In this article, we’re going to show you the best way to create a mobile app from a Joomla website.
Joomla is a flexible tool that allows you to do a lot of different things with your website or web app. But Joomla does not give you the ability to build and publish true mobile apps.
This is important because mobile is the most popular way for people around the world to access the internet today, by a decent margin.
There's a strong likelihood that half of your site visitors, give or take, access you on mobile. To give them the best user experience, and increase retention and engagement of these users, you need a mobile app.
Read on to learn more about why you should turn your Joomla website into mobile apps, and why MobiLoud Canvas is the best way to do it.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is a free, open-source CMS (content management system), powering millions of websites. Joomla is currently one of the top 5 CMS by market share, with a market size similar to Shopify, Squarespace and Wix.
Joomla is a lot like WordPress, in that it is completely free, and allows a lot of flexibility with how you build your website or web app.
While WordPress is very straightforward and easy for beginners to use, Joomla is a little more advanced, catered more towards people with a degree of technical ability.
Of course, if you’ve already got a website built on Joomla, you’ll know this already. You may also have optimized your site to be fast and user-friendly on mobile. But there’s a limit to how well you can optimize your mobile user experience with Joomla alone.
Why You Should Build a Mobile App
The statistics we introduced earlier show that, in all likelihood, over half of your traffic comes on mobile.
But wait, there’s more. People spend approximately 90% of their time on mobile devices using mobile apps, versus mobile browsers.
That’s because apps offer a made-for-mobile experience. With a mobile browser, even if the site is perfectly optimized for mobile, there’s still the feeling that what you’re viewing was really made for desktop.
If you want to give your mobile users the experience they want, you need to give it to them in an app.
Here are the four biggest reasons why you should create a mobile app for your Joomla site:
As we’ve already touched on, the UX with a mobile app is far better than accessing a site or app through the mobile browser.
Mobile apps offer native tab menus and navigation, as opposed to clunky, bolted-on menus and invasive tabs of mobile websites.
Mobile websites tend to load slower, are tougher to navigate, and require you to type the URL in every time (or load it from a bookmark), which is an unnecessary hassle to put your user through.
Engagement and retention
Offering mobile users a better user experience means you’ll see higher levels of engagement. They’ll spend more time on your app, and take more meaningful actions.
They’ll also be more likely to return. Partly because they know the user experience is tailored to their needs. But also because you’re able to occupy a part of their headspace with a launcher icon on their home screen.
This helps your users remember you, and makes it easy - just one click - to fire up your app.
One of the most powerful features of mobile apps are push notifications.
These are a more effective way of getting in touch with your users than just about anything else. They offer engagement rates far exceeding anything you can expect from email, social media or any other channel.
While push notifications can work on mobile websites, they’re unreliable and only available on Android devices. To unlock the full power of push notifications, you need a mobile app.
App store presence
Finally, building an app allows you to publish in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Both can be powerful new acquisition channels for your app or website, as well as providing a strong boost to your brand’s social proof.
2 Ways to Turn Your Joomla Website Into a Mobile App
Though you can optimize your Joomla website to run faster and smoother on mobile, you can’t actually publish a true mobile app with Joomla.
So, to build your app, you’ll need to look to another avenue. There are two options open to you. You can rebuild your app in a native mobile programming language, or use MobiLoud Canvas to convert what you already have into mobile apps.
Let’s look at those two options now:
Your first option is to rebuild everything from scratch as a mobile app.
If you really need full control over every corner of your app, then this is the best way to do it. But 99% of the time, rebuilding from scratch simply isn’t worth it.
Time and money for a start. Building a native mobile app from scratch isn’t cheap. Projects run well into the tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a long journey too, taking months to complete, and requiring constant back-and-forth with developers.
We should say as well that this price and time frame is if all goes well. There’s still the chance that the developer or agency you work with produces something you’re not happy with, and the project drags on.
Don’t forget you’ll also need to build separate apps in separate languages for Android and iOS, which adds to the bill, and the complexity.
At the end of it all, you’ll have two separate platforms to maintain. When you update content on your website, you need to go ahead and update it on the app as well. It’ll be a nightmare to maintain, and a nightmare for your users as well, if they want to access your site on mobile sometimes and desktop others.
Hybrid or ”Wrapper” App
The better way to turn your Joomla website into a mobile app is as a hybrid or “wrapper” app.
This is an app that displays the content from your Joomla site in a native app casing. This means you get the use of mobile app elements, such as native navigation, tabs and menus, as well as push notifications. Yet you don’t need to rebuild anything.
You’ll be able to manage everything from one place. When you update your site in Joomla, the app updates automatically. When users take actions on your desktop site or app, those actions reflect on the other platform too.
It’s far superior to rebuilding natively when it comes to upkeep and maintenance. And the time and money you’ll invest is not even close.
While building a native app is a hugely expensive, time-intensive project, MobiLoud Canvas lets you create a wrapper app, which performs just as well, at a fraction of the price. It takes just a few weeks, which means you can start reaping the benefits of your mobile app far, far quicker.
How to Create a Mobile App from a Joomla Website with MobiLoud
You’re going to be surprised just how easy it is to convert your Joomla site to mobile apps with MobiLoud Canvas.
Here’s a look at how it works:
- Start by booking a demo call with our team. We’ll walk you through the process and help you decide whether Canvas is the right choice.
- Sign up for Canvas. You won’t need to commit to any long-term contracts, and you can get a full refund within 60 days if you’re not satisfied for any reason.
- Customize how you want your mobile apps to look and work. If you’d prefer, our team can also handle the whole process for you.
- We build your apps. You just need to wait while we do all the work.
- In a few days, you’ll be able to test your apps. Check that everything works like you want it to.
- Once you give the go-ahead, we handle the submission and publishing process on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
That’s it - supremely cheaper and faster than paying a developer or agency.
Why Choose MobiLoud?
We’ve established that wrapper apps are the way to go to build mobile apps for your Joomla website.
This solution allows you to go live with your mobile apps in weeks, not months, without making a huge investment, and without ending up with two separate platforms to manage.
MobiLoud Canvas allows you to build wrapper apps and go live in the app stores faster than you thought possible. But the differentiating feature we offer is our service.
Canvas is not just a platform or a tool. We work with you the whole way, to ensure the app meets your expectations.
We build, test, submit and publish your apps. And it doesn’t stop there - we also handle updates and maintenance going forward. There’s no need to keep an expensive mobile developer on staff, or risk things going wrong when you update your site.
Men’s fashion brand John Varvatos used Canvas to build their mobile app, and the team raved about the white glove treatment they got from MobiLoud.
“The team at MobiLoud held my hand to ensure our app was done properly from the beginning to the day we released it. Everything from App Notifications, Analytics and Registering with Apple/Google, they were there along the way.”
- Nick Barbarise, Director of IT
You can get the same by using MobiLoud Canvas for your Joomla mobile app.
The Final Product - Your Joomla Mobile App
When the process is done, you’ll end up with a Joomla mobile app perfectly synced to your browser-based site.
When you make changes to your site, they’ll be reflected right away on your app as well. You’ll be able to provide the best user experience no matter how someone accesses your site. You’ll also gain access to the powerful engagement and retention potential of mobile apps, with an icon on your users’ home screens and an app store presence.
And you can do all this for a fraction of the time and money of building native mobile apps.
Contact our team today to discuss your project and how MobiLoud Canvas can work for you.