Transforming your website into a user-friendly app for both iOS and Android devices is a smart move. But what does it mean to make a website an app, and and how can you create one?
In this article, we’ll demystify the process for you. Whether you’re building a new website or revamping an existing one, join us as we explore the essentials of making a website an app with all the security you need.
- Converting websites into mobile apps can enhance the user experience on Android devices, providing easy access via app icons on the home screen
- Mobile apps offer advantages over web browsers, including better performance and access to native device features
- Users can save websites as app icons on their home screens for quick access, bridging the gap between websites and mobile apps
- Consider factors like target audience, functionality, and development time when choosing between native and hybrid apps for your website conversion
- Utilize mobile app features such as push notifications to engage users and improve customer relationships
- Popular websites like Facebook and Google Maps have successfully transitioned into mobile apps, offering tailored experiences to mobile device users
- Converting your website into an app opens up opportunities for improved SEO, revenue generation, and an app store presence, catering to modern mobile device users
4 Ways to Convert a Website into an App
Are you ready to turn your website into a sleek, functional app for iOS and Android? There are four primary paths to choose from: coding it yourself, enlisting an app development agency, hiring a skilled freelancer, or using a DIY app builder.
In the following sections, we’ll get into the intricacies of each method, exploring what’s involved, potential costs, and the time it takes to transform your website into a mobile app that users will love.
Code the Mobile App Yourself
Opting to build your mobile app from the ground up offers several advantages. You have complete control over every aspect of the user experience, ensuring it aligns seamlessly with your web product.
Familiarity with your core web offering allows you to leverage existing knowledge for the app project, saving time on educating team members about your business goals and style.
You can adapt your design workflow, use similar milestones and checklists, and have the freedom to make revisions as needed during and after development.
Furthermore, your in-house team’s cohesion and familiarity with one another can streamline feedback and edits, enhancing project oversight. However, this approach has drawbacks, including diverting resources from other projects and revenue opportunities.
Web developers will need to learn new skills or hire mobile app developers. This process can be time-consuming and costly, with average salaries in the U.S. around $120,000 per year per developer. Additionally, the development timeline is likely to extend beyond six months.
Developing an app is a potentially lucrative endeavor, but it comes with upfront costs that vary significantly based on complexity. App development can range from as little as $5,000 to well over $1 million.
Complexity plays a crucial role; simple apps like calculators may cost $10,000 to $40,000, while social media or e-commerce apps can run between $30,000 and $500,000. Highly intricate enterprise-level apps like banking or healthcare can surpass $500,000, even reaching millions.
Platform choice matters too, with hybrid (Android + iOS) or web apps typically costing $13,000 to $16,000, while single-platform (Android or iOS) apps range from $8,000 to $14,000.
Remember, app development isn’t a one-time expense; ongoing maintenance and updates will require additional resources. Planning your budget and timeline upfront is essential for sound financial decisions and goal attainment.
Creating an app yourself involves a significant time commitment. Designing a simple app may take several weeks, while a more complex one could span several months. The process typically includes back-end and front-end development, along with rigorous testing.
For reference, building apps akin to Uber can consume approximately 1100 hours, while apps similar to Calm may require around 880 hours of dedicated work. Proper planning and realistic timelines are crucial when embarking on this journey to ensure successful app development.
Hire an App Development Agency to Create the App
For businesses seeking a hands-off approach, enlisting an app development agency is an excellent choice. This route is frequently favored by large companies due to its reliability and efficiency, often proving more cost-effective than assembling an in-house team or relying on freelancers.
App development agencies are dedicated experts with a track record of delivering high-quality products. They handle every aspect, from concept to deployment, offering a comprehensive solution that ensures your project is in capable hands. This approach allows you to focus on your business goals while the agency brings your app vision to life.
While app development agencies offer expertise, their services come with costs that may not suit every budget. Many agencies advertise reasonable hourly rates, but their minimum project fees often start at $10,000 to $20,000. The average expense for an agency-built app typically falls between $40,000 and $80,000.
Doubling this for iOS and Android platforms is standard practice. Costs vary based on the complexity, with hybrid apps being more affordable and native ones on the higher end. An agency’s custom development might be overkill for straightforward website-to-app conversions with similar functionality.
Expect a streamlined and efficient timeline when entrusting your app project to a development agency. While the duration can vary based on complexity, agencies are well-equipped to expedite the process.
Simple apps may take a few months, while more intricate ones could extend to six months or beyond. The advantage lies in their dedicated teams and established workflows, ensuring a quicker path from concept to a fully functional app.
