MobiLoud vs BuildFire - Why MobiLoud is the Best BuildFire Alternative

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Looking for a BuildFire alternative? Read on and find out why MobiLoud is a much better option if you already have a website or web app.

BuildFire is a well-known and successful app builder platform that is used to build iOS and Android apps faster and more affordably than native development. The same is equally true of MobiLoud. BuildFire offers both a DIY app development platform and a service offering, both of which we'll compare to MobiLoud.

Obviously we’re biased - we’re not expecting you to take our word for it, but we're going to link to customer reviews so you can see for yourself, and stick to the facts in this article. Let’s get started with an overview.

MobiLoud vs BuildFire in 30 Seconds

First, here's a quick look at both platforms, what they are and how they work.

What is BuildFire?

BuildFire is a drag and drop app builder platform that let’s users build a variety of mobile apps for iOS and Android. Users will drag and drop UI components within one of their templates, and can use one or more of the numerous plugins in order to build the functionality of the app.

BuildFire often bill themselves as the “WordPress of mobile apps”. This is reasonably accurate, as you essentially build apps using one of the templates (like a WordPress theme), and flesh out the functionality through plugins - although the infrastructure of plugins is of course less mature than that of WordPress.

BuildFire also provides a full managed service called BuildFire Plus, where their team does all the work compiling your app.

What is MobiLoud?

MobiLoud is a platform, combined with a service, for converting an existing website into iOS and Android apps.

We've built and perfected a software platform we use to convert websites into native mobile apps. The content on the app is fully synced with the website, making it easy to recreate your existing web experience, as well as being easy to maintain going forward.

The biggest difference between MobiLoud an other app builders is that MobiLoud provides full service for every user. We don't give you a platform and let you figure it out - we do all the heavy lifting for you, helping you launch an app fast, and with zero hassle.

MobiLoud’s service includes submission to Google Play and the App Store, and ongoing updates and maintenance for the lifetime of the apps.

MobiLoud vs BuildFire - The Key Differences

Here are the key differences between the two platforms. Read through them and you'll get a good idea whether MobiLoud is the BuildFire alternative for you.

Note that we're going to look at this as if you already have a website, and want to convert your website to an app. If you're looking to build an app from scratch, MobiLoud may not the best fit.

We'll compare MobiLoud to the self-service offering from BuildFire first, then break down how their full-service option differs from ours.

Convert your site vs build through templates

With BuildFire, you build through one of their templates and piece the functionality together through various widgets and plugins.

You may be able to sync some aspects of your app with the backend of your website. For example, if you're running an eCommerce site, you may be able to sync and import your product catalogue into the app.

However, the app will be distinct from your web presence - except for the shared branding. You're going to have to build something new for the app (which will give you another platform to maintain as well).

News apps built with MobiLoud News
News apps built with MobiLoud

As all MobiLoud apps are built from websites, there is no question about whether the apps will sync with your existing backend - it’s a given.

There are no “templates” - instead, we add native code around your existing site that gives a native mobile user experience and puts your web content in app form, without needing to rebuild anything.

Get a look at the process, and how MobiLoud can help you reach your business goals, with a free, no-obligation discovery call now.

Done for you vs DIY

BuildFire users are responsible for building their own apps. If you read the case studies on the site, many users spend a couple of months hacking together the apps. It’s up to you to figure out how the app will work, and how to make it happen within the limitations of the template and wider platform.

MobiLoud is a great alternative in this respect because we do everything for you.

We handle everything - the build process, writing native code for your apps, adding mobile UI elements to your app (such as a native tab menu, splash screens, push notifications, login screens), and submitting your app store listings (we guarantee approval as well!)

We start with a strategy call where we define the vision for the app, then our team will even do custom development work to tweak your mobile user experience to ensure your app comes out at the highest quality.

It’s a hands off process, guaranteeing a solid result, and will be done and ready to test in under two weeks.

Use your existing features vs build your own

With BuildFire, you can’t directly reuse any features or functionality from your existing site or database.

There may be ways to replicate some basic functionality through plugins, and then customize it to hook it up with a back end. It’s safe to assume that it will be difficult and tradeoffs will be required though.

