Last Updated on
March 2, 2024

How to Turn Your Wordpress Site Into a Mobile App in 2024

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Key takeaways:

Are you curious about how to convert a WordPress site into a mobile app? Wondering if it’s even possible?

Or are you simply searching for a better way to connect with the rising number of people who are mobile-first when they go online?

Whichever category you fall into, you’re in the right place. This post will guide you through all you need to know to turn your WordPress website into mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.

We’ll explain several different ways to do it. We'll then go through each step of the process, with the most effective way to turn your website into an app, MobiLoud - the platform behind more than 1,200 WordPress mobile apps.

Want to dive deeper into converting a WordPress site into mobile apps? Check out the video below on our YouTube channel:

How to Turn Your WordPress Website into an App: 3 Options

There are a number of big benefits to turning your website into an app. These include providing a better experience for your mobile users, and making use of powerful features like mobile push notifications.

We go into more detail in this post on the biggest benefits of mobile apps for businesses today.

Here, we’ll focus on the how, and examine three different routes you can go to turn your website or web app into a true mobile app:

  • Hiring developers
  • Template-based app builders
  • Hybrid app builders

These options allow to build native (or like-native) mobile apps, which users can download, and can be published in the App Store and Google Play Store (unlike converting your site to a Progressive Web App).

Let's examine each option, and the pros and cons of each. At the end, we'll give our opinion on what the best option is for the majority of WordPress website owners.

Hire Developers to Code Your App

First, you can pay professional developers or a mobile app development agency to code your app.

If you go down this route, you’ll need to hire, at the very least, two developers. One for an Android app, one for an iOS app (assuming you rightfully want to enter both markets).

They build the mobile apps from scratch, then connect them to your WordPress website. With enough time and money, they can create iOS apps and Android apps that sync with and replicate the features of your WordPress site.

Pros:

  • Can get you a good result and build custom features.
  • If you hire an agency, there’s little work for you to do.

Cons:

  • Expensive: expect to pay $25,000+ for first versions, and incur ongoing costs (20%+ annually) for updates and maintenance. Learn more about the cost of building a mobile app from scratch in this post.
  • Time-consuming: to replicate the functionality of your site in mobile apps will take months of work.
  • You’ll likely need two separate projects/developers for your iOS and Android app, respectively.
  • If you hire developers yourself, you will have a complex project to manage with lots of potential pitfalls.

All up, the cons definitely outweigh the pros here. Hiring developers to build a fully native mobile app for your WordPress site is just going to take too long and cost too much, for the result that you’re looking for - which is simply to convert what already works on your WordPress website into an app.

Use a Template-Based App Builder

You can also use a no-code app builder with a WordPress integration.

This will let you build your app interface with a visual, drag-and-drop builder, without coding. You'll connect your WordPress site to the mobile app, usually with a WordPress plugin, to use the content from your site in the app.

Pros:

  • Affordable and fast.
  • Built specifically to use WordPress for mobile apps.
  • No coding required.

Cons:

  • Most solutions provide limited support.
  • You'll likely struggle to properly integrate plugin functionality.
  • There are limits to what you can do on the front end - you’re essentially forced into a template that makes your app look like thousands of other apps.
  • It still takes a lot of time and energy to create an app that you’re happy with.

This option is much easier and cheaper than native app development. However, it’s also very limiting. 

You won't be able to fully recreate how your website looks and feels. There’s only so much you can do to customize the front end of your app. And you’re going to have to figure out everything yourself - don’t expect much in the way of personalized support.

If you need an extremely simple mobile app, app builders can be a decent option. But if you expect your apps to drive revenue for your business, it’s worth investing in something with more flexibility.

Read more about the best WordPress mobile app plugins and app builders on the market today in this post.

Use a Hybrid App Builder like MobiLoud

The third option - and the best way to convert a WordPress site to a mobile app - is a hybrid mobile app builder like MobiLoud.

MobiLoud does literally this - it converts your WordPress site into a mobile app. You’re not building an app and trying to recreate your website experience. Your app is your website. Both platforms are fully in sync.

This is done with a technology called webviews. These are live windows to your website, that live inside your app.

quora native web
Example of how webviews work to create a hybrid mobile app

You take what already works for you on your site, add mobile elements such as native navigation, loading indicators, splash screens and push notifications, and encase it in native app code that can be downloaded and published to the app stores.

Pros:

  • Fast and affordable (all the benefits of a mobile app builder).
  • Completely converts your WordPress site, and all your features, plugins, themes, etc.
  • Both platforms are fully synced - make changes on your website, and they reflect in your apps in real time.
  • Very little work to set up and publish your apps.
  • Service, support, updates and maintenance is built into the platform.

Cons:

  • Slightly less functionality than building a native app from scratch.

There are many benefits to doing it this way. It’s massively cheaper than native development - you can publish an app for as little as 1-2% of the cost of building native apps, with less than 1/10th of the ongoing maintenance cost.

