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                      How to Turn Your WordPress Site Into an App, Step-by-Step

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                      WordPress Mobile Ready

                      Why make an app in the first place, I hear you ask? Apps might not be very useful for marketing anymore, but they’re quite convenient for your customers – giving them more of a choice as to how they interact with your site. With the continued rise of mobile internet (more people now access the internet via mobile apps than desktops) apps are blossoming, as most are nowhere near as awkward or problematic as mobile web browsers.

                      The cost and frustration involved in building one has gone far down, too. In the old days, a lot of businesses were interested in apps, but most weren’t able to build them. It was simply too difficult. Or costly (most devs charge upwards of $100 per hour)

                      But thankfully, things are different now. You no longer need much money or coding knowledge to build a competent app. And even better – you have options. Today we’ll look at:

                      • Making sure your WordPress site is mobile responsive
                      • Building (and coding) your own app with PhoneGap
                      • Use a WordPress Plugin to create your app (aka the easy way)

                      A Note on Free App Builders

                      Over the last few years, a ton of “free” options for building an app have shown up, but one of the most trustworthy is Adobe’s PhoneGap Build. As their site advertises you simply upload your HTML5, CSS and JavaScript files and the site will do the work of assembling them into an immediately-downloadable app. Best of all, it can build three simultaneously for Android, Windows Phone 8 and iOS – saving you plenty of time.

                      The result won’t be anything too fancy. In fact, all this method really does is disguise your homepage as an app. When the viewer taps the icon, they’ll just be taken to the same mobile website they’d see if they were to access it via their phone’s browser. So, in order for this method to be effective, you have to have an existing site that’s optimized for mobile viewing.

                      1. Make Sure Your WordPress Site Has a Mobile Version

                      If your WordPress site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, there’s really no point in this. So optimize it! Of course it’s easiest to simply use a mobile responsive WordPress theme like Total. But if your theme isn’t responsive there are plenty of plugins that can help.

                      iThemes Mobile

                      iThemes Mobile

                      iThemes Mobile will let you create simple but effective mobile themes based on your current site design. The administration panel lets you customize most aspects of their appearance without having to mess with the code.

                      Any Mobile Theme Switcher

                      Any Mobile Theme Switcher

                      Any Mobile Theme Switcher is a basic plugin that will detect the device your viewer is using and display a specific theme for that device. So if you want to balance multiple themes – one for each mobile OS – you can do it that way.

                      WordPress Mobile Pack

                      WordPress Mobile Pack Plugin

                      Finally, there’s the WordPress Mobile Pack, which offers a host of cross-platform mobile web applications, UI and theming options, and easy integration with Google Analytics.

                      2. Use PhoneGap Build to Create an App

                      Adobe PhoneGap Build

                      If you’re tech savvy and want to get hands on you can use Adobe PhoneGap to actually create an app for your WordPress website. Adobe has a full step-by-step guide in their docs, but here’s a quick look at the steps you’ll need to follow.

                      Step 1: Preparation

                      Before you start make sure you have a way to test your app on hand. You can use browser dev tools to imitate mobile device views, or try a service like CrossBrowser Testing.?But if you can manage it really is best to have an iOS and an Android device on hand.

                      Next, you’ll need to install Adobe PhoneGap Build on your computer. Click to download the Mac or PC version, and follow the on-screen prompts. Adobe also suggests installing a complimentary PhoneGap Developer App so you can instantly test your app as you build.

                      Step 2: Create you App

                      Next use the PhoneGap program to create your app. Please note – PhoneGap is based on Cordova, so you’ll need to have an understanding of it to actually code your app.

                      Choose from a default “Hello World” example, Framework7, Push Notification, React Hot Loader or Blank template to get started. Then you’ll need to choose where on your local hard drive you’ll be working on your project, and provide a name and ID. When you’re done, PhoneGap will provide a server address that you can use to view your app.

                      To give you a look, your root directory will need key files for PhoneGap to actually create your app. Specifically your index.html (at minimum), config.xml and sub-directory folders (that last one is operating system specific).

                      Here’s an example straight from PhoneGap app project structure page:

                      PhoneGap app project structure\

                      You’ll also need to create your own icons. You can of course handle this yourself or use a free online tool. IconsFlow is a great tool to help you create professional app icons quick using preset images, colors options, gradients, etc. Just design your icon, create a free account and download your files. If you already have an icon but need it resized for all devices and operating systems, the free App Icon Maker can do just that. But if you do a quick Google search you’ll find there are plenty of other websites, services and apps to choose from to create your icon.