Hire a Freelancer to Build the Mobile App
Hiring a freelancer with the right skills can be enticing for those seeking a cost-effective alternative to app agencies. It has its upsides, like potentially lower costs, but comes with inherent risks. Vetting freelancers can be time-consuming, requiring weeks of research and testing projects, translating into real and opportunity costs.
Ensuring their skillset, portfolio, and references match your needs is crucial, especially if you need more development expertise. Onboarding the freelancer and aligning them with your business goals adds another layer of complexity.
Communication can also be challenging, as it often involves extensive back-and-forth or, in some cases, silence until it’s too late, turning what seemed like a promising partnership into a potential nightmare.
When considering the cost of hiring a freelancer for app development, it’s crucial to understand that expenses go beyond their hourly rate. Your involvement and guidance will also demand resources from your business.
On platforms like Upwork, top-tier freelancers may charge around $250 per hour, reflecting the premium for technical expertise. Generally, you should expect to invest between $35 and $50 per hour to secure quality work, but remember, they’ll bill for numerous hours, making it essential to budget accordingly.
Balancing cost and quality is key when opting for the freelancer route.
When hiring a freelancer for app development, the timeline can be unpredictable. Without a legally binding contract, you’re subject to their availability, making it challenging to plan for a timely app launch.
Coordination with freelancers may not align with your desired schedule, potentially causing delays in bringing your mobile app to market. This uncertainty in timing underscores the importance of clear agreements and effective communication when relying on freelancers for your project.
Use a DIY App Builder to Create Your App
For individuals seeking a cost-effective, code-free approach to app development, DIY app builders like Appy Pie, Bubble, Softr, and GoodBarber are viable options. These platforms cater to those with time and budget constraints but no coding experience. They’re user-friendly and often include specialized tools like AppPresser for site-to-app conversions.
While these tools can serve specific purposes and allow for basic app creation, they have limitations. They generate straightforward apps, often with pre-built templates and themes. Advanced web features may be absent, and the apps tend to resemble one another with slight branding differences.
These solutions primarily rely on drag-and-drop interfaces, incorporating site content using RSS or APIs to display within the app, though they provide only limited site-to-app functionality.
For startups and small businesses, cost and time are critical considerations when launching an app. DIY app builders can appear attractive initially, with plans ranging from $20 to $200 per month. However, at the lower end, functionality may be severely limited.
These builders may suit very basic app needs, like those for local businesses or churches. Yet, if you require apps integral to your brand’s success and ROI, opting for DIY solutions might prove to be a false economy, as many clients have discovered when migrating to more robust solutions like MobiLoud.
When utilizing a DIY app builder, the estimated time for app creation can be relatively shorter compared to other methods. These platforms are designed for simplicity and typically offer quick setup.
Depending on your familiarity with the tool and the complexity of your app’s features, you could have a basic app up and running within a few days to a couple of weeks, making it an efficient choice for those with tight timelines.
How to Convert a Website into an App with an App Builder
In this section, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of transforming your website into a versatile app compatible with iOS, Android, and Chrome. Discover how to effortlessly bridge the gap between your web content and mobile users with an app builder.
How to Make a Website an App on iOS
Using Wix as our app builder, here’s a brief guide on how to make a website an app on iOS.
- Log in to your Wix account, then access the Wix App Builder from your site’s dashboard.
- Under “Customize Your App,” follow these steps:
- Choose a name and icon for your app
- Select your app’s theme and preferences
- Edit your layout and add content as needed
- As you customize, a mock mobile screen on the right displays how your app will appear
- Save your preferences, then scan the QR code in the “Advanced Customization” menu using your phone. This takes you to the mobile editor within the Wix Owner App.
- Optimize your app’s content, images, display, and links in the mobile editor.
- To preview your iOS app, download the Spaces by Wix app, log in to your Wix account, and access your app’s site.
- Once satisfied with your app, create Apple Developer and Google Developer accounts and submit your app for approval.
- Submit your app for review through Wix. Wix conducts an internal review and then forwards it to Apple and Google for separate evaluations. Upon approval, your app will be available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
How to Make a Website an App on iPad
Developing an app for an iPad differs from mobile devices due to the iPad’s larger screen and higher resolution, which necessitates optimized UI layouts and more immersive UX. iPad apps can take advantage of the larger screen to offer enhanced functionality and navigation patterns, including gestures and multitasking.
Developers must also consider responsive layouts for both portrait and landscape orientations and ensure efficient resource utilization to maintain performance on these devices.
However, using an app builder such as AppyPie can make the process relatively easy.
- Begin by naming your app.
- Next, choose a suitable category, color theme, and set iPad as the test device.
- Enhance your app by adding top-notch features.
- Harness the AI’s capabilities to swiftly create your iPad app with a few clicks.
- Put your app to the test before going live.