You don’t need to write any code. All the technical work under the hood is handled by our team. You’ve also got personalized, technical support on hand at all times.

And the best thing? These apps are a complete representation of your website. It’s a seamless way to turn your site into a mobile app.

Step-By-Step: Convert WordPress Site to Mobile App with MobiLoud

Now we’re going to break down, step-by-step, how it works to turn your WordPress website into an app with MobiLoud.

This clearly shows you how streamlined and easy the process is. You can also get a free, personalized demo to see how it works, live, for your own site.

Now here is the 7-step process to convert your WordPress site into apps.

1. Optimize Your Site for Mobile

First you’ll need to ensure your WordPress website is optimized and responsive for mobile devices.

Your apps are essentially going to show your website as it would appear in mobile web browsers, with just a few added elements, and the browser tabs removed. So if you don't have a responsive website that looks and works well for smartphone users, do that now.

Most site owners will be able to skip this step, because it’s likely something you’ve already done. Mobile optimization today is not a “nice to have”, it’s a "must-have".

If you're not happy with the mobile version of your site, fix this before moving on to creating your app.

2. Get a Free Consultation

To start the process, get on a call with one of our project managers.

This call will help us understand your goals and any unique needs or desires you have from your app, and help you understand the process, and ensure you're comfortable that MobiLoud is the right option for you.

3. Choose Your Plan

Choose the right MobiLoud subscription plan for your needs. Starting at $298/mo (plus a one-time setup fee), plans are flexible enough to suit businesses of many different sizes.

Subscriptions require no long-term commitments, and all come with a 60 day money-back guarantee, making the decision to build an app completely risk-free.

Your subscription enables you to receive full support, including updates and maintenance for your app after launch, at a fraction of what it would cost to keep mobile app developers on staff.

4. Hand Off to Our Team

Now you can hand off the project to our team to do all the heavy lifting.

We'll code the backend of your apps, along with all the minor touches and tweaks that make your mobile apps look and feel 100% native.

This includes a native tab menu and navigation and mobile UI elements such as progress indicators, back button behavior, loading animations and spinners.

We also enable push notifications in your app. Push is a powerful communication channel to use to reach out to your app users, boost engagement, and get people opening your app more often.

headspace push notification

You can, of course, change how your push notifications work later. You can also send unlimited push notifications from your WordPress dashboard once your app is live, as well as setting up personalized workflows with our push notification partner, OneSignal.

5. Test the Initial Version of Your App

In approximately two weeks, your apps should be ready for testing.

Download the app onto your own devices, and play around to see how they look, act and feel. If you have any change requests or things you want to add, you can do so at this point before sending your apps out for the world to see.

6. Finish Up and Launch

Finally, it’s time to publish your apps, and make them available in the app stores. All in all, steps one to seven might take less than a month, which is significantly faster than if you were to build an app from scratch.

We also take care of the notoriously difficult process of submitting your apps to the Apple App Store and Google Play, ensuring your app store listings get approved with a minimum of fuss.

7. Measure and Improve

Once your apps are live and you start getting downloads, keep track of a few relevant metrics (i.e. usage rate, engagement, revenue), and gather user feedback on your apps.

This will help you continue to add to and improve your apps over time - which is another area that the MobiLoud team will be on hand to help you with.

Why MobiLoud is the Best Way to Turn a WordPress Site into Mobile Apps

We built MobiLoud in part to overcome the weaknesses of other WordPress app builders, as well as to provide an easier and more affordable solution than native development, while achieving 95% of the end result. Here’s how. 

1. Keep Everything From Your WordPress Site

MobiLoud allows you to completely convert a WordPress site to apps. That includes all your existing WordPress plugins, special features and third-party integrations. 

With MobiLoud, it's a seamless transition from website to app.

Most of your core plugins will work straight out of the box. If not, our team can integrate them. This, along with our customization options, allows you to create truly custom apps that serve your business just as well (or better) as your site. 

The apps can also adapt and grow with your core web platform into the future. If you add or rework features and plugins on your site, we’ll have them working in the apps too.

2. Easy Management Through WordPress

With MobiLoud WordPress apps you’ll be able to manage everything from a familiar environment – the admin panel of your WordPress website.

You can control the apps through a simple plugin that sits in your WordPress backend. You’ll be able to send push notifications, update key features, and measure app performance right from WordPress

3. No-code, Nothing to Add to Your Workflow

There’s no need to get your hands dirty with any coding. If you can set up a WordPress site, you can build WordPress mobile apps with MobiLoud. Our platform does all the heavy lifting. 

Going forward, there’s nothing to add to your or your team’s workflow. The apps will update automatically with any new content or changes to your site. You’ll just send push notifications and manage the apps on a high level. 

4. Full Featured, Strong UX

From the native tab navigation to the design options we provide, MobiLoud WordPress apps are optimized for the best app UX possible and incorporate modern design best practices. 

You’ll also have all the features you need from push preferences, audio and video galleries, and message centers to analytics, ratings prompts and location services. 

