Content sites like The Phoblographer all face similar struggles at some point in their growth trajectory. Do you sell out, and pepper your site with cheap affiliate links? How do you balance showing ads while keeping your user experience clean and inviting? And how do you keep your content interesting and original, when Google wants everything to be the same?
The Phoblographer decided the answer was to create mobile apps for their site - and this decision has already delivered results.
Read on to learn more about their journey, and how MobiLoud helped.
What is The Phoblographer, and What Do They Do?
The Phoblographer is a magazine-style site dedicated to photographers. Established in 2009, they publish content on everything for passionate photographers, including:
- Camera reviews
- Lens reviews
- Buying guides for photography gear
- Informational content
- Editorial features and interviews with photographers
Unlike a lot of content sites, they do all this with an express focus on transparency, ethics and authenticity. They're not just out to make a quick buck - but as a small business, the question of how to grow revenue (without going against their mission statement) is still a fair concern.
Why They Created an App
Phoblographer founder Chris Gampat oversees all the content published on the site, along with their monetization and innovation initiatives.
He found they were at something of a crossroads. He wanted the site to keep up with trends in the online space, maintain what Google wanted to see from a website, and utilize display ads to keep revenue ticking over. Yet he felt they had to keep the same focus on inclusivity, authenticity, and ethical content that had brought them success over the last 13 years.
He needed a way to take full control over the content they produced, and not have to make concessions to their brand.
"It was really about giving us control over the content, to make [the site] something that people want to enjoy and curl up with, rather than having to always conform to one thing that Google wants or that Apple wants. And I feel with an app you get more control versus what you have with the mobile web."
An app would give them an owned channel - a channel where they could publish content directly to their audience, without needing to worry so much about conforming to what another platform wanted them to be.
The other issue was monetization. There's only so much you can do with banner ads - try to scale these too far, and it's going to detract from the user experience.
A better option was to build out their membership program, which offered ad-free viewing along with a range of perks, such as discounts on some major photography brands.
And when it comes to developing a membership program full of loyal subscribers, an app is the perfect tool to help.
Taking Control and Building a Membership Program - With the Help of the App
A mobile app self-selects your most loyal users. When someone downloads the app, they're telling you that they love your brand, and they want to consume your content on a regular basis.
For Chris, the hardest part was getting people to download the app in the first place. But once overcoming that hurdle, the app became a brilliant tool to get people to become loyal, regular users.
"I have people that are subscribers now saying, ever since downloading your app, you are the only photo site that I go to."
Full control over the content and user experience on the app also allowed them to keep their reputation as one of the most trustworthy and original publishers in their space.
"When I think about our clients I also think about our advertisers, and the other companies that we work with - Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Leica, Sony, all of these manufactures and lens manufacturers. When I showed the app to them, they were very excited, because they’ve also known us to be a step away from other websites in some way or another, even though we are not the largest. Some of our competitors are owned by Amazon, some of them also strip content from the web and they know we only carry original content.
When they saw you could get all this original content in this bite-sized app, they were pretty ecstatic."
Convert Your Site to Mobile Apps Today
"MobiLoud came at the right time, as I was thinking about other features and the future of the site."
MobiLoud presented the perfect option to help Chris and his team build a mobile app version of their existing site.
Small businesses like The Phoblographer don't have the resources to spend on a development team to code fully native apps from the ground up. They don't need this either - they need a simple app that fully replicates what already works on their website, and that's what MobiLoud does.
It's worked for The Phoblographer, as well as numerous other successful case studies.
Click here to get a free, personalized demo to see how MobiLoud works, and what it can do for your site.
The Phoblographer is a site dedicated to photographers, featuring interviews, educational content, gear reviews and more, all presented in an ethical and transparent manner.