                      Step 3: Testing Your App

                      With your app done and ready to go you can test it using the PhoneGap Developer App installed earlier. Be sure to use the server address that was provided. From there you can view your app on your mobile device, troubleshoot any issue, add fixes, re-upload and rebuild until perfect.

                      An important note: PhoneGap Builder can only work with iOS if you’ve joined the iOS Developer program (which was priced at $99/yr when this article was written) and provided your certificates. With the program’s software, you can actually build the app there yourself. But the reason we’re suggesting PhoneGap is so you can save time by doing all three at once – negating the need to do any separately. So yes, you’re paying for a bunch of services you might not end up using, but if you want your app on any iProducts, they kind of have you over a barrel here.

                      3. Use Alternative App Builders for WordPress

                      In addition to iOS’s tools, there are plenty of other app-building services and plugins you can use. These are significantly easier than building an app yourself. Some of them will also build (at the least) an Android app at no cost. Though you should definitely check the developer’s main site to be sure.

                      AppMySite

                      AppMySite

                      Create an app for your website with AppMySite. This easy to use plugin and service makes it easy to turn your WordPress site (or even WooCommerce store) into an app in just a few steps. First, get the plugin and register your account. Then get to work personalizing your app – there are plenty of built-in layouts and features to choose from. When you’re done just submit to publish your app (Android & iOS supported). Plus AppMySite syncs with your website in real-time, to keep your app up to date with any new posts or products you publish.

                      Other features include multiple language support, cart, and checkout integration, push notifications, social media integration, as well as for analytics that you can use to monitor app performance.

                      AppPresser

                      AppPresser

                      AppPresser is the biggest, the most popular and supposedly the first mobile app Framework for WordPress. It offers full integration: where most app builders only use a feed from your WordPress site, AppPresser lets you use all your plugins, posts and pages. In addition, it automatically updates the app as soon as you make any edits to your site. It features full support for e-commerce, too.

                      WPMobile App

                      WPMobile App

                      WPMobile App allow you to create both Android and iOS apps for your site. While the base plugin is free, you do need to pay for a lifetime license to actually create your app (starting at 79€ for one app format, or 149€ for both). With WPMobile App you’ll have customization options, free live test, automatic app updates, push notification support, social integration and premium support (a welcome feature if you get stuck).

                      MobiLoud

                      Mobiloud

                      While pricier (starting at $120/mo), MobiLoud handles pretty much everything for you (including submitting your app to the App Store and Google Play), thus making the price pretty reasonable. With MobiLoud your final app offers cross device compatibility, easy social sharing, monetization (via ads or subscriptions), push notifications, and more. And when the service is paired with their plugin (linked above) your can manage your app and push notifications from within WordPress.

                      Finally, there are a bunch of people you can pay to do it for you. However, with so many easy and affordable ways to DIY, you don’t really need to go that route for a basic app.


                      There are a ton of ways to build an app, and although it seems intimidating at first glance, the above methods make it incredibly simple. Just make sure you have a good mobile website to start with, okay? Now let me have it. Did I get anything wrong here? Are there any other methods I should know about??Feel free to leave your feedback below!

                      wordpress-website-app
                      Article by Tom Ewer WPExplorer.com author
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                      63 Comments

                      1. Benjamin L.

                        Thank you for this article. While I would fully understand that you don’t publish my comment, I wanted to point you to WP-AppKit, a plugin to create PhoneGap apps and connect them to WordPress : uncatcrea.com. The plugin is in its beta stage before we release it on WordPress.org.

                        • Jon Sellers

                          Why is App Kit’s plugin not on WP.O? WP_AK is the best app framework. OpenSourced with no license limit, simple WP plugin with multi app manager, works with Android iOS & Wpn, comes with 2 starter themes, bootstrap build your own theme tutorial. Git repository, Json Api, Cordova based, PhoneGap ready. No license limits, 100% free apps, as many as you want, you publish them where ever you want their yours.

                          • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                            I hadn’t heard of them before – thanks for sharing! ??

                            • Uncategorized Creations

                              Thank you for this kind words. There’s no mystery behind the fact that we are not in the WordPress Plugins Repository. We will submit it when reaching the 0.6 version. We felt that we had to have a rock solid plugin before getting more exposure ??

