How to Build a Squarespace App by Converting your Existing Site

In this article we’re going to show you how to build a Squarespace app from your existing site with our Squarespace app builder, MobiLoud.

Squarespace has been around since the early 00s, and has had an important impact on the web since then. A beginner-friendly website builder that helped to bring down the barrier to website development, Squarespace has given millions of users (3% of the total CMS market share) the opportunity to launch their own sites fast without needing any technical knowledge whatsoever.

The one feature missing is the ability to turn your Squarespace site into mobile apps for iOS and Android. We're going to explain why you'd want to turn your Squarespace site into mobile apps. We'll look at how to go from Squarespace to app fast, and ultimately show why our platform, MobiLoud, is the best way to convert your Squarespace site to mobile apps.

How to Build a Squarespace Mobile App

There's no stock feature in Squarespace to allow you to create a mobile app. So how can you build an app for your site?

There is a Squarespace mobile app - but that's for managing your site. There are Squarespace apps as well, but these are basically plugins and extensions, again for your browser-based site.

There's no official Squarespace mobile app builder.

When researching this article we reached out to Squarespace and asked if they had anything to help users build native mobile apps, or if they had any plans to add it in the future.

They confirmed that currently there isn’t any internal feature that allows users to create mobile apps, and as far as we could tell there are no concrete plans to develop such capability. 

Squarespace App Development - Native Coding

One of Squarespace’s representatives suggested to us that “custom code” could perhaps be used to build apps that connect with the site. What do they mean by that?

They might mean that you could build mobile apps from scratch – using technologies like Objective-C, Swift, Java or React Native – then figure out a way to connect them to the Squarespace API so that the apps can pull data from Squarespace’s server. 

In theory, this is possible. 

Squarespace does make its API available for inventory, products, transactions and orders. But really though, building an app from scratch is overkill. It would take skilled developers many months to pull off, and cost a minimum of $50,000 just to get a first version out.

Even considering the benefits of mobile apps, the opportunity cost and risk is too high for most businesses.

Luckily, it isn’t necessary. There are ways to convert your Squarespace site to iOS and Android apps more efficiently. We’re going to look at a few, then show how our platform, MobiLoud, is the best for you.

The Fastest (and Best) Way to Convert Your Squarespace Site to Mobile Apps

There are a few app builders that target Squarespace site owners on the market.

They work by giving you a platform to build mobile apps through one of their pre-built templates and giving you a few customization options on top. These platforms make use of Squarespace’s aforementioned APIs so they are restricted to sites on the Squarespace Commerce platform. 

They can get you functional apps, much faster and cheaper than building apps from scratch like we discussed earlier. 

The problem is that they force you into one of their pre-built templates, and risk giving you an app with only basic functionality that looks exactly like hundreds of others. 

They also have varying degrees of integration with your Squarespace site. Some will allow you to build a simple, functional eCommerce app, others will just let you build a cookie-cutter templated app that has very little interaction with your Squarespace site and will end up disappointing you. 

These tools may get you apps fast, but you shouldn’t expect them to be much good.

A better way is to just take your existing Squarespace app, and have it run as iOS and Android apps inside a native webview.

Using Webviews for Squarespace Mobile Apps

A hybrid "webview" app is the best way to create a Squarespace mobile app.

Rather than building separate apps and connecting them with Squarespace – a webview app is your Squarespace site, running as native apps.

Webviews simply convert your optimized Squarespace mobile site into a native app container.

From the users’ point of view, they are getting the full app experience. They’ll download it from either Google Play or the App Store, install it on their devices, and have your icon on their home screen. 

With one tap they’ll be into your app.

Does it make sense to ‘repackage’ your Squarespace app into a webview like this? Isn’t it cheating?

It absolutely makes sense in 90% of cases. If your Squarespace site or eCommerce store runs well on a mobile browser now, it’ll run just as well as an app.

Good and Bad Webviews

We should mention that just displaying your site inside an empty box – the webview – isn't enough. It doesn’t look that great, performance won’t be good enough, the user experience will suffer from the lack of native controls and navigation.