If you have a specific feature in mind just chat with our team and we’ll go over the possibilities, there’s a strong chance we can make it work.

5. More Than a Tool - a Complete Service

Although our platform makes things simple in the main, there are things that need a professional eye.

Preparing and submitting the apps to Google Play and the Apple App Store for publishing is a process often fraught with challenges and frustrations, and apps need constant updates and maintenance to stay in good condition – costing businesses thousands of dollars per year in developer fees. 

As part of our license, we handle all this for you. Our customer support is hands on, fast and helpful. You’ll know us by name, and we’re never more than an email or Zoom call away. 

By handling submission, publishing, maintenance, and updates we save you thousands of dollars per year and countless headaches.

WordPress to App: FAQs

Still have questions about how to convert your WordPress site to a mobile app? You should find the answers here:

What’s the best way to turn a WordPress site into an app? MobiLoud is the best mix of power, usability and affordability if you want to convert your WordPress site into a mobile application. Click here to get a personalized consultation and see what the platform can do.

- Can you develop mobile apps with WordPress? WordPress is a deep and flexible platform, but it only allows you to build sites for the browser. If you want to create a mobile app, you’ll need to use a tool to convert your site into apps - like MobiLoud.

- Can you create mobile apps with HTML and PHP? HTML and PHP are web-based frameworks. Mobile apps are written in other languages, such as Swift or Objective-C for iOS devices, Java or Kotlin for the Android OS, as well as cross-platform frameworks like React Native.
If you want to use web frameworks like HTML, PHP and Javascript to build mobile apps, you can first code a website then use MobiLoud to convert your site into apps.

- Should I build a mobile website or a mobile app? Today, most businesses should have both. More people are likely to find you on the web, so having a well-optimized, responsive site is important. But a mobile app will help you retain your mobile traffic, after they initially find you via web, and provide a better user experience for those who prefer to access your site on mobile.
MobiLoud helps you maintain both mobile and web platforms, without adding extra work to manage each platform separately.

- Will my site be compatible with all browsers and mobile devices? If you use MobiLoud, your site will function the same on both browsers and in the app, with just a few minor changes to optimize the user experience depending on the platform.

- Do you have any examples you can show? We have an extensive list of successful case studies available here. You can also check out the next section for a few great examples of WordPress websites sites that used MobiLoud to create mobile apps.

WordPress Mobile App Examples

MobiLoud has helped thousands of businesses convert their websites to mobile apps. Here are just a few examples.

Metziahs

Metziahs is a successful deals site that curates millions of items on the web to offer to their community. 

The team decided to build WordPress mobile apps with MobiLoud, and have had great success.

“Just having an app presence, with working apps is great. That’s for sure. Push notifications are obviously important, but just having the presence on the App Stores is great”

Metziahs team

Read their story here

Tech-Talk 

Tech-Talk is an eLearning and training business that helps users to get up to speed on crucial technology skills for their work. 

The Tech-Talk team turned their WordPress site into mobile apps with MobiLoud – and shortened their sales cycle, boosted subscriptions, and had thousands of downloads as a result. 

“It really has been a 100% percent perfect transition – I just can’t say enough good things about it. If we had to rank MobiLoud on a scale of 1-10 we’d give you an 11!”

Linda Keefe, CEO Tech-Talk

Read more about Tech-Talk’s project here. 

Deeper Blue

Deeper Blue has been around since the 90s, and is the best site on the internet for those passionate about diving, scuba and ocean conservation. 

Founder Stephan Whelan decided to use MobiLoud News to build native iOS and Android apps that are loved by their community. 

“If you’re looking for a solution that allows you to get content out of WordPress into a native app – MobiLoud provides a huge number of features, and the ability to have it working quickly. It’s incredibly valuable. I can’t recommend them highly enough to be honest”

Stephan Whelan, Founder, Deeper Blue

Read more about how Deeper Blue used our WordPress mobile app plugin here

Sports Mockery

Sports Mockery is a news site that helps Chicago sports fans to stay up to date with their favourite teams. 

After numerous reader requests, they decided to build mobile apps for their fans and used MobiLoud to get there. 

“MobiLoud has many, many features that a lot of the competitors were lacking. With MobiLoud it’s all done for you. It’s a very sleek and fast process” 

Chris Burhans, CEO

Read more about the Sports Mockery app project here.

WordPress Mobile App Guide: Final Takeaways

MobiLoud gives you the most straightforward, effective way to turn WordPress sites into apps, shaving 90% of the cost off traditional app development and saving months of work to get the best result possible.

You don't need to write a line of code, or even understand code, to build your WordPress app. And, unlike most no-code app builders on the market today, you don't need to deal with limiting app templates that make your app look like every other.

We’ve brought over 2000 businesses live on the App Stores – and we plan on helping many more.

We also don’t do long term contracts, you can cancel at any time – and you can cancel for any reason within 60 days and get a full refund, so there’s no risk whatsoever!

It’s a great time to build WordPress apps, so let’s get started. Book a consultation to kick off the process and see how easy it is!

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