Do you run a popular, high-traffic news site? If so, you should have your own news app.
Building your own mobile application will improve the user experience for your readers, leading to increased readership and revenue. It will also help legitimize your brand as a professional and trustworthy source in your niche.
In this article we’re going to go a little deeper into the benefits, and show you how to make a news app in the most effective, efficient way possible with MobiLoud News.
Why Create a News App?
We’re going to assume a few things:
- You are a digital publisher running a successful news site or blog
- Your goals include growing your audience, engagement, and revenue
If this describes you, then you’re in an ideal position to build a successful news app and get great benefits, such as:
- A better mobile UX
- A channel you 100% own
- An opportunity to boost revenue
- A stronger brand
Let’s have a closer look at each of these benefits now.
A more engaging mobile UX
Think about how your readers – the majority of whom are likely on mobile devices – land on your articles now.
They have to be reminded of you through an email, a social media post, or just be loyal enough to habitually check your site for new content. If you’re really lucky, perhaps you get some of your articles picked up on Google News or another kind of news aggregator.
When someone does click through to your site, they have to wait for everything to load and navigate a clunky mobile browser.
Overall, it’s not optimal from a discovery or a UX point of view.
Contrast this to the experience with a news app. Firstly, you’re much more visible from the get go. Your app icon is always there on the home screen as a constant reminder, and you have push notifications to alert your audience to new content or breaking news.
One tap and they’re in. Then, the experience within native news apps is much better than on the web. While the mobile web has improved enormously, it’s still a bolted-on concept from the desktop era.
Apps are an experience native to smartphones. They are lightning fast, have more intuitive navigation, and are “self-enclosed” without distractions like other browser tabs.
An Owned Channel
It’s a bad idea to rely on other businesses for traffic and exposure. A lot of publishers did this with social media platforms over the last decade and got burned.
Ultimately these platforms only care about surfacing your content to the extent that it benefits them. They can also unilaterally turn off the tap, as Australian publishers recently learned the hard way.
Building news apps is a way to create a channel that is far less dependent on the whims of tech platforms. Nobody arbitrarily restricts your reach, or tells you how you should engage with your audience.
A home for loyal readers
A news app is a great way to build loyalty. Audience loyalty is the key to thriving in the modern era as a publisher. Apps improve total loyalty in two main ways.
In the first place, they self-select your most loyal audience members. Downloading the app is itself an act of loyalty.
They then give you the chance to deepen their loyalty through the improved user experience and better communication through push notifications.
Secondly, apps become a part of a “loyalty funnel”. If you promote them well on your site and through other channels, new readers will download them and start down the path of deeper loyalty.
News apps allow you to boost revenue in two ways. Firstly by running in-app ads, secondly by boosting subscriptions.
As we’ve mentioned, app users are hyper-engaged. This makes apps a valuable channel to sell ads through. Again, Simple Flying are a good example:
“94 articles per month for an average app user. And obviously there’s ad revenue attached to that as well with over 1.6 million screen views I’m getting with the apps. It’s a nice, almost passive income for the business as a whole”
When you create a news app with MobiLoud, we integrate with all the top in-app ad networks so you can start earning a passive income for your own business too.
But what if you don’t monetize through ads? A lot of publishers have been turning to audience revenue through paid subscription programs in recent years. If this is you, apps can give you a real boost.
Subscription models live and die on reader loyalty, which apps help to increase. You can sell subscriptions through the apps themselves, and you can also make the app for subscribers only to increase the value of your offer.
All the top publishers have mobile apps as a key channel. Check out the popular news apps from The New York Times, Quartz, The Guardian, BBC News, or any other big name for a taste of what’s possible.
When you build similar apps for your own business, it can take your brand up a level. You look more professional and established – and show audience members that you really care about giving them a superior user experience.
The Power of Push Notifications
We touched on push notifications already, but it’s worth mentioning again how great these can be for your site.
Push notifications are tailor-made for a news application. They can be used for breaking news alerts, daily news summaries, or just regular updates to send relevant stories to the user.
Push notifications get far higher open rates than any other communication channel (e.g. email), allowing you to boost user engagement in a way that’s not possible without an app.
Who Should Build a News App?
Any site whose value comes from a steady stream of new, up-to-date content should build a news app.
Building your own app is a great fit for regional news firms, e.g. the New York Times (though your site doesn’t need to be on that scale, obviously).
It’s also a great fit for news sites centered on specific topics, like business news or political news.
You can make free news apps or premium/subscription-based sites. You can build a news aggregator app, like Google News or Yahoo News, and display a simple news feed full of relevant news reports from various sources.
Even sites that publish user-generated content, or magazine-style (not specifically news) content can benefit from building a news app, e.g. Buzzfeed-style sites.
Examples of Successful News Applications
Let’s look at a few news app examples to get a good idea of what you can build with MobiLoud News. These are all news apps that were built on our platform, so check them out on your own devices to get an idea of what you can build for your own brand.
1) Simple Flying
Simple flying is a great example of a news app. Built with MobiLoud News, Simple Flying updates automatically with anything new on the main website, alerts users to new content with push notifications, and generates revenue through in-app ads.
2) Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy magazine are a global brand, well-known to anybody who follows current events or global news. They decided that a news app was the next evolution of their brand, and used MobiLoud News to get the job done. The apps are subscriber only, and very popular with audience members.
