In 2022, there were over 255 billion app downloads around the world, the equivalent of nearly 33 apps for every person on earth. These apps generate hundreds of billions of dollars, and every developer, innovator, and brand is seeking their share.
One of the best ways to cash in on this growing trend is to convert your existing eCommerce website into an app. You’ll provide your users with a streamlined and dedicated alternative to mobile sites, and in the process, you could see your revenue rise.
But how do you convert a website to a mobile app and what are the main benefits of doing so?
In the following guide, we’ll answer this question, and cover topics such as:
How to convert your website into a mobile app
The best software for converting your website to an app
What you need to know
Should your app be iOS or Android?
Can you turn your website into an app yourself?
Why Should I Convert my Website into a Mobile App?#
Whether you build your own app, hire a freelancer, or work with an agency, there are several reasons to convert your website into a mobile app
Enhance Your Offering and Meet Expectations#
Modern internet users expect their favorite brands to offer mobile apps. They’re everywhere and they are a major part of every tablet and smartphone user’s life. If you want your brand to fit into that mold, you need a mobile app.
An app can also expand your offering and take you in new directions, whether through a subscription service, additional features, or just a product showcase.
Increase Loyalty and Engagement#
Mobile apps are built for customer loyalty.
There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, loyal customers are more likely to download your app in the first place. Anyone can click a link, visit your website, and then determine that it’s not what they were looking for. But an app user has to search, find, and then commit to downloading and using.
Therefore, by launching an app, you’re catering to your most dedicated customers, and as any eCommerce brands know, this small demographic is what drives the bulk of your revenue.
Secondly, apps give users quick access to your store. With a website, they have to open the browser and enter your URL (or find you in their bookmarks). With an app, they’re always just a click away.
Finally, an app provides a more tailored mobile experience. It’s not just a dynamic website that adjusts to the customer’s browser. It’s a dedicated app made for iOS or Android and designed around their specific platform. The improved UI that this offers will ensure that customers keep coming back for more.
Decreased Advertising Costs#
Most brands rely on advertising platforms like Google and Facebook to drive customers to their sites. These platforms are great ways to target specific demographics and generate a high ROAS (return on advertising spend). But they are not without their issues.
Let’s use Google Ads as an example.
If a customer finds you through a Google Shopping ad, clicks the link, and makes a purchase. You will pay money based on the value of the keyword that led them to that search result.
If that customer spends $20 and it costs $20 to acquire them, it will feel like a pointless endeavor.
You’re spending money to acquire the same return.
But then you have something known as lifetime value, which calculates how much that customer spends over the long term. Technically, you only pay when you acquire them, so if they return and spend the same amount again, you’re now in profit. If they do that a third time, your profit increases.
The problem is that many customers don’t simply add your site to their bookmarks and then click the link every time they want to buy. More likely, they will remember your brand and then Google your name when they’re ready to reorder. In doing so, they could be clicking a sponsored ad again, in which case you’ll be paying for them again.
The great thing about mobile apps is that you don’t pay an advertiser every time a customer opens an app. You’re not being charged for the products they browse, the links they click, or even the purchases they make.
So, even if you lose money acquiring them, you could gain that back 100 times over if they continue to make purchases through the app.
Improve Revenue Potential#
Lower advertising costs are just one of the ways that your revenue can improve when you convert your website into a mobile app.
Apps also provide a better user experience and they can be used to promote unique features and offers.
For instance, if you run a service-based company, an app can offer your customers a unique subscription-based service. Alternatively, if what you offer is typically funded by ads, your app can be an ad-free alternative that requires a monthly subscription.
They are very easy to monetize, and that monetization can expand on existing offerings or create new ones.
Alert Customers Using Push Notifications#
According to a survey conducted in 2021, over a quarter of consumers either provide a fake email address or use a secondary account when signing up for brand emails. A third of them also admitted to deleting emails after scanning subject lines.
It’s no surprise when you consider that tens of billions of spam emails are sent every year. Consumers just don’t have much patience for email marketing anymore.
But push notifications are a different story.
These messages are “pushed” to a user’s mobile device via an app. They typically have a much higher engagement than email marketing and can be used for a variety of reasons:
New product launches
Notify customers when products are back in stock
Promotions and discounts
Support ticket updates
Create a Presence Within App Stores#
As soon as you convert your website into a mobile app, you can notify your existing app users and encourage them to download the app. But mobile apps aren’t just for existing customers and can also introduce new ones to your brand.
