❓ FAQ on Website to Mobile App Conversion
📱 Mobile Apps Vs. PWAs
💻 Responsive Web Design
🛠 How Can React Native Be Useful in Converting a Website to an iOS App (or Android one)?
Nowadays, mobile users’ presence on the Internet significantly exceeds this for desktop users — 89% of mobile media time is spent in mobile apps, while websites only account for 11%.
Additionally, mobile users number is growing at a rapid pace. Taking into account that it’s already 5.27 billion unique mobile users, and more than 900,000 of them add to this number every day.
Furthermore, an app gives businesses a much better brand presence since users see a company’s logo more often, get push notifications, etc. So, the fact that many website owners decide to develop a mobile app at some point makes perfect sense.
You can convert a website into a mobile app in several ways (image by Stormotion)
However, native mobile apps aren’t the only mobile solution that businesses go for — it can be either Progressive Web Application or a website with a responsive design.
In this article, we’ll talk about each of the 3 options, give you some advice on when it might be more suitable to use a certain solution, and walk you through every detail that you might need to know when converting your website into an app.
So, if you want to convert your website into an app or other mobile solution — keep on reading for more details!
Before we give you some detailed information on how this process can look like, we’d like to cover certain questions that you might have. Thus, you’ll have a brighter picture of what converting a website into an app actually is.
In this section, we review rather common cases. Surely, it’s possible that your use case will benefit from a different approach. So, if you’d like to have detailed feedback on your specific case, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you!
To begin with, the Internet is full of “turn a website into an app with a few clicks” offers. Such options actually exist — let’s call them autoconverters.
These autoconverters can be divided into 2 categories:
You can convert your website to app in several ways: app builders, build an app by reusing existing website code and adding native components, or convert website to app from scratch (image by GoodFirms)
This picture shows an app converted from a website and, frankly speaking, both UI & UX designs don’t look promising to us. However, the looks and lack of user-friendliness aren’t the only repelling factors of such services.
The most significant one is that the functionality is strictly limited to what an autoconverter offers. So, if you’d like to add a chatbot to your app, use a 3rd party API, or implement any other feature that’s not on a converter’s list, you won’t be able to do that — neither now nor in the future.
And generally, every single step that you’ll have to take on your converting journey can and most likely will be limited to the offer of a converter.
We can’t say that such services shouldn’t be used at all. For example, they might be a reasonable solution in the following situations:
To convert website into a mobile app, (ou can reuse the code of your site (web platform) with adding native features (image by Ghulam Rasool 🚀)
Another way of converting a website into an app is custom development. Unfortunately, there’s no magic button that will convert your website into a user-friendly app with a great and consistent UI/UX design.
Yet, custom development is a great option because of the benefits it offers:
Regarding the question about the cost, it really depends on the type of your app. Price for auto converting services may vary from $0 up to $500.
Custom development is much more expensive and the costs usually start from $5,000, depending on multiple aspects like the number and complexity of features, UI design, 3rd-party integrations, an hourly rate of your development team, etc.
As much as it’s a pity, usually you can’t reuse the website code to build a mobile app from scratch. However, it definitely is easier to develop an app if you already have a functioning website.
If your website is built on React Native, you can turn your website into app by reusing a part of the code for mobile application (image by Sajon)
First of all, you already have a certain design of your website and brand style. Meaning that you don’t have to spend time reinventing the wheel but simply follow the general concept, coloring, logos, etc.
Surely, you might want to have a different UI design concept, however, it can damage the consistency of your products with the brand, which isn’t a good thing.
It’s important to know that there are certain native features in apps that can’t be implemented by reusing a website’s code. For example, in-product purchases. Websites and apps have different ways of implementing such a feature. It can be done with help of APIs like Stripe or Braintree, yet, code will still be different.
So, to define what features can or can’t be implemented by reusing the website’s code, you need to research how each of them is working on different platforms.
So the process would be faster and cost you less than it might, there are several tips you can follow.
So each user can access the website through a mobile, website should be mobile-friendly (image by Ghulam Rasool 🚀)
# 1: Think everything out well in advance.
In both Web & Mobile development, going back to change the code is quite time-consuming. Additionally, there are certain checkpoints where adding small changes means rewriting a good chunk of code, which , naturally, will take some time & increase development cost. So, by conducting a thorough preparation stage, you can decrease the development time and costs.
# 2: In the first place, implement only features you know you’ll need for sure.
It might not be reasonable to create an app full of high-tech features and integrations as a first mobile product from your brand. Some basic functionality with a couple of special brand details to stand out should do it for now.
Later on, you can surely elaborate on the development further and modify the app. Such a strategy is a great way to cut development time and optimize the budget.
If you’d like to learn more about the costs of developing a product with essential features only (which can be called MVP), you can check out this article:
How Much Does it Cost to Build an MVP
When converting a website into an app, you basically extend the functionality rather than cut it.
To convert websites into mobile applications, you can either use an app builder or have a custom app design (image by Hira Riaz🔥)
Here’re a couple of examples how the same functionality can be enabled in different ways:
📱 Mobile App
During the sign-up process, users often get verification codes on the phone or to the email that they have to type in manually.
In mobile apps, it’s possible to make verification code capture automatic. You can enable it by using APIs like SMS Retriever.
Photos & videos can only be imported from the device.
You can integrate the app with a mobile camera to use it right in the app.
You can’t really use notifications to their full potential since desktop notifications don’t work as efficiently as push notifications, which are a mobile product feature only.