BuildFire suggests that if you cannot find the plugin you need you can build it yourself. Needless to say you will not be able to build the exact plugin you want unless hire a skilled developer to dedicate significant time to the project. This largely defeats the purpose of using an app builder in the first place.

MobiLoud is a great BuildFire alternative here because there is no rebuilding or heavy custom work to recreate your existing features. All your site's features, widgets, plugins, tools, and custom functionality from the web will work straight out of the box in the apps. We also have a pre built integration for WordPress, which is perfect for WordPress-based digital publishers.

On the backend, there's no need to worry about connecting anything to your existing database. MobiLoud apps use your existing web CMS as the backend as standard, and the apps will update automatically with any changes on your site - so there’s nothing extra to really manage or add to your workflow.

Limitations

The limitations of BuildFire are the limitations of their platform itself. If it doesn’t fit into the templates, and there isn’t a plugin for it - you’re pretty much stuck or reliant on paying them thousands of dollars to find a workaround.

That said, we can see that they have pre-built modules for a lot of use cases. The real limitations are going to be in terms of connecting your apps to external data sources and integrating them into your existing workflows. This will be tricky and expensive.

The limitations of MobiLoud are the limitations of the web itself. If you want something in your apps that can only be achieved through custom built native apps - like using the accelerometer or facial recognition - then you need to build natively. But if it is possible on the web, it is possible with MobiLoud apps.

For most cases - translating the web presence to app form is more than enough for building solid apps.

Support

BuildFire seems to offer decent customer support through a ticket system. If you need specific support from a developer it will be billed at $250/h. Higher tiers get different levels of support, and BuildFire has an extensive library of tutorials and documentation to work it out if need be.

At MobiLoud, we give personalized on-on-one support to every customer. You will know our team by name, and have access to our product manager through email or Zoom if necessary.

Both MobiLoud and BuildFire help with app submission, but we guarantee approval.

We also provide all updates, bug fixes and maintenance for your apps as long as you're a MobiLoud user. It goes further than just offering support - we're your full app development partner, working closely with you to ensure your app remains successful for years to come.

App builders like BuildFire offer very limited help in comparison, only really concerned with helping you build an app, and leaving you on your own from there.

MobiLoud vs BuildFire pricing

Finally, let's look at the pricing options for each platform.

BuildFire Pricing

BuildFire’s plans start from $100 per month (paid annually), although this offers a very limited feature set.

For tablet support, full access to push notifications, full integrations and access to premium features, you'll want to go for either the Starter plan ($299 per month, paid annually) or Standard plan ($424 per month paid annually).

On both of these plans there is no developer support or dedicated account management included, you may need to buy premium plugins that range from $20 to $70 per month each depending on your need. If you want developer support, it is provided at $250/hr.

MobiLoud Pricing

MobiLoud offers several tiers, based on the size of your project.

  • Startup: $350 per month (paid monthly), $298 per month (paid annually) plus $1,500 setup fee.
  • Growth: $650 per month (paid monthly), $553 per month (paid annually) plus $2,500 setup fee.
  • Corporate: custom pricing and setup fee based on your requirements.

Each tier gives you the ability to convert your website into mobile apps, including unlimited push notifications, a ton of features, app store publishing handled for you, and hands on support from our team.

We also do extensive design and configuration work to tweak both your app and mobile web experience before launching.

Learn more about our pricing here.

Comparing BuildFire Pricing vs MobiLoud Pricing

Comparing the pricing options side-by-side, BuildFire comes out cheaper.

However, you're not exactly comparing apples to apples here. MobiLoud provides far more in terms of service, while BuildFire requires you to put time and effort into doing everything yourself.

If you spend 1-2 months putting your app together in BuildFire, the cost of your time or your team's time (on top of the opportunity cost) can easily eclipse the setup fee you'd pay with MobiLoud.

And that's for an app with more limitations, which may struggle to reflect your site's user experience and likely won't deliver as much revenue upon launch.

Going forward, the ongoing subscription costs are comparable - with MobiLoud providing more extensive, hands-on support for the meagre increase (if any) in cost.

MobiLoud vs BuildFire Plus

BuildFire Plus, BuildFire's managed app development service, is a lot closer to what MobiLoud provides.

It gives you access to a team of experts who compile an app for you, instead of leaving you to your own devices.

