According to Statista, Americans spend an average of 5.2 hours on their phones every day–so it’s no surprise that many businesses have invested in apps that cater to customer demands and provide quality user experiences. In fact, 48% of small businesses have an app as of 2022, compared to 32% in 2021.
“An app provides a direct access point from the home screen of a mobile device, and a native app experience is typically slicker and faster than a comparable web experience,” says Cathy Boyle, principal analyst at eMarketer.
The first step is to create a website. Then, build an app from your existing content. Here’s what you need to know:
Why does your business need a mobile app?
Not all types of websites or businesses will find apps beneficial. Apps are useful for companies with strong customer bases that make frequent, repeat purchases or book appointments. Restaurants, eCommerce stores, gyms and salons are just a few examples.
Creating an app from your website can benefit your business in the following ways:
Meet consumer demands
Consumers spend more time on apps than they do on websites: According to eMarketer, smartphone users spent 88% of their time online on apps.
Improved user experience
91% of consumers prefer to shop with brands that offer personalized recommendations and create unique shopping experiences. Apps offer a user-friendly, easily navigable interface and personalized experiences that users can access immediately upon download. Businesses can also use customer engagement data from apps to provide updates and recommend products.
Connects customers with your brand
Users must download a business app onto their personal devices before accessing them. While it takes up storage and screen space, it also provides an opportunity to consistently connect with your brand and keep your business top of mind. You can keep consumers opening and interacting with your app by sending push notifications, reminders and even app user-only sales and benefits.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Google rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2018 in response to the growing number of people accessing the internet from their smartphones. The search engine wants to provide the most helpful search results to users, so Google now ranks websites based on mobile website content instead of desktop.
This applies to apps, too. Once Google detects a search conducted from a smartphone or tablet, it will also display “app packs,” or a group of 3-6 apps that the user may find relevant, in search results. You can use this feature to strategically get eyes on your business’s app and potentially field new customers.
Integrates with smartphones and tablets
Apps can also integrate with other useful phone features, like contacts, location and camera, to provide a seamless user experience.
Which platform: iOS or Android?
You can feature apps on two primary platforms: iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, and Android, the Linux-based system that sells apps on Google Play. Most smartphones and tablets run on one of these operating systems.
However, you can create an app on a platform that builds versions for both iOs and Android and requires zero coding knowledge, like Wix. That way, your app can reach both markets no matter what type of device they have.
However, if you choose to hire a developer to design your app or use a program that only designs for a single platform, consider these points:
Your target market. Android and iOs users have different consumer profiles. While Android devices have the greatest global market share, more users in Western Europe, Australia, and North America use iOS. Also, iOS users have a higher annual household income ($200,000) than Android users ($50,000-$100,000). iOS users spend, on average, more time on their phones per day than Android users.
Android is an open source platform. When it comes to app development, Android’s platform offers flexibility. In contrast, Apple’s App Store requires approval before featuring apps, to make sure they meet the platform’s strict guidelines.
Time. Swift, Apple’s coding language, makes it quick to develop iOS apps. On the other hand, Android apps use Java, a more time-consuming coding language.
How to make a website an app
Once you’ve made a Wix website, you can create an app with Wix’s mobile app builder that suits both iOS and Android. The builder integrates with your website, creating your app from your existing content. Then, customize it as you see fit.
Here’s how to do it:
Log in to your Wix account and then download the Wix App Builder from your site’s dashboard.
You’ll see the following options under Customize Your App:
Choose a name and icon
Pick your app’s theme and preferences
Edit your layout and add content
Go through each step and select your preferences. On the right, you’ll see a mock mobile screen displaying how your app will appear as you customize it.
Save your options then scan the QR code from your phone under the Advanced Customization menu. This will take you to the mobile editor in the Wix Owner App.
Here, you can continue optimizing your app’s content, images, display and links.
To view a demo of your mobile app from an iOS device, download the Spaces by Wix app, log into your Wix account and click on your app’s site to view. To view a demo from an Android device, the App Builder will prompt you to download a mock app onto your device.
Once you are satisfied with your app, create Apple Developer and Google Developer accounts and submit your app for approval.
Finally, submit your app for approval through Wix. Wix will conduct an internal review and then send it to Apple and Google for separate reviews. Once approved, your app will appear on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
By Talia Cohen
Small Business Expert and Marketing Blogger