                      2. Hilman (@Hilmanrdn)

                        hey, i didn’t get which parts connect it to the wordpress. I see that phonegap can build by html css js, but how to do it with wordpress. Thanks

                        • im.sham

                          It is a bit unclear in the phone gap instructions

                          • UncatCrea (@UncatCrea)

                            I think, what may lack in the article is how to effectively load a remote website with PhoneGap. This article explains how to do it: antonylees.blogspot.fr/2013/02/launch-website-as-mobile-app-using.html

                        • UncatCrea (@UncatCrea)

                          What PhoneGap does is that it calls the phone’s browser engine (aka. webview) and loads a webapp (ie. built with the HTML/CSS/JavaScript stack). What this article explains is how to call a mobile website with a PhoneGap encapsulated browser. So, there’s no connection to WordPress (eg. with web servcies), your application === your website.

                      3. Amit Ahuja

                        That’s a nice piece of info and I am looking for was ways to convert my blog into an app and probably that can support banner ads too.

                      4. Rob Jackson

                        Have you tried DroidPress?

                        It’s only for WordPress to Android but it produces – by far – the best looking apps for Android for WordPress bloggers and site owners.

                        • Tom Ewer

                          Nope – I’m an iPhone user ??

                      5. im.sham

                        Would a responsive design work or is mobile specific necessary?

                        • UncatCrea (@UncatCrea)

                          Both will work ??

                      6. Iner Sadat

                        A new WP plugin that converts WordPress into mobile apps (Android and iPhone), while using a responsive theme is this one.

                        Very simple but gets the job done. Great support as well.

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          Looks like it just came out today – thanks for the heads up! ??

                      7. brandon171

                        Do you know how well AppPresser works with the Genesis Framework?

                      8. bravokeyl

                        I use AppPresser and it has a ton of hooks for developers ??

                      9. Tendai

                        this article will only make sense if you read the linked article:

                        Anyway i wanted to find out how to make this app work on any version of Android.

                      10. HDSA

                        How do you get your app into that app store?

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          I know that getting your app into the Google store is MUCH easier than the Apple store, but both have strict guidelines that you can find on their site ?? Best of luck!

                      11. Bhanu

                        The above two plugins are not for the mobile app.

                        @ Sadat – The website wordpress.org/plugins/wp-2-app/ is not working.

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          Hmm – when I check all of the plugins listed are still available, so I’m not sure what you are asking? Oh, and that link seems to be working fine for me as well ??

                      12. sprashid

                        On WP 4.2.4 wp-2-app is not working, it wordpress.org it is stated that it has compatibility up to 4.1.7

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          Try reaching out to the plugin author via the support tab on the WP 2 App plugin page.

                      13. Arbind

                        Has anybody used appsconda.com to create a mobile app? I am trying to use it but would like to have an opinion first.

                      14. aimrancars

                        That’s a nice piece of info and I am looking for was ways to convert my blog into an app and probably that can support banner ads too.

                      15. Ben

                        Great tutorial – just one issue though – I tried to push my app to Google Play, however it was rejected on the basis of being vulnerable, and suggested upgrading to Cordova 3.5.1 – any suggestions on how to do this? Thanks,

                      16. aanchalsaroha

                        thanks a lot

                      17. Kishan

                        Thank you for the great post. I will create a mobile app for my website,

                      18. Rabia

                        Thanks, i would like to ask you about adsense ads, if i build an app using the said techniques will my ads show up or ill have to switch to admob?

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          I think that Google ads will still work, but that’s just an educated guess based on the fact that when I’ve purchased ads I have the choice to target mobile apps. To get a better answer I would suggest contacting the Adwords or Adsense support team ??

                      19. Rajendra Reddy

                        Is there any plugin available for wordpress without mobile version if i can create android app

                        • AJ Clarke Avatar AJ Clarke

                          Basically need to add some code that displays a popup to recommend the app instead of the site. But I would never recommend disabling the site completely on mobile, you should still use a Responsive WordPress Theme so that it can be viewed on any device, even if you do have an app. Your app should simply “complement” your site as an alternative.

                      20. Franck PARIENTI

                        WP-Appkit is a great tool. I’ve met the team at Wordcamp Paris.

                        I own 150 WordPress.

                        What’s the best solution for get all my WordPress to iOS and Android ? For me it’s WP-Appkit and it’s free.

                        Who’s the partner freelance or company for use the best solution to convert my sites to Apps ?

                      21. Lily Okamoto

                        We are developing new service Joren (joren.io) which helps WordPress website converting into a native app for both iOS and Android. You can publish your app for free. We are in Beta now, please check us out if you are interested ??

                        • AJ Clarke Avatar AJ Clarke

                          Looking good! When you guys are done if you want to write a guest post about your project hit us up on twitter and we can discuss further.

                        • umer

                          where i can check?

                          • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                            Maybe do a quick Google search for the company to see if they’re live yet?

