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6 Steps for Turning Your Website into an App

Mobile traffic dominates the internet, and the ways people find information have changed dramatically. Google search continues to occupy the top spot, but its lead has shrunk. Consumers today are far more comfortable seeking information in apps and using AI assistants than they used to be.

Given this change, should you convert your website to an app? There are plenty of reasons to do so. From ease of access to push notifications, mobile apps help you get closer to your customers in ways your website cannot.

Here’s how you can turn your website into an app.

Validate the App Use Case

Moving to an app makes a ton of sense, but it’s best to validate this move before executing it. Begin by evaluating whether your competitors offer a mobile app. While copying the competition isn’t always a good thing, the presence of apps in your sector might indicate factors you’ve missed.

Looking at website traffic trends and user interactions is also informative. If your website is facing declining traffic and users are moving away from interacting with your products on the website, creating an app version of it might make sense. Apps give customers quick access to products and also simplify buying processes.

If your website is already mobile-friendly and has great UX, an app might not be the best choice. You’ll only replicate something that already exists – not necessarily a good move from a budget standpoint.

Brainstorm App Features

Assuming you conclude that your business needs an app, what features should it have? This step is a critical one since you’ll define your app’s workflow and design here. Begin by listing all the things you want your customers to be able to execute.

Don’t limit yourself by thinking about the possibility of doing these things within an app. Instead, work from the customer’s perspective and reverse engineer what features your app needs. Peeking at competing apps is also a good way to shortcut the process. Your aim here isn’t to imitate what exists but to improve on it.

When creating your list, remember that app development works best as an iterative approach. You don’t have to launch every feature on your list at once. Focus on critical ones and plan to keep developing over time. This approach keeps costs in check and gets you to market quickly.

Vet Development Solutions

Once you have your initial requirements ready, it’s time to determine how it will be developed. First, decide on your ideal working model. Do you want to use an app development platform, hire an in-house team, or would you rather hire an agency or third party developer? All approaches have their pros and cons.

The in-house model is expensive, since you’ll have to retain coders and host the infrastructure yourself. The outsourced model is cost-effective but doesn’t give you full visibility and control over development. These days there are powerful tools you can use to convert your website into an app, too.

Make sure you vet all these choices carefully. Experience and communication skills are important. If you’re outsourcing development, schedule regular check-ins so that you have as much visibility as possible into development progress.

Confirm Costs

Once you’ve begun vetting developers, you’ll have a better idea of how much your app is going to cost to create. Development costs tend to vary a lot. If you find budgets running out of control, pause developer vetting and revisit your app feature list.

One recent study discovered that the average app costs between $30,000 to $90,000 to develop. That is a wide range, but it gives you a ballpark to budget for. Remember this is just the initial development costs. Future iterations and upgrades might cost more.

Consider breaking down your feature list into smaller lists so that you can build flexible contracts with your developers or agency. For instance, if you’ve outsourced development, you can pay per sprint, to ease cash flow.

Review UX

UX is the most important part of an app, and you must conduct several product walkthroughs before finalizing it. Use experienced designers and UX writers to help you create an app that engages users and pushes conversions.

Device compatibility is paramount. Test your app for this repeatedly as development progresses. User-testing is critical before launching an app so make sure your development team delivers on the schedule you agreed to.

Have someone outside your organization review your app for UX to get an outside perspective.

Having them play in a sandbox version is a great way of gathering feedback and making improvements.

Create a Marketing Plan

Most developers simply create an app, launch it on app stores, and expect people to begin downloading it. Modern users expect information before downloading an app, so make sure you explain why your app is great and the benefits users will receive.

Promote your app to your company’s customers before launch, letting them know what they stand to gain from it. Consider offering incentives to download your app, with a time constraint.

This will boost initial downloads, pushing your app to the top of app stores’ relevant category leaderboards, thereby exposing it to still more customers.

An Involved Process

Launching an app is a time-consuming but rewarding process. The first step is the most critical one. Make sure you have a reason to launch an app and ensure your customers will benefit from it. Without this, converting your website to an app is pointless.