How To Convert A MemberPress Site To A Native Mobile App

Do you use the MemberPress plugin to manage a membership or subscription-based WordPress site? If so, building a mobile app for your site should be a high priority.

By converting your site to native apps for iOS and Android, you can significantly increase usage rates and similar metrics, which will translate to an increase in retention and decrease in churn.

The best part is, building a WordPress membership app is a lot easier than you’d expect. You don’t have to dish out tens of thousands of dollars hiring developers to code your app, and you don’t need to wait 6+ months for the project to come to completion. With a tool like MobiLoud Canvas, you can be up and running in just a matter of weeks.

Learn More: all you need to know about converting a WordPress site to mobile apps.

Benefits of Converting Your Site to a Mobile App

Why bother converting your site to a mobile app in the first place? After all, people probably can (and do) use your site on mobile browsers already. There’s a good chance your site is optimized for mobile, and you might think this is enough to cater to people who want to access it on their smartphones.

Today, a mobile-optimized website is the price of admission. More than half of people who access the internet do so on mobile devices. So your site working on mobile is the bare minimum.

But you should aspire to more than just the bare minimum. Mobile websites are fine, but they’re not perfect for mobile users. The user experience is lacking, and you miss out on some additional benefits for retention, loyalty and brand presence that only an app can give you.

Here are the top benefits you get from converting your mobile-optimized site to an actual mobile app:

User Experience

Mobile websites are usable on smartphones, but they’re not ideal.

The browser tabs are distracting, and get in the way - especially with smaller screen sizes. You don’t have the benefit of native mobile menus and navigation, which makes it a much smoother user experience.

It’s also a huge advantage for the user to be able to open the app with one tap, instead of typing the URL every time.

Once they’re in, the app is going to load faster, with key elements downloaded to the device, as opposed to loading remotely from a server every time. All of this adds up to an easier time for your users, which is good for you as well.

Loyalty & Retention

Apps are a great way to boost retention, and nurture a loyal base of users.

That’s a big thing for any business, but it’s especially important for membership sites. Your success is tied to how long you can keep people as paying members. So it’s vital that you keep people coming back to your site.

The better user experience plays a part in this. People are more likely to return if they enjoy using your site/app.

But apps themselves are excellent at building loyalty. When someone downloads your app, they’re self-selecting themselves as loyal users. They’re instantly more likely to spend more time in the app, because the app icon is constantly there, on their device’s home screen.

Giving people the option of an app is the least you can do to encourage people to use the site more often.

You can also use push notifications to further boost retention and usage rates. Push notifications are a powerful way to get in touch with your users, and make it super easy - just one tap - to open the app from the notification.

Decreased Churn

The real value in increasing retention and usage rates is in decreasing churn. This should be one of the most important points to focus on if you’re running a membership site.

This holds true for any kind of membership - whether the membership is for a course, community, subscriber-only content, or anything in between. It’s easier, and worth more to you, to keep your users subscribed for longer than to focus on getting new users.

An app is perfect to help to reduce churn. The improved UX will keep them happier and more engaged, and as a vehicle for increased usage and retention, you’ll have fewer users who cancel because of inactivity.

Brand Presence

Having an app is also a huge boost for your brand. It adds a layer of legitimacy - when people see you’ve got a mobile app, your brand instantly seems that much bigger and more trustworthy.

This is doubly true for getting into the app stores. The App Store and Google Play logos are great social proof signals to add to your site, which are likely to drive more conversions. These channels can also provide additional signups themselves, through people finding your app through the app stores.

How to Build Your App

For many of you, the benefits above don’t need much argument. Makes perfect sense, right?

The issue, for most, is execution. How are you going to build a fully functional, native mobile app, particularly if you don’t know how to code one? Isn’t this the kind of thing that only huge brands have the resources to pull off?

Not quite. If you do it the hard way, this is a project that will set you back tens of thousands of dollars, multiple months, and a head full of gray hairs. But with other ways, almost all businesses - large and small - can easily go live with their own native apps.

Here’s a breakdown on a few options to build your app.

Learn more: Low-Code vs No-Code vs Developer: what's the best way to build an app?

Native Development

First is the most obvious choice - coding your app from scratch. You could hire mobile developers (assuming you don’t have this expertise on your team) to code native mobile apps, and link the apps to your membership site.

Let’s take a quick look at how this would work. First, you would need to find and hire the talent to build your apps. For a specialized field like this, it’s not going to come cheap - particularly as you’ll likely need to hire at least two developers (one to code the Android app, one for the iOS app), as well as a project manager.