3) Deeper Blue
Deeper Blue is a cool news site focusing on scuba diving and ocean conservation. They built news apps to offer readers a better experience on mobile and have had a lot of success with them.
eParisExtra are a local news outlet serving several communities across Texas. They decided to build news apps to improve their brand image and serve their readers better.
5) Hill Reporter
Hill Reporter focuses on American politics and decided to build news apps as part of a strategy to improve reader retention.
Two Kinds of News App
We can break news applications down into two categories:
- Digital edition
- Infinite scroll
Digital edition apps are for more traditional publishers that create digital replicas of weekly or monthly editions. This is a leftover from the legacy print media world, converting the edition format into PDF or HTML5 documents that can be read on mobile devices.
If this is your workflow, and you publish digital editions on a weekly or monthly basis – you can build a digital edition app. these apps will allow your audience to open, download and scroll through your online magazine or newspaper issues. If you want to build digital edition apps a good choice is MagLoft.
We don’t build digital edition apps, so we won’t discuss them any more in this article.
What about if you don’t publish editions, but rather articles on a blog or news site? This is the more modern way of publishing, serving audience members a continuous stream of content and covering stories as they happen.
In this case you can build infinite scroll news apps. These apps take the content from your site, and serve it through news apps in a list of articles. These apps are more fitting for the smartphone era, giving readers a more convenient and engaging way to connect with your content.
MobiLoud News builds infinite scroll news apps – taking your existing site and converting it into native iOS apps and Android apps. If you run a WordPress news site and want to build apps, News is for you. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Why You Should Create a News App with MobiLoud News
When first considering the options for building a news app, publishers often look into custom development through hiring app developers or an agency.
This is a very high risk way to go, because it costs tens of thousands of dollars and there’s no guarantee of a great end result. It’ll be a major project to manage, will take several months minimum – and the work will never really end with ongoing maintenance and updates.
MobiLoud News cuts down the barriers to news app development. You can get your news app built and launched in just a couple of weeks – for a manageable investment. The result is guaranteed, and there’s nothing demanding to do on your end.
Your app will look just like any popular news app from your favorite media brand, and it will sync with your existing site and systems – without any risk.
Let’s look at exactly how you’ll build a news app with MobiLoud News.
How to Make a News App with MobiLoud
So how does MobiLoud News work? News takes WordPress publisher sites, and converts them into native mobile apps. We built and refined a platform over the years that pulls content from your site through our WordPress plugin into customizable native containers that are designed specifically to create world-class news apps.
News app plugin
The News plugin is where you’ll configure your apps. You can do everything from your WordPress dashboard – no code required. With the plugin, you’ll configure:
- Design – add your logos, choose the nav bar color scheme, and select the thumbnail size on the article list
- Menus – define the menu structure of your apps, and how they’ll sync up with your WordPress menus. You’ll also choose whether to enable tabbed navigation.
- Article list – the article list is the heart of the app, you’ll have a lot of options to configure it to best fit your goals
- Related posts & comments – a great way to boost engagement in your news app.
- Advertising – we integrate with all major ad platforms, and you can easily set up banner ads, interstitials, and native ads throughout your app.
- Subscriptions – if you wish to sell subscriptions within your news app, you can set this up and customize the sign-up flow
- Analytics – we integrate with Google and Facebook app analytics, which you can set up easily.
- Push notifications – all our plans come with unlimited push notifications, which you’ll set up and send from the plugin. You can send notifications automatically and manually whenever you like!
- Login & paywall – if you want to have your app behind a login, this is easy to set up. We also have pre-built integrations with many major paywalls.
As you can see, the News plugin gives you a lot of handy options for setting up your news application. That’s just a sample though – you can do a lot more.
Code editor & advanced features
Our own team are on hand to make advanced customizations too. Over hundreds of news apps we’ve seen almost every edge case and requirement that you could have, and will have a solution ready to match your vision.
Here’s what the process looks like with MobiLoud’s news app builder:
- Book a demo call with one of our app experts to kick things off
- Install the News plugin on your site
- Use the plugin to configure the key parts
- Our team builds the apps on our platform
- You test the apps and we test them thoroughly too
- We handle submission and publishing on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
- We handle all ongoing updates and maintenance on the apps
MobiLoud News is a full service
MobiLoud is not just an automated tool, it’s a service. We handle all technical elements of the app build, give fast and personalized support, and handle all ongoing updates and maintenance which saves you thousands every year.
We obsess over small but important details, and do everything we can to make your apps a success. You’ll know our team members by name, and you’ll be able to get in touch with us through email or Zoom whenever you need.
When you create a news app with MobiLoud, you’re getting a team of app experts by your site to make your project a resounding success.
MobiLoud News is zero risk
We have no long-term contracts, so you’re not tied into anything if you decide that a news app isn’t for you. You’re also covered by a 60-day money back guarantee, and can cancel with a full refund for any reason within that period.
There’s truly no risk to you. We’ve built apps for everyone from small startups to internationally famous brands, and can guarantee you a first rate news app. But if you decide that apps aren’t for you after all, you can always cancel and move on to other projects having lost nothing!
Start Building your News App Today
All you need is a WordPress News site, and you can have a world-class news app that takes your brand to the next level. You can read more about News here, and hear about the experiences of our clients here.
Sign up for News today and you can move fast, launching on the App Store and Google Play in just a few weeks.
Ready to get started? It’s as easy as getting on a brief call with one of our app experts. They’ll go over all your requirements, and explain the platform in depth. You’ll sign up, configure the apps – then we’ll get them ready for launch in just weeks!
Let’s get started – book a demo today!