DeeperBlue.com is one of the world’s oldest and largest diving communities and information sites.
Tens of thousands of visitors a month enjoy their articles and guides on freediving, scuba, spearfishing and ocean conservation. They publish daily news, features, hints and tips, and cover events like the world championships.
One of their most successful channels is their native apps on iOS and Android, which we were proud to build for them.
The apps have been live for five years now, so we caught up with Stephan Whelan, founder and publisher at DeeperBlue, to share his story.
Why did DeeperBlue decide to build an app?
DeeperBlue have been around for over 20 years, so they’ve seen it all come and go as far as web and mobile technology. The growing dominance of mobile over the last few years was something new though for a site that had been around since the 90s.
“We’ve seen every kind of tech unfold. The real shift to mobile-first meant that we started looking into native applications though”
Native apps are the best way to reach your audience on mobile, and in 2019 mobile is where they spend most of their time.
Apps provide a convenient home for your most loyal and engaged audience members that even the best mobile sites can’t compare to. As Stephan put it:
“It’s about getting the right information to the right people at the right time”
This is exactly what native content apps do and why they’re an ideal fit for any publishing or media brand. Five years is a long time in tech though, and the choice wasn’t quite so obvious back in 2014.
Stephan saw the opportunity clearly though.
“There was a gap for us. The mobile web was relatively immature. So the best way of reaching our audience on mobile was on a native app. We kept analyzing new and interesting ways of getting to our audience. MobiLoud really filled that space after we’d analyzed the market and realized that an app was the best route to mobile”
After realizing that native apps were the way to go, Stephan and the DeeperBlue team started weighing the options.
“We had a few options open. We could have developed our own native application, but that looked like quite a costly option for us”
Developing the app in-house or through an agency is usually the first option people consider. This is the old way of doing things.
The problem with this route is that it often takes many months, tens of thousands of dollars, and the headache of managing a large project and teams of developers.
There’s a more efficient option that delivers the same results in days, not months and at a fraction of the cost.
“We used WordPress as our backend. So we were trying to figure out if there was a solution out there that would natively work with WordPress but would provide a native experience for users who wanted it”
This is exactly what our solution does. We work with WordPress based digital publishers to build powerful apps off their existing WordPress sites.
The apps mirror your existing site, and update automatically with any new content you publish. There’s very little to add to your existing workflow and you can manage everything through your existing WordPress backend.
“We found MobiLoud. It was amazing and ticked all the boxes. The apps could natively integrate with WordPress, provide full native functionality, and they have a great support model. They helped us to avoid the cost and difficulties of building our own app, while providing the same end result”
Like every new project, things started off with a consultation with one of our app experts.
We go through all your requirements and what your vision for the app, then we work out a roadmap to get there. Every project is unique and custom, so if there’s a feature you really want chances are we can make it happen.
“We’re a niche content site. The challenge is that every dollar counts. So when we were looking at MobiLoud it was an ongoing investment, but we felt that looking at all the features that MobiLoud provided it versus the actual cost, it was the best return on investment for us”
Building the DeeperBlue Apps
Within a few weeks we had test versions of the app ready for Stephan and the team to try out, and the final apps ready and published within a month.
“It all just worked when we first started using it”
Stephan was happy with the apps from the very beginning. Their readers love them too!
The apps have been a great success, and have made a real impact on the DeeperBlue brand.
“There is a constant stream of downloads during the course of each week and month People consistently come back and say they like using the app. In fact, even my own team of writers and editors use the app as their primary way of getting news”
With advanced app analytics and push notifications - not to mention a host of other features - understanding their readers and connecting with them is simple and effective.
If you already have a high traffic WordPress site, building apps on iOS and Android is the best way to grow your brand.
“Both our users and staff-base find it an incredibly convenient way of doing things. A little alert pops up on their phone, which means that they keep abreast of what's going on”
An Ongoing Relationship
We take care of the entire build process, customizations, and publishing the apps on Google Play and the App Store.
That isn’t the end of the deal though.
We provide a full service that never leaves your side, making sure that the apps keep performing optimally and taking care of any ongoing updates and maintenance.
“In the ongoing relationship, our implementation of WordPress and our requirements around the mobile app have changed over the years. All the way through, MobiLoud and the team there have always been very supportive”
Technology shifts, the platforms change their rules, new features are released.
“There have been a few times we’ve installed some new functionality or done some new development on WordPress that caused something funky in the app"
We’re here the whole time to take care of all the necessities.
“The MobiLoud team would always just jump on it. They’ve been amazing and in a few days we always have a new version of the app out that means we don’t lose any functionality”
The Perfect Fit For Content Publishers
We asked Stephan to sum up his overall experience of working with us.
“Clients and readers, no matter the industry, are interested in getting things through their phone. 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”
We’re grateful to Stephan for his kind words and to the team at DeeperBlue for being great customers over the years. We look forward to continuing a great relationship with an interesting publishing brand.
We can help your brand get on the App Stores fast and affordably too.
If you run a high traffic site and are willing to share ad revenue generated by the apps, you will likely quality for our Publisher Program. You'll get iOS and Android apps as good as The New York Times or Huffpost, at no upfront cost to you!