The developers will build the front end of your apps, before building an API to connect these apps to your website. This is a pretty complex job, which will take some time (all the while you’re paying high developer rates).

And it’s going to be made even more complex if you need to integrate a membership system into your app (and have this stay consistent across app and web).

All up, you can expect it to take 6+ months, and come in at a price of $50,000 or more.

On top of that, you’ll need to keep developers on hand (or hire other freelancers) to maintain and update your apps, which will add on around 10% of the initial cost each year.

All together, building natively is just too complex, time-consuming and expensive for most sites. That’s why we recommend another option.

Low-Code or No-Code App Builders

Today, there are a lot of tools out there that allow you to build mobile apps without coding (or at least very little coding required). These no-code app builders can do some pretty powerful things, and even skilled developers utilize them to build apps in a shorter time frame than manual coding.

No-code and low-code are decent alternatives to manual development today, but you may struggle to properly convert your MemberPress site to mobile apps with one of these tools. You’re going to need a tool that provides an integration for MemberPress, so all your subscription data can remain consistent across app and website.

Along with that, it’s going to take a fair bit of effort to build your app, even with the simplicity of drag-and-drop visual builders. It’s easier and cheaper than manual development, but still not ideal if your goal is to convert what already works for you on your website.

Converting Your Site to Apps with MobiLoud Canvas

There’s one tool that’s an exception to the norm when it comes to no-code app builders. This tool is the best option for you to build mobile apps for your MemberPress site, without the need to write code or hire developers.

MobiLoud Canvas converts your site, and 100% of its existing functionality, to mobile apps for Android and iOS. You’re not rebuilding it, like you would with a traditional no-code app builder. Instead, you package your mobile-optimized website inside your mobile apps, in what is essentially a dedicated browser for your app.

Everything is handled by the MobiLoud team - building your apps, testing them, publishing to the app stores, as well as maintaining and updating your apps.

It’s the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to build mobile apps that are completely synced with your existing membership setup.

Advantages of Using Canvas for Your WordPress Membership App

MobiLoud Canvas ticks all the boxes for what you need in a mobile app builder.

To start with, it comes with a fraction of the time and cost of native development. You’ll go live with your apps in a matter of weeks, not months, at perhaps 2-3% of the cost.

On top of that, the result will likely be better than if you build a new app from scratch. That’s because your app is your website, seamlessly converted into native mobile app format.

Everything that already works on your site will work in your apps - your membership system, any themes, any plugins, as well as custom features. This is the most difficult thing to get right, whether you use a no-code builder or hire developers, when converting your site to mobile apps.

Canvas allows you to maintain your existing user experience, while adding native mobile elements, such as navigation, menus, splash screens and push notifications.

It also makes it easier to maintain your app, because everything is completely in-sync. If you make changes to your site, the app versions update as well.

The service element from Canvas is the icing on the cake. You get hands-on service, both while building your app, and for ongoing updates and maintenance.

With a traditional no-code builder, you’re on your own here. While if you hire developers to code your app, you’ll also need to pay them for updates and bugfixes - a cost that never goes away.

All in all, MobiLoud Canvas is the best choice for so many different reasons. It’s hard to justify going with any other option to convert your MemberPress site to mobile apps.

How to Get Started

Converting your MemberPress site to mobile apps with MobiLoud Canvas is extremely simple. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process.

  1. Get in touch with us and book a free demo. We’ll discuss your project and confirm whether or not Canvas is right for you.
  2. Sign up for Canvas. There are no long-term contracts required, just a manageable monthly fee that gives you continued support, updates and maintenance.
  3. Configure your mobile apps. We do all the heavy lifting, and the bulk of your app - your mobile-optimized site - is done already. All that’s left to do here is set up the mobile-specific features, such as mobile UI elements and push notifications.
  4. Pass it on to our team. We’ll put your apps together in around two weeks or less.
  5. Once the initial version is ready, test your apps on your own devices, and let us know any further change requests you have.
  6. We’ll go ahead and complete your app builds, and publish your apps to the app stores for you.

The entire process might take less time than it would just to find the right developers, if you were having your apps manually coded. Along with that, it’s a tiny fraction of the cost, and leaves you with each of your platforms - web, Android and iOS - completely in sync, which makes it easier to manage long-term.

Canvas is the clear winner if you want to convert your MemberPress site to mobile apps. Get in touch with us today and get the ball rolling on your project.

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