What is common between an online store, a mobile game, and a streaming platform? They all have an active mobile app on prominent app stores. This article is about how to use your WordPress blog to start a mobile app?
Businesses are slowly moving towards mobile apps. Just as the website movement began in the early 2000s, the goal post is now shifting towards mobile apps.
Look at the eCommerce space as an example. More than 85% of shoppers prefer mobile apps for online shopping over mobile websites.
This lopsided number should concern businesses yet to start a mobile app. Apps have a higher performance threshold and are simply more convenient for an average user.
There is no reason businesses should dismiss the idea of starting a mobile app. The main problem is app development.
The problem with app development
Many businesses in the 2000s were able to start a website because of the arrival of content management systems like WordPress. This enabled companies not to spend a ton of money on web developers to create a website. WordPress essentially democratized the prospect of starting a website.
App development is in a similar bind. Businesses today have a serious incentive to launch a mobile app. The main obstacle in their way is custom app development.
The following points sum up the tedious aspects of custom app development-
- Complexity – You need to have a technical background to develop a mobile app. Even seasoned app developers would never discount the tedious nature of mobile app development.
- Time – Making an app can take anywhere between two months to a year. Contrast this with the small timeline involved in creating a WordPress website. It is not feasible for a small startup or business to wait a year until an app is finally ready.
- Cost – A Business of Apps report shows that building an iOS app costs $28K. The average price of developing an Android app stands at $23K. Yes, it is safe to say that app development is not a no-brainer from a financial standpoint.
These reasons are enough to put off anyone from making an app. Then why is there a serious movement towards mobile app development?
Mobile app builders – An alternative to custom app development
Mobile app builders are essentially tools that help you build an app without coding.
App builders have come a long way. In the early days, you could only use mobile app builders to make PWAs (progressive web apps) and hybrid apps.
The scene has changed now. Mobile app builders now enable you to create native mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms.
The main advantage of using app builders is simple – you get to bypass all the problems of custom app development.
- No complexity – You can create upstanding mobile apps without any need for programming.
- Shortened timeline – Mobile app builders significantly reduce the time needed to create an app.
- Affordability – No-code app making tools cost a small fraction of the figures discussed earlier.
So how do these tools work? The following section provides a deep dive into the process of making a mobile app for your WordPress blog.
Using a WordPress blog to create an app – A step-by-step guide
There are many ways you can create an app without coding. We will be focusing on building an app for a WordPress blog.
You can choose from several app making options for this process. We will use AppMySite for this guide to help you see how to use your WordPress blog to start a mobile app.
AppMySite is a mobile app builder that enables WordPress and WooCommerce users to build a mobile app.
#1 – Design your mobile app
After you create an AppMySite account, the first step is designing a mobile app. There are a ton of design options available to set up a great app appearance.
You will naturally feel the urge to replicate your website design on your app for the sake of brand consistency. There are a ton of color, arrangement, and image options available that give you the ability to match your website and app design.
Go to Appearance after creating your AppMySite account. You will find all the app elements you need to design to build the perfect app.
The app elements are covered below:
- App icon – Choose from a range of color and text options to create an app icon. You can also upload your own icon design.
- Launch screen – Otherwise known as the splash screen. You can choose from several color and text options to design your launch screen. Alternatively, you can also add a background image and a logo if you want to pack a punch.
- Login and Signup – Design your user onboarding screens with easy design options. Upload your own background image or choose one from the free image library available. You can also update the color scheme of the fields and placeholder texts on the onboarding screens.
- Color theme – select the color of the main header and button of your app.
- Home screen – The home screen is the most vital part of your mobile app. You can design banners, manage blog categories, arrange sections, set section colors, and even enable a web view for your app.
You can preview every app element you design on the liver screen to the right. Keep checking the preview screen to make better design decisions.
#2 – Connect your WordPress blog and app
The next step is connecting your WordPress blog and app. This step will essentially ensure your app displays all your blog content automatically.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Download and activate the AppMySite plugin on your WordPress website backend.
- Come back to your AppMySite account and go to Install Plugin under Connectivity.
- Hit Verify.
- Your WordPress blog and the app will be connected. You can head on over to the App Preview section to check out your blog content on a live app emulator.
- If the connection between your app and website fails, go to Troubleshooting and select Run Troubleshooter. This will help you isolate the reason why your relationship is failing.
Connecting your WordPress blog and app ensures two things. First, it displays all your website data on the app. This doesn’t just include blog posts. Data related to blog categories and even the website menu will be displayed on the app.
Second, any further update you make to your blog will be synced to the app automatically. Every new blog post and category will automatically make it to the app, thanks to seamless connectivity.
#3 – Configure app settings
The App Settings section enables you to configure the technicalities of your app. The following points explain the settings you can configure:
- App Menu – You can choose to import your website menu here. Alternatively, you can create your own custom menu as well.
- Pages – You can choose to activate web view for all your internal app screens here as well as configure other options related to active hyperlinks and user input.
- Social – Enter the links of your social media handles here. The social media icons will be displayed automatically on your app.
#4 – Preview your app
You can test the app you have built on both Android and iOS emulators in the App Preview.
This is an important step as you need to understand the basic functioning of your mobile app. The emulators provide you multiple device options as well. This means you can test your app features and functionality for different Android and iOS devices.
In the App Preview, you will find all your WordPress blog resources sync automatically with the blog.
You can additionally test your app on an actual smartphone device as well. Download the AppMySite demo app and start testing your app on an actual device to understand its functionality better.
#5 – Download your app
The final step is downloading your app.
You have the option of downloading both APK and AAB builds for your Android app. Generate your app, create and download your app. You can then proceed to submit it to Google Play. Ensure you follow all the guidelines so that your app goes live on the Play Store without a hitch.
To generate an IPA build for your iOS app, you first need to submit some essential certificates. Once the submission is complete, you can download the IPA file and submit your app to the App Store.
There has never been doubting over the potential of mobile apps in helping businesses grow. The main challenge has always been development.
App builders solve this problem to a great degree. We just covered how you can easily create an app for your WordPress blog in five simple steps. You thus have the opportunity to truly set your WordPress blog apart and join the mobile app movement.