The use of mobile apps in the last few years has sky-rocketed, so much so that the 2 billion smartphone users worldwide spend around 85% of their time on their devices using apps. This has resulted in a number of websites having their own apps to compliment the site.
This will give your visitors an added incentive to view your content even when on the go, increasing the traffic to your content and building a larger and more loyal user base.
Of course, this also applies to WordPress sites, and you now have a number of quick solutions to creating your website’s app and promoting it through the App Store or Google Play.
One of the easiest solutions to this is Mobiloud – a plugin and service that will guide you to creating your own app in just a few minutes.
What is Mobiloud?
Mobiloud offers a WordPress plugin that integrates with your WordPress site to create an app and automatically update it as you make changes to your site. There’s no need to worry about designing your app from scratch and maintaining it, Mobiloud does most of the work for you. You just have to make sure to keep your site updated and your content flowing.
It creates native apps for both iOS and Android, resulting in fast and beautiful apps that work on the majority of smartphones. It offers a number of features that allow you to personalise and test out your app before purchasing it, so let’s take a look at them below.
Mobiloud uses your existing site and it’s content to build your app, with no extra effort on your end. Once you download the free plugin you can design and preview your app to your liking, using the settings on offer. Once finished, the Mobiloud team will publish the app on App Store or Google Play at a fee.
While most other mobile app solutions create non-native mobile apps, Mobiloud gives you a completely native mobile app that both looks and feels great on any Android or iOS smartphone and tablet. You can even integrate your style and brand into the app using your own colour scheme, logo, custom icons and launch images.
If you’d like you can add push notifications to your app too, alerting your users to new content or whenever you’d like to just pull their attention to a part of your site. Push notifications are known to perform much better than the normal email notifications, leading to higher open rates and more exposure for your content.
Among the other features offered by Mobiloud are the choice between WordPress, Disqus or Facebook commenting, easy social sharing options through a number of social media sites, email or SMS, as well as support for Google Analytics to track any traffic on your mobile apps.
Lastly, it also support other WordPress features such as custom post types, custom fields, tags, most WordPress plugins, and there are also a few advanced features such an the advanced Editor which allows you to add any custom HTML, CSS or PHP code to customise article or page screens, as well as support for subscription or membership sites.
Upon activating the plugin you’re sent straight to the Mobiloud dashboard within your site from where you can set everything you need. First up is a pup up window where you can enter your details, and once that’s saved you can access your dashboard.
The Design tab is where you can upload your site’s logo, set the navigation bar colour, and set the Home Screen settings. Here you have a choice between displaying a list of articles, a particular page from your site, or a particular URL. You can even choose between displaying your thumbnails as compact squares or larger images across the screen. While making these changes you also get a live preview on the right hand side.
Menu is a drag and drop section where you select which categories, taxonomies, tags, pages and links to add to your app’s menu, and in which order. There are also options to include Favourites in the menu and to show a categories tab menu on Android devices.
Next up you can Test the App. From here you can view a live preview as seen in the screenshot below, where a popup window will appear and load your site using the options you’ve set. You also have the option to test it on your own device by downloading the Mobiloud app from the App Store or Google Play and following the directions provided.
Last but not least is the Publish Your App tab. This provides links to the Mobiloud pricing plans that will get your app published, with directions as to what you need to do to get your app up and running.
The Settings section of Mobiloud has plenty of options for you to create the app that you need. Once again you have a number of tabs dedicated to the various functionalities of your app.
From these tabs you can set anything from the copyright email address and notice to the advertising options of your choice. All settings are clearly explained, providing you with explanations and enough options for you to make your app do what you need it to do.
Support & Documentation
Within the plugin’s dashbaord itself you’re already offered help right there and then. A blue “Got any questions?” window appears on every page that allows you to message the support team with any questions you may have, and they promise to respond within 24 hours.
Mobiloud also has a getting started video to guide you through the steps together with a Help & Support section on their site. From here you have access to all FAQs, a Getting Started guide, a Using Mobiloud section and a Troubleshooting page.
If you still need more help you can contact support via email as well as by phone on a UK or a US number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As previously mentioned, the Mobiloud plugin is free to download from the WordPress plugin repository, however publishing your app comes at a cost, and this is where the pricing plans come in.
There are 4 options to choose from, the first three being monthly payments. These are split into Starter, Professional and Publisher licenses, each one offering more than the other as shown below. All offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with the final product you’ve got nothing to worry about.
The last option is that of a Lifetime License that offers you the ability to publish your app forever with no monthly fees. It also has a few extras at an additional cost including unlimited push notifications for life, the ability to white label your app, to add in-app advertising as well as support for membership sites.
Conclusions & Recommendations
In conclusion, Mobiloud offers a simple solution to creating a mobile app for your WordPress site, even if it is a bit limited. Design-wise, you’re restricted to the Mobiloud app design, however you’re still able to personalise it for your own site.
The plugin itself works smoothly and is very intuitive, providing descriptions of each setting as well as plenty of links to where you can get some support and direction.
The live preview is great, offering a real feel of what the end result will look and work like, something which isn’t the case with some of its competitors. Having said that, it’s price is on the higher side compared to some other mobile app solutions, however, if the options on offer can satisfy your needs and you don’t want to spend too much time creating and developing an app from scratch, Mobiloud should definitely be considered.
Have you used Mobiloud or any similar plugin before? What are your thoughts on building apps for your WordPress sites this way? Let us know in the comments below.