When you create an app through a service like AppMachine, you’ll be given the option to publish it on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
If you build an android app, you will already have a potential of three billion active users. So if you also build an iOS app, you reach will even be larger, providing new revenue streams and new ways to promote your offering. With the help of some app store optimization you can make sure your app gets lots of downloads.
Things to Consider When Converting a Website to a Mobile App#
In our guide on how to build an app, we note that there are three things you need before you build an app:
A clear vision - what will your app look like? What features will it offer?
An understanding of your target demographic - Who is your average customer? What makes them tick?
A clear purpose - What do you want your app to achieve?
Will you build a native app, which is developed separately for android or ios?
You don’t need to hire an expensive development team or spend many months sitting around conference tables and staring at blackboards. You don’t need a massive budget. With AppMachine, you can build an app quickly, cheaply, and with no coding, and the end product will look just as slick as any developer team created app.
But that doesn’t mean you can just jump in head-first and publish whatever you can throw together in five minutes.
Your app can play a major role in the future of your business, so it’s something that requires a little forethought and planning.
Here’s what you should consider before you convert your website into a mobile app:
Create a list of the things that your app should do
Speak with other employees to get an idea of what needs to be included
Choose a template
Customize the design and your app icon to suit your brand’s style and voice
Test the app and get some feedback from friends/family/employees
Make adjustments based on customer feedback
Track customer data to gain further insights
What Type of App Should You Turn Your Website into?#
After deciding to turn your website into an app, you might think you have to choose between the different type of apps available: Native, Web, Hybrid, or Cross-Platform.
In contrast to what you might think, the differences aren't that big.
Native apps are so named because they are native to a specific platform, such as iOS or Android and can be downloaded via the Apple App store or Google Play Store. They are created specifically for that system and use the languages associated with it, such as Java for Android and Swift for iOS.
These apps deliver great performance and may therefore be the best option for high-end, big-budget brands. However, smaller brands may struggle with budget constraints as it means two different builds are needed for the app to run on both iOS and Android.
- Native Apps are designed specifically to work on a particular host’s platform, such as the Google Play and Apple App Store. The code is optimised accordingly.
Cross Platform Apps#
Cross platform apps are apps that work like native apps, but are built using a single codebase. This means that you don't need a large budget if you would build the app for iOS and Android seperatley.
They do provide a more native-like user interface, thanks to the use of platform-specific UI components, so they work much better than Web or Hybrid apps.
They are a speedy and effective way to build a quality app as they reduce a lot of the repetitive work often involved with traditional app development, especially when created using a no code app builder
4 Ways to Convert a Website into An App#
There are several ways to convert your website into a mobile app. The most suitable option for you will depend on your resources and goals.
1. Code the App Yourself#
If you know how to code or have a team that can do the work for you, this is a good option.
It will give you complete control over the app and allow you to develop new features and create a highly engaging app. But not every business owner knows how to code or has the luxury of a development team. And even if you have a team of mobile app developers, shifting their focus to a single app could prove to be a very expensive endeavor.
Pros of Doing it Yourself
You can build it from scratch and stay in complete control.
You and your employees already know everything there is to know about the brand.
The app can be tested and updated by the in-house team.
Revisions are quick and should go smoothly.
Collaboration between existing employees should produce an exceptional product.
Cons of Doing it Yourself
It can be expensive and time-consuming.
Your team members will be taken away from other tasks.
If you want native android apps and iOS apps, you may need to split your team or hire other employees.
You could fall victim to scope creep, with new functions and features constantly being added.
2. Hire a Freelancer#
It has never been easier to hire a freelancer. Sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and countless others let you hire experienced and highly-skilled freelancers on an hourly or fixed-price basis.
But it’s not without its issues.
You’ll be working with someone you don’t know well and therefore can’t trust. They could disappear halfway through the project, underdeliver, or refuse to process revisions.
Pros of Hiring a Freelancer
It’s cheaper than hiring agencies and operating in-house teams.
You only pay them for the work they do on the app and don’t need to pay a salary.
You can find a highly-skilled freelancer.
There are freelancers available for native and cross-platform apps.
Many freelancing sites use Escrow, so the money is only released upon completion of pre-determined milestones.