- Evaluate your app on an actual iOS device, make refinements, and then prepare to launch it on the Apple App Store.
How to Make a Website an App on iPhone
You can create your own native iOS mobile apps in just minutes using an app builder such as Appy Pie. Their iPhone app builder empowers you to craft iOS apps effortlessly, without any coding required. This user-friendly tool ensures seamless functionality across various iOS devices, from iPhones to iPads.
Appy Pie’s drag-and-drop interface is designed for citizen developers, aiming to democratize app development by enabling everyone to create iOS apps easily. With in-app purchase and subscription models available, you can even boost your business revenue through your iOS creations.
- Begin by naming your iOS app.
- Choose the fitting category, color theme, and set the iPhone as your test device.
- Incorporate pertinent features into your iOS app.
- Leverage our user-friendly platform to craft your iPhone app swiftly, without the need for coding expertise.
- Personalize your iPhone app to your desired look and feel.
- Ensure your app’s functionality on real iPhones by testing it, and when you’re satisfied, make it accessible to users by publishing it on the Apple App Store.
How to Make a Website an App on Mac
If you’re eager to transform a website into a desktop Mac app, Automator can be your ally. Typically used for simplifying repetitive tasks, Automator also has the power to craft basic Mac apps from your frequently visited websites.
Here’s how to get started:
- Launch Automator from your Applications folder.
- Click on “New Document” â “Workflow.”
- Go to “Internet” â “Get Specified URLs.”
- Replace the default address with the URL of the website you want to turn into an app.
- Incorporate the “Website Popup” action and fine-tune its settings for your new app.
- When you’re ready, hit “Run” to create your website-based Mac app.
How to Make a Website an App on Android
When it comes to transforming a website into an Android app, Native Alpha is a fantastic tool worth mentioning. This free and open-source software (FOSS) was originally launched on GitHub and is now conveniently available for download on the Play Store.
Native Alpha excels at presenting any website within a borderless, full-screen window using Android System WebView.
While it offers fewer customization options than some alternatives like Hermit, it’s actively developed, ensuring continuous feature enhancements. The process of creating an app with Native Alpha mirrors that of Hermit, including the option to add a shortcut to the Home screen.
Here are the steps to create a website app on Android using Native Alpha:
- Download and install Native Alpha from the Play Store.
- Open Native Alpha and enter the URL of the website you want to convert into an app.
- Customize the app’s settings, including its name and icon.
- Choose to add a shortcut to your device’s Home screen if desired.
- Save your changes, and your new Android app, representing the website, is ready to use.
How to Make a Website a Web App on Chrome
To transform a website into a web app on Chrome with a touch of individuality, follow these steps:
- In Google Chrome, navigate to the three horizontal lines at the upper right corner, just right of the address bar.
- Click on these lines and move your cursor down to “More tools.”
- In the subsequent submenu, scroll down to “Add to Taskbar.”
- A small icon representing the website will appear; feel free to rename it to your liking.
- Ensure the “Open as new window” box is checked (if it isn’t already).
With these simple steps, you’ve not only added the website as an application to your Taskbar but also incorporated it as a Google App within your Chrome browser, adding a touch of customization to your web experience.
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Best App Builder Features to Look For
When considering an app builder to convert your website into an app, there are several crucial features to prioritize:
- Intuitive User Interface: A user-friendly interface simplifies the app-building process, allowing you to navigate effortlessly through the builder’s tools and options.
- Customization Tools: Look for robust customization options that let you tailor the app’s appearance, features, and functionality to align with your website’s branding and user experience.
- Device Compatibility: Ensure the app builder supports various devices and operating systems, such as iOS, Android, and even desktop platforms, guaranteeing a broader audience reach.
- Seamless App and Website Sync: The ability to seamlessly sync your app with your website, including content updates, user data, and interactions, ensures consistency across both platforms.
- Automatic Updates: Opt for an app builder that offers automatic updates, simplifying and keeping your app current with the latest features, security patches, and improvements.
Prioritizing these essential features will help you choose the right app builder and streamline the conversion of your website into a fully functional and engaging app for your audience.
Things to Consider When Converting a Website into an App
Native App vs. Hybrid App
When contemplating converting a website into an app, the choice between native and hybrid apps is a pivotal consideration.
- Native Apps: These are “native” to a specific platform, requiring the creation of separate apps for iOS, Android, and other operating systems. Native apps leverage the full potential of each platform, offering high performance and access to device-specific features.
The choice between native and hybrid apps hinges on factors such as your target audience, development resources, and the level of device-specific optimization required.
Both native and hybrid apps can be distributed through app stores and installed on devices, but understanding their differences is essential to make an informed decision during the website-to-app conversion process.
Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps
Web apps and mobile apps cater to distinct user experiences. Web apps are accessed via a browser, making them accessible from any device with internet connectivity. In contrast, mobile apps are dedicated to specific platforms, providing mobile users with a tailored, optimized experience.
While web apps offer broader accessibility, a dedicated mobile app tends to excel in performance, offline functionality, and integration with device features, making them ideal for users seeking a seamless, immersive experience.
Functionality of the Site
When converting a website into an app, consider the existing functionality of your site. Websites offering straightforward interactions that can be easily translated into app features with just a few clicks tend to be excellent candidates.
Apps should provide easy access to the core features users rely on, ensuring a seamless transition and a positive user experience while maintaining the essence of your website’s functionality.
App Design and Branding
The design and branding of your converted website app are paramount, especially when considering a mobile-fist design approach. It’s the perfect solution to create a consistent and visually appealing experience that caters to mobile users.
Ensure that your app’s design makes sense for mobile users and aligns with your website’s branding. A well-designed app not only attracts more users but also enhances their engagement, making it crucial to strike the right balance between aesthetics and functionality.
Mobile Operating System
Choosing the right mobile operating system for your app depends on several factors, including your target market, platform flexibility, and development timeline.
- Target Market: Consider your app’s intended audience. If your target market predominantly uses iOS devices (like iPhones and iPads), developing a native iOS app makes sense. Conversely, for a broader user base, opt for Android or consider a hybrid app for cross-platform accessibility.
- Platform Flexibility: Native apps provide seamless access to native features and offer a superior user experience. However, hybrid apps are more flexible, allowing you to reach both iOS and Android users with a single codebase.
- Time: If time is of the essence and you want a quick release, a hybrid app might be a better choice, as it reduces development time by sharing code across platforms.
Ultimately, your decision hinges on the target market, desired platform flexibility, and development timeline, as these factors play a significant role in determining the most suitable mobile operating system for your app.
8 Benefits of Turning Your Website into an App
Converting your website into an app can unlock numerous advantages, enhancing your digital presence and catering to modern consumer preferences.
Here are some compelling reasons to consider this transformation:
- Improved User Experience: Mobile apps offer a streamlined, user-friendly interface optimized for mobile app users, resulting in a more engaging and efficient interaction.
- Meet Modern Consumer Demands: With an increasing number of consumers favoring mobile apps, providing Android apps and iOS apps meets the demands of a mobile-first audience.
- Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Mobile apps can complement your website’s SEO strategy by providing additional content and engagement opportunities, potentially boosting your search rankings.
- Promote Customer Relationships: Apps enable you to build stronger customer relationships through personalized experiences, loyalty programs, and easy communication.
- Enhance Mobile User Experience: Dedicated apps outperform mobile websites in terms of performance, speed, and functionality, ensuring a superior mobile user experience.
- Employ Push Notifications: Send targeted push notifications to keep users engaged, informed, and connected to your brand.
- Boost Your Revenue: Monetize your app through various means, such as in-app purchases, subscriptions, or advertising, potentially increasing your revenue streams.
- Benefit from an App Store Presence: Listing your app on app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store provides visibility to a vast audience, boosting discoverability.
Converting your website into an app is a strategic move that aligns with the preferences of today’s mobile app users, enhances user experience, and opens up new opportunities for engagement and revenue generation.
Examples of Websites Made into Apps
Converting websites into apps has become a common practice for enhancing user experiences on smartphones and other mobile devices. Here are some notable examples:
- Facebook App: The Facebook app offers smartphone users easy access to all the features of the social media giant. Users can connect, share, and interact seamlessly with their network on a mobile-optimized platform.
- Netflix App: Netflix’s app brings the world of streaming entertainment to mobile screens, allowing users to watch their favorite shows and movies on the go. It offers a user-friendly interface and personalized recommendations.
- Google Maps App: Google Maps’ mobile app provides GPS navigation, real-time traffic updates, and location-based services. It’s a go-to tool for smartphone users navigating unfamiliar terrain.
- Amazon App: The Amazon app brings the world’s largest online marketplace to the fingertips of mobile users. With easy product browsing, purchasing, and delivery tracking, it’s a must-have for online shoppers.
- Uber App: Uber’s app revolutionized transportation by connecting users with drivers for on-demand rides. The app provides seamless booking, real-time tracking, and cashless payments for a convenient travel experience.
These examples illustrate how websites can successfully transition into apps, delivering enhanced functionality and accessibility for smartphone users while retaining the core features of the original websites.
Final Word: Making the Right Choice
In the journey of turning your website into an app, the choice is yours. Whether you opt for the DIY route, collaborate with professionals, or leverage the power of app builders, your decision should align with your goals and resources.
Next Steps: Now What?
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