before you launch your app, make sure you take the time to preview and test it carefully. You can use mobile device simulators for this, or your own mobile device. It can be helpful to get members of your team to try out the app too, so you can get their feedback on plugins, integrations, and features you might need to add to make the app more impressive.
Step 5: Launch Your App and Gather Feedback
Finally, once you’re sure your mobile app is working perfectly, it’s time to publish. If you’ve chosen the right development team or platform, you should be able to customize your app to suit both the Android and iOS operating systems. This should mean you can easily submit your app to the Google Play and Apple stores with minimal effort.
Make sure you add the right details to your app listing, telling your customers exactly what your app can do, and the benefits they’ll get from downloading it. For instance, you might be able to promise instant alerts on sales, or real-time order tracking.
Once your app is approved and published, pay attention to the feedback shared by your customers in the form of reviews and testimonials. This will help you to pinpoint any tweaks you should make to the app experience going forward.
Ready to Turn Your Website into an App?
Consumer behavior is changing. People are spending more time on their phones than ever before. Although a mobile-friendly website can help you to retain and engage your audience, few things are more effective than a dedicated app for driving business growth.
If you’re ready to unlock the benefits of a mobile app for your business, follow the steps above, and you’ll start seeing downloads in no time.