It comes with three options:

  • Premium ($5,000) - for small apps with up to 15 screens
  • Signature ($7,500) - for medium-sized apps with up to 25 screens
  • Enterprise ($15,000) - for large apps with up to 50 screens

This service, ultimately, is more expensive and more limiting than MobiLoud.

Our plans are as follows:

  • Startup ($1,500 setup fee + $298-$350 per month)
  • Growth ($2,500 setup fee + $553-$650 per month)

So MobiLoud lets you go to market with a lower initial investment than BuildFire Plus.

On top of that, BuildFire Plus still uses the BuildFire platform, so you're limited to what's possible from their app builder (unless you pay $5k+ extra, on top of the Enterprise plan, for custom functionality).

The Premium plan (the lowest option) is quite limited, with no promotional materials (e.g. app screenshots) provided, no assistance for integrations, and a limited number of screens. So you're looking at $7,500 minimum (but more likely $15,000) to get anything close to the service you get from MobiLoud.

On top of that, the BuildFire Plus pricing table mentions "platform training" (up to 3 hours on Signature, up to 5 hours on Enterprise), suggesting you'll need to maintain the app yourself (and likely buy a subscription) after the initial build.

It's likely still more affordable than hiring developers or paying an agency, but you're still looking at a huge investment for less service and a more limited offering than MobiLoud.

Why not just go with MobiLoud instead?

MobiLoud vs BuildFire - Who Are They For?

The two platforms have different ideal users.

BuildFire is good for those who are starting out with a specific idea for a relatively simple app in mind, but don’t have the skill or cash to get it built natively.

It works well for businesses that do not already have a primary web platform, or who want apps that are very different and not connected to the main site.

BuildFire is also for those who are looking for a project and willing to get their hands dirty a bit with some fiddling, and don’t mind the limitations of the templates. If you're a business owner who doesn't have underworked developers on-staff, this isn't practical.

MobiLoud is for established businesses that already have a successful website or web app - and want the advantages of mobile apps like push notifications, an App Store presence, increased loyalty and engagement, and a better mobile UX.

If it works well for the mobile web, it will also work well as mobile apps.

MobiLoud is also for those who want all the hassle of mobile app development done for them. Even with no-code tools, building a great app takes time, effort, and can be stressful if you're not a technical person.

MobiLoud handles everything - we've built over 2,000 apps, and will use that experience to deliver a first-class experience for you, and ship an amazing app in less than a month.

Get a free, personalized demo now and see how easy it is to build a great mobile app from your website.

MobiLoud vs BuildFire Reviews

It's natural to feel skeptical of what we say here, as we are naturally biased towards our own platform.

If you want to dive deeper and get impartial comparisons, check out real user reviews, and see what these people have to say about their experience.

The best places to check BuildFire reviews and MobiLoud reviews are:

MobiLoud vs BuildFire - Which is Better?

Whether MobiLoud or BuildFire is better depends on what you want to do.

BuildFire allows you to build apps from scratch, which can tap into mobile device features. If this is what you want to do, and you're happy building an app yourself, BuildFire is a good option.

MobiLoud is a BuildFire alternative for a specific use case. If you already have a successful website or web app, MobiLoud is undoubtedly better - a more effective and affordable route to the App Stores that allows you to keep all your web functionality.

Apps built with MobiLoud, from a variety of sites!
Apps built with MobiLoud, from a variety of sites!

If you don’t have a web platform to build off, we can't really help you there.

Other BuildFire Alternatives

There are other BuildFire alternatives that work in a slightly different way to MobiLoud. Some examples, if you want a drag-and-drop app builder, are:

If you want to convert a website or web app to mobile apps though, none of these other BuildFire alternatives are ideal - but MobiLoud is, for the following reasons:

  • Keep all your plugins, features, and tools that you already use on the web
  • Hands-on developer support on all plans
  • Manage everything from your existing codebase
  • Unlimited push notifications on all plans

If you’re already successful on the web, forget about building mobile apps from scratch, especially through a template-based builder. You’ll struggle to tediously rebuild what you already have, and you’ll never recreate it optimally.

A social media app built with MobiLoud
A social media app built with MobiLoud

If you're convinced that MobiLoud is the BuildFire alternative for you, get in touch and book a free demo now. We'll help you build the app you want, without the overhead.

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