How to Create Native iOS & Android Apps for Your WordPress Site with Mobiloud
If you run a content based website then getting your posts out to as many people as possible is the name of the game and with more and more people spending time on their phones rather than on desktops, creating an app for your site is a good idea. I have tested some plugins in the past for WPLift which create an app for your blog but they were rather slow and just didn’t seem to work as well as native apps.
There are quite a few features which make Mobiloud stand out amongst other similar services, being a native app means it will feel slicker than apps which just include your HTML content, you are able to customize the look and feel of it to match your branding by uploading your own icon, logo and you can customize the color scheme to match. You can offer push notifications for when new posts are made, customize the app menu and also use custom post types, categories, pages and so on.
You can integrate Google Analytics and some advertising from AdMob, Adsense, MoPub, Google DFP or your own custom HTML ads which is a nice way to earn some extra revenue from the content you create. The app also supports WordPress, facebook and Disqus comments so your app users can participate the same as if they were using your website.
There are a load more features you can take advantage of also, here is the full list:
- Your own design for icon, launch images, logo and UI colors
- Unlimited automatic and manual push notifications (compatible with posts and custom post types)
- Customisable app menu with pages, categories, tags, custom taxonomies and links
- User preferences for push notifications (by category)
- Support for posts, pages, categories, custom post types and custom fields
- Advertising with AdMob, Adsense, MoPub, Google DFP or your own custom HTML ads
- Banner, interstitial and native ads supported
- Offline access to your content
- Support for Google Analytics with complete app usage statistics
- Custom HTML/PHP/CSS in the article contents (add all the functionality you need)
- WordPress, Facebook and Disqus comments supported
- Social Sharing features (one tap to share to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, email and more)
- Support for Youtube, Vimeo and other video players, Soundcloud and any HTML5 widget or player
- Support for image galleries
- User favourite posts
- Multilanguage apps, including English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish and Portuguese.
- RTL support for Arabic and Israeli
- Create a members only, login protected app with access to your WordPress user database
- App Submission service to App Store and Google Play (we do all for you)
- Ability to publish with your own Developer accounts on Google Play and App Store
Configure Your App
Once you upload and activate the Mobiloud plugin, you are taken straight into the design screen so you can begin to setup the look of your app. On the design page you can upload your logo, choose a menu color, choose what to display on the homescreen – Articles list, a page or a URL. You can also choose extended or compact thumbnails which use your post’s featured images. As you change things they are shown in a quick preview of your app.
Once you have configured your design settings you can move on to the menu config, here you can add specific categories from your site, custom taxonomies, Tags, Pages and any custom links which can point to any URL.
Testing Your App
You can now move on to the “Test the App” tab which gives you the option of seeing a live preview of your app in a simulator which looks like this :
You can also test out on a real device by downloading the Mobiloud app from the App Store or the Android app from Google Play the doing the following :
- Open the Mobiloud app. You’ll see the contents and design of the Mobiloud blog.
- Now shake your device.
- A screen named Preview your app will become accessible.
- Now enter your own site’s URL, the app will reload so you can see your own design and content on your device.
This is how the WPLift app looked on my iPhone 5 :
The menu slides in from the right :
Publishing Your App and Pricing
The final stage once you are happy with your app is to click the “Publish Your App” page which will then link you through to the pricing options.
Clicking the publish button will take you to the Mobiloud signup page on their site where you can pick a pricing plan.
As you can see, the starter plan is $69 per month but that is for Android only, if you need iOS as well you will need the professional plan at $99 per month which support notifications for 1000 users. The largest “publisher” plan includes unlimited notifications, full white-labeled app and mobile ad network integrations. All plans include the actual build and submission of your app to the app stores – a manual process so there is some delay from submitting your app until it appears in the relevant stores. If you prefer to pay once for your app, there is also lifetime pricing options available.
This is a really well made and easy to use plugin – setup is really simple so most people should be able to do this quite easily. The actual app is what you would expect – it feels slick to use, it navigates quickly and your content also loads quickly. The monthly fees may seem quite high but are not too unreasonable considering you are getting a professionally made app and the creation and submission is all handled for you by Mobiloud ( some competitors can charge $500+ for this alone). If you have a large audience you should be able to make the monthly fees back by including advertising, or just by having a larger reach for your content by appearing on Google Play and the Apple App store.
Mobiloud is definitely worth checking out if you are looking to add a native app for your content based website.