With the number of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets ever on the rise, having a desktop-only website can be really harmful for your blog or magazine website. Not only does it deprive you of potential mobile visitors, it also shuts down numerous monetization channels that you can easily make use of. Obviously, in an age where mobile operating systems are more talked about than their desktop counterparts, ignoring your mobile visitors is one risk that you just cannot take.
That said, it is obviously an icing on the cake if your blog or magazine has its own mobile app. In this article, I shall be discussing the benefits of having a native mobile app, as well as taking a closer look at one service that lets you get a mobile app for your website in the easiest manner possible.
The Importance of Having A Mobile App
You might ask: why should one go for a mobile app, and not just a mobile site? After all, won’t using a responsive or adaptive website that caters to mobile users be sufficient? To some extent, yes it will be sufficient. However, a mobile app has added advantages of its own: you can use push notifications to alert your users each time you post new content (this is precisely why I use the GMail app and do not visit the GMail mobile site).
Mobile apps also allow you to offer a smooth and native experience, and you can even allow offline browsing, so that your users stay updated with your content even when their data plans are not unlimited. Plus, by promoting your app on the Apple App Store and/or Google Play, you can easily attract newer audiences. And lastly, you can also enhance your revenue by making use of specialized mobile ad networks, such as AdMob and several others.
Just in case you are still stuck with the old question of whether or not you need a mobile app for your website or business, read this article wherein I had talked about the pros and cons of having your own mobile app.
Sounds Good! How Do I Get One?
There are several ways using which you can get a mobile app for your business/website. If you have the required skills, time and resources, you may consider coding one yourself — in that case the rest of this article is probably not meant for you.
However, not everyone has the required skills, time or resources, and this is where specialized services for mobile app creation come in handy. You can hire a developer who can create a custom mobile app for your website. This will be the costliest option, though, because no decent custom mobile app can be created for less than a few thousands of dollars (not to mention additional fees if you want your app to support multiple mobile platforms).
If budget is something that bothers you, allow me to introduce you to Mobiloud.
Mobiloud: Turning WordPress Websites into Mobile Apps
Developing a mobile app can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Mobiloud intends to change this very notion. Simply put, Mobiloud is a service that lets you transform any RSS-supported website into a native mobile app, thereby letting you offer push notifications and other app-worthy features to your mobile readers, and simultaneously opening up new monetization channels for you!
Based in the UK and managed by 50Pixels, Mobiloud helps publishers, bloggers and content creators build native mobile apps for iOS and Android within minutes (and at extremely budget-friendly rates).
How Does it Work?
The idea is simple: instead of doing things the tougher way, Mobiloud’s apps simply gather content automatically from your website or blog; you can also configure them to show content from your Twitter or Facebook pages. Your readers can easily get push notifications about new articles, share content they like and even comment on your articles. You can monetize your app as well, as per your needs!
While Mobiloud supports virtually any CMS with RSS support, WordPress websites are obviously at the top of the helm, and there is a special plugin for WordPress users.
The best part about Mobiloud is that unlike various other alternatives out there, it offers ‘native’ mobile apps — therefore, your mobile app will work and feel like a real app, not just another blog with content patched on to it. Don’t trust me? Hit the demo!
How Much Does it Cost?
In terms of pricing, the Professional Plan costs $49 per month (billed per annum). It offers you an iPhone/iPad app, along with push notifications, download statistics, monetization and support.
If you need Android apps as well and Google Analytics, you can try the Publisher plan which costs $99 per month (again, billed annually). Just in case that doesn’t impress you, Mobiloud also have custom app programs wherein you can discuss custom page layouts, additional CMS integrations and app graphic design.
Is it Worth it?
Some time back, SpeckyBoy launched its own mobile app for iOS devices, built by Mobiloud. Quite obviously, Mobiloud is our preferred and most trusted solution when it comes to creating mobile apps!
However, Mobiloud may not be for everyone. If you do not need a fully branded native mobile app, and are instead just looking to publish a mobile website, investing in Mobiloud’s services might not be apt for your requirements.
On the other hand, if you are looking to create a native mobile app for iOS/Android users right from your WordPress website, you should by all means give Mobiloud a spin. All you need to do is install the plugin, and then design your app within minutes. You can try and test your app in the browser itself, and once you’re all ready to go, Mobiloud will get your app up and running within a few days for a small monthly fee.
Considering the fact that the number of mobile users is ever on the rise, and apps provide a way better user experience as compared to mere mobile-friendly websites, having a mobile app can help any blog or website gain an edge over the competition. In such cases, solutions like Mobiloud become all the more important and useful.