                      22. Mobile app developer

                        In my knowledge use Apppresser plugin in WordPress turn into your site in App.The only thing I don’t like about apppresser is that, they provide the core plugin for free but the project files to build the app are not provided for free, you need to purchase something from them.

                      23. Cara Mooralian

                        Thanks for sharing such good article. This is really helpful. I will create a mobile app for my website,

                      24. blairsutherland

                        I build a mobile app for my site and it works! My site has links out to external sites that I want to open in the device browser (ios safari etc) not in the app itself. Any advice on how to do that?

                        • blairsutherland

                          I found my answer. It seems that allow-navigation will permit the user to keep the specified site content within the app and everything else opens the device browser.

                          Here is the code:

                          • AJ Clarke Avatar AJ Clarke

                            Sorry looks like the code didn’t go through for security reasons if you want to try again wrapping your code in pre tags first that should work or posting a link to a gist with the code for others to see. Thanks!

                      25. Michael Opydo

                        There are services that do that, like Mobiloud, AppPresser and PressPad News – the last one is where I work ?? You can have your app with many features, analytics etc. with no technical knowledge whatsoever.

                        If you want to see how it can look like, check out “App marketing in digital publishing” in the Apple App Store.

                      26. Wapppress999

                        Thanks for this useful information. Word press site users you can also try our plugin i.e. Wapppress to create a mobile app for your word press web site.

                      27. Robert Smith

                        Hello great information, this article is very helpful for me. In this article we have an idea to create a app for my product and website. so I am highly thankful to you for providing me a great and useful information.

                      28. wapppress999

                        Thank you for great information. This is really helpful.

                      29. milad

                        hi this is very nice!
                        but i need real android app.

                      30. Orit Alexander

                        very nice information , Really good content,Thanks to tell me how to turn wordpress website into app

                      31. Emran

                        It is a difficult procedure. lets see I will try to convert my WordPress Blog into app.

                      32. Florian

                        Great article. I would add that for those who are freelancers or developers themselves, it might be a better idea to use a mobile native app template and build on top of it. In this way, they get a lot of stuff out of the box and it’s also super easy to customize everything they want.

                      33. Spooky Boo

                        Thank you for this. Trying it out now ??

                      34. Sandra

                        That’s a nice piece of info and I am looking for was ways to convert my blog into an app and probably that can support banner ads too!

                      35. Aziz Khan

                        this is really some great info, i managed to create my first app with the help of this article, way to go and to improve, does anyone know how i can create the app using Android Studio? i am good at making simple apps using Android Studio, i was curious if someone could give me some heads up to start on how to create the web app using Android Studio, highly appreciated, Thank allot.

                      36. Ashu

                        This post is really awesome.This post really helps me a lot to complete my client project.Thanks for sharing this kind of project.

                      37. Paulina Kubala-Chuchnowska

                        Hi, you wrote an excellent article!! There are services like PressPad News which do it and you don’t need any technical skills to enjoy your mobile app ??

                      38. Johnson Daniel

                        Honestly, I need a plugin that can just turn my WordPress site into a native android app without having to pay for anything later.

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          I could be wrong, but I think Adobe PhoneGap is completely free for Android (iOS on the other hand requires a separate premium iOS Developer Program membership). It’s a bit more involved than the plugin options, but there aren’t any fees or upgrades to deal with. When I check WordPress.org there are quite a few Android app options, but it looks like most have an annual fee or upgrade needed for longterm use.

                      39. Florian Marcu

                        Hi, do you mind including my WooCommerce app builder InstaMobile in this list? I think it’d make your article more relevant and fresher, given this has been built last week (September 2019), on the latest most up-to-date WooCommerce & React Native code / stack. Happy to give you more details, if needed. Appreciate your help!

                      40. Ron

                        Hi.

                        I’m the author of the ‘Web Into App’. The WebIntoApp allows you to turn any website into a native App for Android and iOS. You can create a FREE or a Dedicated APP, online, within a minute. Feel free to try it!

                      41. Hamed

                        Your Article about phonegap is incomplete and unclear!!! What’s the next step to turn on my wordpress into phonegap App?! I’m here from result of google search and your article make me confused.

                      42. Naveen Reddy

                        I always wondered how to make apps with WordPress websites but this article cleared all my doubts.

                        Hey, Adobe has discontinued PhoneGap Build, so can you please replace PhoneGap Build with another one?

                        • Kyla Avatar Kyla

                          Looks like PhoneGap will be discontinued in October 2020, so we’ll see if we can find a good alternative around then. But for now their service should still work.

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