It will most probably be rejected by Apple for lacking any native functionality. And you’re still missing a key feature of mobile apps, push notifications, which don’t work out of the box, but need the support of an external service and integration.

Our Platform, MobiLoud, uses webviews – but it is more than an empty box. We’ve refined and improved the platform over many years and over two thousand apps – so your users will get the best app experience possible and you’ll get maximum benefit for your business. 

How to Convert Your Squarespace Site to Mobile Apps with MobiLoud

MobiLoud takes your Squarespace mobile site and converts it into iOS and Android apps, ready to publish in under two weeks, for less than 10% of the typical cost of building an app from scratch.

MobiLoud is a proven platform that has worked for hundreds of online businesses. And it can work for you too. Let’s take a look in more detail.

How Does MobiLoud Work?

MobiLoud is the perfect ‘wrapper’ for converting a Squarespace site into mobile apps. We built on the webview concept and optimized it, so you can take your site and convert it to apps that mirror your site without touching a single line of code. 

But MobiLoud isn’t just a wrapper. It adds native navigation, a native tab menu, native animations, loading indicators, native sharing, analytics, splash screens, push notifications and 30+ more features to get as close as possible to a full native app experience.

MobiLoud also integrates with OneSignal, the best push provider on the market. You can send out notifications easily through our dashboard to all your users, either automatically when some specific event happens, or manually whenever you see fit. Your apps will come with both a message center and push preferences for your users – making them all the more effective. 

There’s no need for you or your team to do anything remotely technical, and nothing to rebuild or recreate. 

It’s easy to manage your apps going forward. As your MobiLoud Squarespace apps will be synced 100% with your site, all your existing content will be automatically available and they will update instantly with anything you change on your Squarespace site.

That means you can make changes to your app at any time, without needing to hire and communicate with expensive mobile developers.

The Process

Here's how the process works when you work with MobiLoud to turn your Squarespace site into a Squarespace mobile app.

  1. Start by booking a free consultation. One of our app experts will explain the process, show you some examples of other successful apps built with MobiLoud, and help you be sure whether MobiLoud is right for you.
  2. After signing up, you can give us any specific wants or needs from your app, and we'll convert your site into mobile apps to your specifications.
  3. Our team puts your apps together. It's full-service. We literally do everything for you.
  4. Once the first build is done, you can test your app on your own device (we'll do extensive testing on our side too).
  5. Finally, we ship the final version, based on your feedback and any change requests.
  6. We'll prepare your apps for submission to the App Store and Google Play, and handle the whole submission process, until your app store listings are live.

We handle the publishing process entirely. We’ve done it thousands of times and know exactly how to satisfy Apple and Google’s criteria, so we guarantee your app will get approved – or your money back!. 

When your apps are launched on iOS and Android, you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits.

Our support doesn’t end there though. We are with you for the lifetime of the apps and handle all ongoing updates and maintenance, all included in our monthly or annual fees. 

There will be none of the expensive surprises that are all too common with app development. 

Why Convert a Squarespace Site into Mobile Apps?

Why do you need a mobile app for your Squarespace site?

Perhaps you used one of Squarespace’s 100+ templates to build an eCommerce store, a blog, or an information site for your business. Perhaps you’ve pushed it further than most, and built something that is already quite close to a mobile app, thanks to Squarespace’s built-in mobile support.

What if you’re looking to take things a step further though and grow beyond the web? One good option is to build iOS and Android apps that mirror your existing Squarespace site. 

There are lots of reasons why this makes sense, mostly related to modern user habits:

  • Better mobile UX
  • More eCommerce conversions
  • A presence in the app stores
  • Push notifications
  • Building a loyal fanbase

Let's take a closer look at each point.

A Better Mobile UX

Back in the early days of Squarespace, it was a desktop browser dominated digital world. The desktop era gave way to the mobile internet, which is now giving way to apps.

That’s right, people spent 90% of their mobile time using apps in 2021. An app experience is now the default expectation for any product, tool or brand that users expect to engage with habitually.

Apps won over websites primarily because they provide a more smooth, intuitive, convenient user experience. 

