How to Convert a Website Into an App

What are some of the benefits of converting a website into an app? If you decide to create an app, is hiring an expensive agency still the only option? And what can you expect throughout the development process?

In this article, we’re going to answer all of these questions and much more. 

We’re going to show you why the days of creating a high-code app are over. We’ll explain what no-code is – and why to consider no-code if you want to convert a website into an app. Finally, we’ll review why Blaze might be the best option for you.

By the time you finish reading this article, you should understand how to convert a website into an app. We’ll reveal how you can do this the traditional way (high-code). But we will also explain how Blaze makes it easy as a no-code solution. 

Let’s get started!

Why Convert a Website Into An App? 

First things first: Why would a business want to turn a website into an app? 

When used correctly, a web app can help bring a business to the next level. There’s a misconception that an app is simply a mobile-optimized site. While this is true in some cases, it oversimplifies the benefits of this technology.

In reality, a web app should be specifically designed to help your business run its operations. The best part? It can be done through a web browser on both desktop and mobile devices without need for extra software. Because apps are connected to the internet, your team will benefit from real-time data and updates.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits:

  • Optimized performance. One of the most common web apps for businesses are project management tools. Now, imagine an app that allows you to sync data from multiple sources to create a customized dashboard. Instead of having to access multiple tools, your team can access them from a single web app. This makes work more efficient, while reducing opportunity for error and miscommunication.

  • Build more loyalty and engagement. Since CRM systems help track customer interactions and engagement, they can be used for rewards purposes. Simply create a coupon code and launch it! This keeps clients coming back for more. It also boosts marketing efforts by providing actionable data and insights. Clients can also be segmented into various marketing lists; specificity is key!

  • Manage business contracts. There are multiple moving parts when it comes to finding and securing new business clients. A web app can help you manage business contracts from a singular location. This way, you don’t have to track down different revisions, client contact information, and notes. Again, you can pull multiple integrations into a web application. All contract updates sync in real time, preventing miscommunication. More importantly, a streamlined contract workflow keeps revenue humming along.

  • Better inventory management. Real-time visibility and analytics are incredibly valuable. This is especially true when it comes to keeping inventory in stock. Every business is different. This is why it’s important that you have the ability to automate and customize your own inventory system.

While there are many benefits, the key benefit comes down to a single word: Customization.

When you convert a website into an app, you have complete control over the final product. Oftentimes, software comes with extra features you don’t need. However, you still need to pay for those unused features. By building your own app, you’re helping your business run better. You’re creating exactly what you need without the bloat. The best part? You can always update it and scale as your business grows.

What Are the Different Types of Apps You Can Turn a Website into?

Simply put, there are two types of apps you can build:

  1. Native Apps
  2. Hybrid Apps

First, let’s take a closer look at native apps.

If you're an avid smartphone user, chances are you use native apps every day. In fact, when most people hear the word “apps,” a native app is likely what comes to mind. But what exactly are native apps and how do they differ from other types of apps?

Native apps are applications that are specifically designed to be used on a particular operating system (OS). For Apple devices, these apps are designed to run on iOS. For Androids, they’re made to run using Google’s Android OS. 

In other words, these apps are developed using the programming language and tools that are native to the particular operating system. This is where the name “native apps” comes from! Building apps from scratch allows them to fully integrate with the device. Because the app is native, it can take advantage of all the device’s features. This includes the camera, GPS, and sensors, which allows them to offer a wide range of functionality.

Another advantage of native apps is that they can be downloaded and installed directly from app stores, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This makes it easy for users to discover and download native apps, and also helps to ensure that the apps are secure and of high quality.

Some of the most popular uses for native apps include:

  • Social interaction (social media)
  • Entertainment (games, streaming)
  • Education (eLearning platforms)
  • Fitness apps (nutrition, workouts)
  • Personal finance (banking)
  • Productivity (task list apps)

A key benefit of native apps is the ability to send push notifications. This is especially popular among news publishers and ecommerce stores. 

So, the next time you're using your favorite app on your smartphone, take a moment to think about whether it's a native app or not. Chances are, it is – and that's why it works so well on your device. Native apps are an essential part of modern smartphones, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

That raises the question: What are hybrid apps?

Hybrid apps are developed using a blend of web technologies (like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) and native programming languages. This allows them to be built once and used on multiple platforms (smartphones, tablets, and computers). Hybrid apps are accessed through a web browser, not downloaded from an app store.

Here’s an easy way to tell the difference between native and hybrid apps:

  • How they are developed: Native apps are developed using the programming language specific to a particular OS. Hybrid apps are developed using a blend of web technologies and native programming languages.

  • How they are deployed: Native apps are usually downloaded and installed directly from app stores. Hybrid apps are accessed through a web browser.

  • How they perform: Native apps can be faster and more responsive than hybrid apps, as they are designed to fully integrate with the device and take advantage of all its features. However, hybrid apps offer the advantage of being able to work across multiple platforms. Hybrid apps can also handle much more data and tasks.

