Everything talks about mobile first and the importance of adapting your WordPress website to mobile needs. Unfortunately, the implementation is often limited to small optimization measures on the website itself. One effective channel is usually forgotten - mobile apps. In the last few years, I have equipped several of my projects and websites with a WordPress app and made some exciting experiences that I would like to share with you today. Finding the right plugin to convert your website into a mobile WordPress app is quite a tedious task. Much more than the abundance of offers, I am bothered by the many top 10 lists. Because these are usually very superficial and you know as little afterwards as you did before.
My Top 3 App Builders Plugins for WordPress
So, to mark the occasion, I sat down and picked out the three best plugins for your potential WordPress app. In each case, I've chosen one plugin for certain purposes and sizes - from small blogs to international companies. I look forward to helping you choose the right plugin to turn your WordPress website into a mobile WordPress app!
First of all, I have focused on app subscription services in this article. Because spending 50,000 Euros on a custom app from an agency with years of support is neither my goal nor my recommendation. For this reason, app subscription services or so-called WordPress app builders are very popular. And at least three of them are really recommendable.
#1 AppPresser: Super plugin for apps - for small blogs and websites
We start with AppPresser, probably the best known WordPress app builder plugin. It will also appeal to most of you at the same time. AppPresser has made a name for itself among the masses and quite rightly claims a large market share. The tool has well over 4,000 active installations at WordPress.org. So something is being done right here.
Strictly speaking, not just anything, but the price-performance ratio. For as little as 19 Euros a month (as of January 2019), you can take out an AppPresser annual licence, which includes the app builder as well as one year of support and updates. However, the smallest plan supports a maximum of 5,000 devices for push notifications and no other features.
The option of placing advertisements, sharing buttons for social media, downloads, camera integration and so on is only available from the "Agency" plan for just under 50 Euros a month. The plan "Agency Plus" offers even more PRO features. These include services such as community areas and member areas, offline downloads, translations and more.
Basic functions at a low price
AppPresser works very simply and directly in the WordPress interface. You select menus, colours, backgrounds, fonts, etc. and can put together your own individual mobile WordPress app. The live preview sweetens the user experience immensely. Creating a WordPress app is therefore easy and pleasant at the same time!
However, there are not many options available here. For example, the basic design of the app cannot be changed easily. You can imagine it more like a WordPress theme, which you can configure. No more, but also no less.
And that brings us to the point why the headline says "for blogs and websites". The WordPress apps look more like web apps and are probably not among the most modern interfaces you can find. So if you want to stand out from the competition individually, you might be better off choosing a different service. On the other hand, the apps are hard to beat for this price. Therefore, with a small budget, you will find the perfect provider with AppPresser. A further budget might be better invested in editing a niche blog.
#2 Appful.io: Perfect app plugin for larger magazines, companies and large WordPress projects
Now we go from one corner of the target group diagram to the other. If you don't create a mobile app for a niche blog, but for a company, larger projects or a magazine, you need a different service provider. Appful has been positioning itself on the market for years as the perfect solution for companies. According to their homepage, organizations such as Greenpeace, Vaude, Peta and large web portals such as Macnotes.de use the app builder.
Appful not only offers the pure creation and support of publishing apps. If you are planning your own app for internal communication, for content marketing purposes or even as a database, you will find appful to be a good partner with experience in the B2B sector. But even large websites and magazines can benefit from appful's know-how if the appropriate budget is available.
In addition to just the WordPress plugin, appful offers numerous features and services that make it a complete package: Years of support, regular updates for the latest features on iOS and Android, modern app designs and above all the Dashboard login separate appful from many small WordPress app builders.
With appful, you can conveniently log in to your account, make adjustments to your app and make it live from anywhere and at any time. In addition, you can configure the app design, pages and menus as well as access analytics data via your account. It is also possible to develop your own app designs and features with the team behind appful.
A professional app has its price
Overall, Appful is an optimal solution for companies and larger WordPress-based projects that want to outsource as much work as possible when developing a modern app. In the end, the app should be available in the app store and remain modern and future-proof thanks to updates and support. Outsourcing instead of doing it yourself is the keyword here. Basically the opposite of AppPresser.
However, you have to calculate B2B prices for these services, unlike AppPresser and the like. appful starts at 99 Euros per month. As a company and enterprise, you usually pay more. So you should recon with a few hundred Euros in expenses. But for a modern app with optional custom design, this is a regular market price. Compared to app agencies, the appful solution is much cheaper. So it's a kind of "best of two worlds" in the B2B sector: agency design and subscription prices. So if the budget is given, appful is worth it. But that's a big "if". I myself have successfully converted several of my online blogs into a mobile WordPress app using appful. If I wasn't satisfied, I wouldn't mention this plugin.
#3 PWA: Does it always have to be a mobile app?
Especially if you only have a small budget and basically only want to display the content of a static website optimized on mobile devices, a web app can be the right solution. With the free plugin "Super Progressive Web Apps", which has over 10,000 active installations and a rating of 5/5 stars on WordPress.org , implementation is child's play.
I find it difficult to "talk up" a paid app builder for some WordPress projects and websites when basically all that's missing is a smart presentation for smartphones and tablets.
The PWA tool builds a mobile adapted version of your WordPress website within minutes, which displays the button "Add To Home Screen" on the mobile website. With just one click, a shortcut with icon can be placed on the home screen on iOS and Android. Of course, this home screen shortcut does not turn your website into a "real" mobile app, but this solution is often absolutely sufficient for the beginning. Moreover, PWA is the simplest and cheapest solution. After all, you can always upgrade to AppPresser or appful later.
Conclusion: Which WordPress plugin is the best for my needs?
Well, you can basically already tell this from the text. For most people, the answer will probably be "AppPresser". Because it gives you usually a really fancy WordPress app that is perfectly adequate for smaller projects and, above all, saves you money.
If you own a company, issue a magazine or have a larger WordPress blog, you should take a closer look at appful. Normally, a little more budget is a worthwhile investment.
If your plans to create your own WordPress app got completely confused after reading my article, you probably need some more time. In that case, it's a good idea to create a web app with PWA first. So if there's hardly any budget and you're basically still unsure whether your project will ever be big, it's better not to spend the money on a mobile WordPress app, but to optimize the mobile version as much as possible!
If you have any feedback, questions or further input on converting WordPress websites into mobile WordPress apps, I'd love to hear from you!