Think about the apps that you use regularly. You’re reminded by a push notification or the visible icon on your home screen, you tap on it, and an instant later you’re in – without the need to log in or wait unnecessarily. 

Compare this to remembering a specific site, pulling up the mobile browser, putting in the URL, and waiting for it to load. Worse still, you might have to log in again (the horror!). Then when you’re on the site, you’re distracted by other app notifications popping up and the 27 other browser tabs you have open.

It’s clear that apps help digital brands to stay top of mind and offer a more direct path to content. 

When you’re in the app itself, the native tab menu, navigation and full screen experience make everything smoother – and there are less distractions too. 

For these reasons, businesses that build iOS and Android apps often see a boost in traffic, return visits, dwell time, conversions, and user retention. Apps are designed for loyalty and help immensely if you’re trying to encourage your users to make a habit of using your app or content.

More eCommerce Conversions

If you have a Squarespace-based eCommerce site, the advantages are even more clear – eCommerce apps in general are a must for online stores.

The Only & Sons app, built with MobiLoud

Over the past few years, sales through eCommerce apps have surged. An impressive 78% of users would rather access a store via a mobile app than a mobile site. 

eCommerce apps also drive 3x higher conversion rates than web-based online stores. 

The trend isn’t going anywhere, it’ll keep going until the mobile web is primarily a place of exploration and discovery rather than deep engagement and loyalty. 

An App Store Presence

Also, just being on Google Play and the App Store is a benefit in its own right. 

First, you can pick up new users and customers who are searching for relevant keywords on the App Store and Google Play. And just the App Store presence is a boost to your brand. It shows that you are serious about mobile UX and makes you look more established than just having a website. This is a great way to impress users and potential investors and partners.

Boost Your Brand’s Image with an App Store Presenc

Push Notifications

Another key benefit of converting your Squarespace site into mobile apps is native push notifications.

user data can help with push notification engagement

There are already ways to send web notifications through Squarespace, but these only really work on Android and desktop. The user experience is not great, many sites have abused them and browsers are increasingly cracking down on them.

With iOS and Android apps – your notifications aren’t limited. You can send them out to both iOS and Android users equally whenever you like, with whatever content you like. You get permission from the user when they install or run your app, then you’re good to go!

Right now you probably try to communicate with your users, fans and customers through social channels and email. Push notifications are much more effective than both. They have a far higher open and click through rate than email, and your reach isn’t artificially restricted like on social platforms. 

Push notifications are the ideal way to promote your marketing messages to users and build a deeper connection with your biggest fans, and you can only make use of them properly by turning your Squarespace site into mobile apps!

A Home for Your Biggest Fans

Apps self-select for your biggest fans and give them a “home”, gathering them all in one place where you can really focus on engaging and understanding them. The reasons we’ve discussed are why apps are emerging as a key part of multi-channel product strategy for serious digital brands. 

By now we hope that you’re pretty excited about building mobile apps for your Squarespace site, and are ready to use apps to grow your business beyond the crowded mobile web. 

Building mobile apps really makes sense for any Squarespace site that relies on returning users and building long term engagement. 

Why Build Squarespace Apps With MobiLoud?

MobiLoud is the most direct route to go from Squarespace site to quality mobile apps. 

Whether your site is an online store, a blog, or another content-rich site – MobiLoud will work great. You get to preserve the logic and functionality of your site without compromising through someone else’s template, so you can apply what already works through a new channel. 

If someone buys products, reads articles, or books an appointment through your site right now – they will be able to do so in just the same way through the apps! 

On top of that, we have built all the features into MobiLoud that users expect from high-quality apps –  native navigation, push notifications and a customizable interface!

If you have something in mind and don’t see it on the list just get in touch with our team. Over the years we’ve seen almost every edge case and custom request, and there’s a good chance we already have a solution for what you’re looking for. 

We’re here to help you build high-quality mobile apps from your Squarespace site – and get you ready to go live in just two weeks!

Let’s make it happen – check out MobiLoud, or book a call with one of our app experts and start building apps from your Squarespace site today

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