Push notifications are a great mobile tool that can be used for a variety of purposes personalization, sales increase, audience retargeting & others.
Websites normally have their menus opened, without users having to click additionally to open it.
Many apps use the concept of hamburger menus — that doesn’t occupy screen space till a user calls it with a tap or swipe.
Basically, ,apart from a mobile (native) app, there are 2 more options for providing a user-friendly experience for mobile users — a PWA and responsive web design.
In this section, we’re going to cover the difference between a native app and a Progressive Web App, give you some examples, and go into detail about what a PWA basically is.
You can use react native to convert your website into a cross-platform app (image by UAMaster)
In fact, it’s pretty hard for users to tell what exactly they’re currently using. The experience is quite similar to what mobile apps provide since animations are smooth and navigation is responsive.
Why don’t we take a closer look at the pros and cons of PWAs:
On the other hand, native mobile apps provide the following pros and cons.
So, to sum these two tables up, the difference between native apps and PWAs is that mobile apps are a better choice for complex solutions. Thus, this may be a preferable option if you need advanced features and a more seamless performance, while PWAs work great for something less functional.
Based on mentioned above, we’ve come up with a list of less general use cases that demonstrate when it might be a better decision to go for either a native app or a PWA:
You are looking for extended security features like biometric authentication.
You need one app for both iOS and Android users.
You need integration with a device’s hardware.
You have limited time and budget.
Your product features in-app payments, subscriptions, etc.
You don’t need neither advanced functionality nor integrations.
Must-have app store presence.
Push notifications aren’t a must-have for your product.
By the way, for a more detailed review of PWA development options you could check out our article dedicated to this topic:
What Framework to Choose When Developing PWA?
Another way of providing a sustainable mobile user experience is by making your website’s design responsive (or mobile-friendly if you wish).
Actually, if you have a lot of traffic from mobile searches, we’d say that a mobile-friendly design is something rather necessary. It’s because nowadays Google’s algorithms favor responsive web platforms.
In a nutshell, Google gives responsive websites higher positions for mobile searches. Meaning that not depending on how high-quality the content on your website is, it can be ranked high for mobile searches unless it’s not optimized for it.
You can find more details in Google’s guide on this topic and run a test to check if your website is mobile-friendly. That is, even high-quality web platforms can’t be high-ranked for mobile searches if they’re not optimized for mobile devices.
So, to help you improve your Google positions for 5,27B mobile users’ searches, we’d like to give you a couple of tips on how to make your website responsive.
“Less is more” is a key principle when it comes to mobile development. Web pages usually contain many buttons, text blocks, and other visual elements. Moving all these objects in the application without any changes is an unattainable luxury.
Screen sizes, proportions, and resolutions of mobile devices put you in the position where you have to decide what elements will remain on the front line, and which will go to the background.
You can convert your website into an android app, for an iOS user, or have a cross-platform solution (image by Ghulam Rasool 🚀)
Simply put, for every in-app feature you will have to build a separate screen (or even several ones). So as not to turn your app into a maze or a riddle, we’d recommend you highlight the key features that bring the most value for your users and don’t simply copy the whole functionality of your website.
One of the key conditions for a website to be mobile-friendly is having habitual, simple, and intuitive navigation patterns.
First, let’s talk about the tab bar. It’s usually located at the top or bottom of the screen and includes several most fundamental navigation options. What’s important: you can reach them from anywhere in the app. Moreover, it’s always located in the thumb-friendly zone:
To make the website convenient for users of a mobile, website should have responsive navigation patterns (image by Ramotion)
Tab bar is the best solution if your navigation system is not too branched out. Yet, it also has pros and cons which we’re going to list:
Another concept to take a look at is gesture-based navigation — it’s the basis of intuitive interfaces which you may also implement as you convert a website to a mobile app.
Instead of menus and icons, users have to use different gestures in order to move from one screen to another and perform different actions.
Let’s briefly review what are the pros and cons of such a choice:
Another important thing is adjusting your website to various screen sizes of mobile devices. It may seem like quite a challenge since screen sizes are completely different. And while Apple devices don’t have that diversity, Android devices are completely different.
Yet, you shouldn’t be worried about that — with the right Tech Partner, it shouldn’t be a problem.
To make the website convenient for users of a mobile, website should adjust to screen sizes (image by simantOo)
Moreover, certain tools allow you to automatically adjust a website to multiple key screen resolutions, making it pixel-perfect on various mobile devices.
To draw users’ attention to what you want them to do, CAT in mobile apps should be visible so they can easily find where to tap.
To make the website convenient for users of a mobile, website should have visible CTA buttons (image by Rakib Kowshar)
To make that visible, you can:
React Native allows you to reuse the code of the website to convert it to a mobile app or PWA (image by Vlad Shagov)
Even though your developers will still have to write some platform specifications, React Native app development can greatly decrease development time and costs as well as lower the price of further post-release support of both applications.
Therefore, if you want to convert a website into an Android app and an iOS app at the same time (or ensure faster development for the second platform in the future), we’d recommend you consider hiring for React Native mobile developers.
In conclusion, we’d like to say that converting a website into an app isn’t actually converting since there’s no such thing that can automatically rebuild the website into an app with a code.
To have a sustainable solution, you most likely will have to opt for a custom mobile development. However, if you already have a web product, it’ll be easier for you to build an application.
Let’s briefly review the main highlights of the article:
If you need any help with converting your website into a sustainable solution optimized for mobile devices that will fully meet your mobile audience’s needs, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help you!
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