Are you running a website on the immensely popular WordPress platform? Do you wish to offer your visitors a great mobile app to make their website experience even more dynamic and accessible? Did you know that you do not have to build such an application completely from scratch? You can, in fact, power such apps straight through your WordPress-based website. This guide will tell you exactly how.
The benefits of having your own mobile app for your website are plenty. The biggest advantage is the device notifications, which let your users know immediately if there is any new content on your website and the rate of shares along with which traffic automatically increases. With the heavy penetration of smartphones and tablets, such an offering is now a necessity.
A mobile application will enable your website to be in the visitor’s pocket wherever they go. Though the site is just as easily viewable through a mobile browser people now want to use the convenience of apps. Did you know that more than 50% of the world’s population is now using a smartphone? If by this time you do not have a mobile app for your WordPress website, then you are really missing out on a great opportunity.
A number of plugins to launch such an application through your WordPress-based website are available, with Mobiloud being the most popular. Mobiloud creates HTML5 apps through the interactive App.io tool and Wiziapp. Another option is Appifier, which offers this service at a lesser cost and it’s also simpler. Not much of a techie? Appifier might be the ideal choice for you.
Options may be plenty, however, the main area of focus for this guide will be AppPresser, the most widely employed tool. AppPresser not only provides ease of use but also offers greater control to the developers from a technical perspective. Through the use of plugins, AppPresser integrates with Phonegap, the open-source framework by Adobe. Phonegap supports numerous device features, for example, Contacts, Accelerometer, Compass, Camera, File, Geolocation, Media, Network, Notification (Alert, Sound, Vibration), etc. Through additional development along with customized extensions, you may merge with any of the features that Phonegap supports; and the best thing about Phonegap is that it’s free. With all these innovative tools, it’s becoming much easier to learn about website visitor habits too. Now suppose if you are curious about whether folks read your content while driving then theoretically speaking there can be an app built for that!
AppPresser makes it possible for you to build a cost-effective mobile app for your WordPress-based website in a fast and affordable way. It will cost $199 to create a standard WordPress mobile app through AppPresser. However, if you are looking into more advanced features such as the integration of camera or eCommerce, then the cost will go up to $499. The AppPresser pricing range offers four kinds of bundles: Starter Bundle for $199, E-Commerce Bundle for $399, Social Bundle for $399, and Agency Bundle for $499. For further details on the pricing plans, you can visit the official AppPresser website.
You have the option of either enlisting the app by yourself in the Google Play and iTunes Store or paying $499 to AppPresser to perform the task for you. The procedure of how this will be exactly done will also be explained in this tutorial.
Though there is a certain level of complexity involved in broadening the scope of your WordPress website through an App, it is a step, which is of utmost necessity in this day and age of rapidly advancing technology. One of the starting steps of making this a possibility includes creating a novel home page customized for this purpose. If you are getting concerned about how to exactly go about this process then be assured that AppPresser offers quite a few video guides along with comprehensive documentation that guide you at every step.
WordPress offers a great number of features ranging from plugins to user management. Previously such features were impossible to achieve through a mobile app; AppPresser however now makes it a possibility. Enabling you to take leverage from the existing features of WordPress, the most popular and user-friendly content management platform, you can build amazing apps that are not only friendly for your pocket but also allow you to save time.
In a nutshell, AppPresser is a collection of tools that enable you to build a native cell phone app, for either Android or iOS platform from your WordPress website and ultimately distribute it through Google Play and iTunes Store. There are a number of features that you can benefit from, such as building an eCommerce store via WooCommerce, creating an app for social networking using BuddyPress, integrating push notifications, amongst many others. You can also avail any of the features that are Phonegap’s API supported through customized development.
When it comes to the standard bundle, the installation of the AppPresser theme and plugin transforms the appearance of neither your desktop site nor its mobile version. The only place where it’s visible is inside the cell phone app. Your existing website functionality and layout do not get affected by this at all, meaning that when you will view the website through a browser on any device, you won’t visibly be able to see any aspect of the existence of AppPresser.
Nevertheless, it is recommended from AppPresser that you get a speedy hosting facility for the WordPress website so you can achieve a rapidly working mobile app. If you prefer that your hosting is managed, then the recommended hosting platform is WPEngine, which offers 4 types of price plans (Personal, Professional, Business, and Enterprise), depending upon your needs and budget. The best thing about WPEngine is the 60 Day refund policy, which allows you to cancel the plan within 60 days and get a full refund if you are not happy with the services. On the other hand, if self-hosting is more your thing, then the recommended choice is Digital Ocean, as its SSD drives are quick, speedy, and easy to use.
Working offline is not an option that you can avail yourself of from AppPresser, as it does not work if you have no internet connection. Therefore, your users will need to be connected to the internet, either through WiFi or via a cellular data connection, in order to access fresh content.