Cons of Hiring a Freelancer
It takes time to vet freelancers and find suitable candidates.
It can be difficult to find a suitable freelancer who is available when you need them.
You must educate them on your brand goals, voice, and direction.
There will be a lot of back-and-forth communication.
They may leave you high and dry when you need them most.
3. Use an App Builder#
Let’s assume the following for a moment:
You don’t have a big team.
You are not a coder.
You have limited tech skills or experience.
You can’t afford a freelancer or agency.
Does that mean it’s not possible to convert your website to a mobile app?
Not at all. An app builder like AppMachine can get the job done with minimal cost (see our pricing page for more information) and in very little time. You don’t need to have any coding skills and you can still put together a professional app.
What’s more, app builders provide a great deal of flexibility. For instance, you could do most of the work yourself but then hire a developer to apply more complicated additions. You can also hire a few freelancers to test the app and provide feedback.
Pros of Using an App Builder
The cheapest option by far.
You can build the app yourself.
You don’t need to know any programming languages.
You can launch the app in just a few weeks.
The app will be available on both Google and Apple stores.
You have complete control over how the app looks and feels.
It is a very flexible option.
Cons of Using an App Builder
You will need to do the work yourself.
You must use a pre-built template.
There may be restrictions regarding some of the features you want to transfer over.
4. Use an Agency#
If you don’t have an in-house team and don’t want to hire one, but you like the idea, consider going through an agency.
There are agencies for all types of creative content, including app development. These agencies work by hiring a team of full-time and part-time employees to cover a variety of skills.
There are team leaders and creative consultants who will study your brand and relay your goals, developers who will put the pieces together, and testers to make sure everything is running smoothly. But none of this comes cheaply and it’s by far the most expensive option, as you’re paying for their time and skills, as well as convenience.
Pros of Using an Agency
A dedicated solution.
Your input can be minimal.
They have the skills and experience to get the job done.
They will be held accountable for mistakes and will ensure issues are fixed.
They may provide a number of different packages and options.
Cons of Using an Agency
The costs are very high and it’s usually not a viable option for small businesses or those on a budget.
You may be held to the terms of the contract.
It may take many months to fully develop and test the app.
If there is a lot of involvement on your side, it could create friction and prolong the process.
Common Misconceptions About the Use of App Stores#
There are a few misconceptions about publishing apps in app stores, and these often drive new developers and business owners away.
If you have yet to launch an app but have been contemplating it for a while, there’s a good chance you have fallen victim to one of these myths:
“Apps are too expensive" = It’s true that big brands invest millions in app development, and for a time, it was also true that you needed to hire agencies or freelance developers if you wanted an app. But thanks to AppMachine and other app building platforms, that’s no longer the case.
"You need to be a developer to have an app" = It certainly helps if you have coding knowledge, but it’s no longer a necessity. If you have an idea, a purpose, and the patience to follow it through, you can create an app with no coding knowledge.
"I don't have the technical knowledge" = Unless you’re a complete technophobe who can’t switch on a computer or send an email, you’ll be fine. AppMachine uses customizable templates, a drag-and-drop editor, and a clear visual style that means even the non-technically minded can create apps.
“I need to build two apps” = AppMachine is a cross-platform app builder, which means that the app you create will run on Android and iOS. The same is true for many other solutions. There are native builds designed specifically for either iOS or Android, and some developers use these, but you don’t need to.
Convert a Website into a Mobile App with AppMachine#
If Google trends are anything to go by, many business owners are looking for simpler, faster, and cheaper options for creating apps. At the time of writing, search terms like “convert website into mobile app software” and “app builder no code” are generating an increasing amount of interest every month.
It’s no surprise, as apps are taking over our lives. We use them to track our health, monitor our sleep patterns, record our steps, chat with friends, and shop for everything from clothes and food to vacations and homes.
The simple fact is that if you run an online business—whether you’re selling a product or a service or just advertising your portfolio—an app is the way to go.
At AppMachine, we’ve made it easy for everyone to convert their websites or build apps from scratch. Forget about big-budget agencies and in-house teams, as you can do all of the work yourself. Simply choose from our range of prebuilt templates, utilize a drag-and-drop editor, and start piecing your new application together.
When you have finished, you can upload your app to both app stores and place it in front of millions of new potential customers.
Visit our product page to learn more about AppMachine and discover just how easy it is to convert your website into an app.