The agency bundle of AppPresser offers more extensions that can enhance your app in terms of both functionality and presentation. Following are the features:
- AppTheme – for customizing the look and feel of your mobile app (Also available via standard bundle)
- AppBuddy – for creating a social networking app, integrates with BuddyPress (Also available via social bundle)
- AppPush – Allows integration to push notifications (Also available via standard bundle
- AppCamera – for creating photo uploading and sharing apps (Also available via E-Commerce and Social Bundle)
- AppSwiper – for creating touch-based content slider widgets (Also available via E-Commerce bundle)
- AppWoo – for WooCommerce integration (Also available via E-Commerce bundle)
- Geolocation – An extension that enables you to display a simple map
- Future Extensions – Readily access all extensions made by AppPresser
- Support / Updates – Get support and updates for 1 year, renewable for 50% of the current price
How To Build The App
It is highly recommended that you go through the AppPresser Developer’s Handbook before you purchase any bundle; it’s absolutely free for review. You can start building the app once you have bought the bundle.
AppPresser Plugin Installation
Through the WordPress Dashboard, access the AppPresser plugin via the plugin directory and install it.
Through this plugin, you can integrate the WordPress website with the app extensions and features, which AppPresser offers through Phonegap.
Installation of AppSwiper Plugin and AppPresser Theme
AppPresser will suggest you utilize its own theme to use for the application website. However, this will not impact your existing website whether it’s the mobile or desktop version. The theme has been custom-made to be compatible with touch-based gadgets only.
Sign in to the AppPresser account and then select ‘My Account’. Then click on View Details and the download link in order to attain the license keys along with theme download. Other plugins can also be downloaded from this page.
Note down the license keys and then download the App Swiper plugin as well as AppTheme along with any other plugins or themes of your choice.
Through the WordPress Dashboard, put in the zip file of the theme that you just downloaded. However, don’t activate it just yet.
Find the amazing Swiper plugin which you just downloaded in the plugin menu and upload it. Activate this one.
Through WordPress Dashboard, select AppPresser Menu. Now turn on the "Load AppPresser for Admins Only" option. This option will allow you to review the app as an admin; however, it won’t impact the website’s regular operation. To view the normal website, open an incognito window and view it (you must not be logged in to the WordPress Dashboard at that time. Now enter the license key and save your settings.
This is what the preview of the home page of the app looked like later:
This may be functional but overall it is not a very awesome and creatively outstanding experience. So coming to the next move; this will be to create a distinct and customized home/main page for the app.
Create the App Home Page
It is recommended that you create a distinctive home page for the app. This particular home page will only be viewable when people will use the app. This will not impact the mobile or the desktop website.
Through the dashboard of WordPress, make the app’s new main/home page. This will help to switch off the discussions on the particular page since comments are never optimized when it comes to touch-based applications. Now add in [swiper] shortcode.
Through the AppSwiper plugin, you will be able to make new customized post types known as Sliders. Try creating some of these sliders which link to the website content that we want to highlight in our app. Now select a featured image for every slider to seem like a background.
Through WordPress Dashboard, now revisit the Settings page of AppPresser and type the title of your home page, then select it.
Now refresh the website in order to view the home page along with the functional sliders.
Now your new home page will start taking shape. The options to tailor the appearance of the website are plenty with AppPresser. You can also visit the official AppPresser website to view more helpful videos.
How to enlist your mobile App in App Stores?
In order to get your mobile app enlisted and sold in Google Play and the iTunes Store, you will have to buy a $25 license for Google Play and a $99 Apple iOs Developer Membership.
Through AppPresser, your app can get built and enlisted in the app stores for around $499. The procedure of doing that is a little complicated but you can follow the steps below and get it done. (You will be required to work through Phonegap Build):
- Create the website through WordPress and AppPresser in integration with the PhoneGap build
- Generate the required certificates and files through your Google and Apple developer accounts
- If you are incorporating the Push Notifications, the use PushWoosh to set up the app
- Create the files of the application by using Phonegap Build
- Submit the application to Google Play or Apple (you will require developer licenses that are active)
- Now, wait for the approval.
How To Promote Your App
Now that the app is placed in-store, you would like to market it and inform the potential visitors through different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. You will also want the visitors to view smart banners on the top of the website when they are on the mobile version.
There are free WordPress plugins to display such banners. You also have the option of coding these banners natively.
So What’s Next?
The options are limitless and the possibilities are endless with AppPresser’s integration with Phonegap. You can build state-of-the-art and sophisticated apps with such tools. To thoroughly understand all that AppPresser offers, view their complete extensions, documentation, and examples of the apps along with video guides on their official website.