  • How they are maintained: Native apps require separate updates for each platform. When you update an app on your smartphone, a developer made the update specifically for your device’s OS. Compare this to hybrid apps, which are updated once and update across the board since they are accessed through a web browser. 

It’s important to note that while you can access a hybrid app through a browser, it’s not “just a website.” Accessing the app through a website is a convenience, but there’s a lot of high-tech behind the scenes. Hybrid apps mix website technology with native app technology to make this convenience possible. 

The difference between mobile apps (native apps) and mobile websites can often be determined by whether or not you had to download an app to your device. 

Native vs. Hybrid Apps: What’s the Best Choice for Your Business?

The first step to convert a website into an app is to determine what type of app you want: Native or hybrid?

As with anything else in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every single business is different. Each business has its unique goals and priorities. To help you determine which option is best for your business, ask the following questions.

What is the purpose of the app?

Are you looking to boost your business by establishing a large app store presence? If so, then you’ll want to opt for native apps, as these are only accessible by download through the app store. 

For example, some businesses rely entirely on app revenue. Think about Uber and Lyft. Both of these apps have to be downloaded onto your phone. The business model is entirely dependent on users booking rides through the app, which then takes a cut of each transaction.

Another example is augmented reality. Pokémon Go, for instance, is reliant on the camera in the smartphone for users to play the game. Therefore, it makes sense that Pokémon Go would be a native mobile app.

On the other hand, if the purpose of your app is to streamline business operations, then you’ll want to opt for a hybrid app instead.

What is your target audience?

Are you looking for the widest reach possible? If so, then a hybrid app is likely your best choice, as it can be accessed through a browser.

Businesses that want to create an app to boost productivity can easily deploy a hybrid app, regardless of what smartphone their employees have.

On the other hand, an ecommerce store targeting generation Z would benefit from a native app. Their target audience grew up with smart technology and is used to interacting with brands through apps. Modern user expectation is a key factor to consider.

What is your budget to create the app?

Native apps are more expensive to develop. This is because they need to be developed with each platform (operating system) in mind. Hybrid apps are cheaper because they only need to be developed and deployed once!

As a rough estimate, native apps can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000 to develop. 

Hybrid apps can cost as little as $25 per month, per user. Blaze is a no-code app development platform that lets you build internal tools and apps with no code. The most popular option is $125. Organizations that need more can request a custom solution.

What is your desired level of integration?

Do you want the app to integrate seamlessly with the device it’s used on? If device integration is important, then you’ll want to opt for a native app.

But what about integration with other software? For example, if you’re building a business app, you may want to connect with other tools. This might include tools like DocuSign, Zendesk, Shopify, Strip, Quickbooks, HubSpot, and much more! If you want to bring in external data, then you’ll want to go hybrid.  

Are you okay with relying on a developer or agency?

Native apps are what are known in the industry as “high-code.” In other words, they require a high amount of coding. You’re going to need to hire a professional app developer or an agency to be able to build a native app.

Want to make updates in the future?

You’ll have to re-hire the team or find someone else who knows how to code.

However, if you’d prefer to have total control, then hybrid apps allow you to do so. Thanks to low-code and no-code solutions like Blaze, you can build business apps without writing a single line of code. Essentially, you connect all the data sources you want. Then you begin dragging and dropping features into place to create your own dashboard.

In other words, you don’t necessarily have to hire an agency to convert your web app into an app. You can do it yourself if you want!

Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It comes down to your organization’s needs, priorities, and vision for the app. By answering the above questions, you’ll be better able to answer the question of whether to go native or hybrid. 

4 Ways to Convert a Website Into an App

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of native vs. hybrid apps, it’s time to look at how to actually convert a website into an app! Since there are multiple options, we’ll review the pros and cons of each. We will also explain why Blaze is considered the best option for businesses regardless of size. 

Let’s dive in!

1. Code the Native or Hybrid App Yourself

You can convert the app yourself using native/hybrid options if your organization has the resources to do so. Many enterprise companies have full-fledged IT teams with development capabilities.

Pros of coding an app yourself:

  • Cost-effective. One of the main benefits of coding a mobile app yourself is that it can be a cost-effective solution. Depending on the complexity of the app and the resources you have, coding it internally can save you the cost of hiring an agency or a freelancer.
  • Flexibility. Coding a mobile app yourself gives you more control over the development process. This allows you to make changes and tweaks as needed. Freelancers and agencies like to establish scope of work before beginning. However, when you’re doing it yourself, you can make updates on the fly.

  • Customization. Coding a mobile app yourself allows you to fully customize the app to meet your specific needs and goals. You have complete control over the design, functionality, and features of the app.

  • Quick iteration. If you are coding an app, you have the ability to make changes and updates quickly and easily. This can be especially useful if you need to make adjustments or fix issues in a timely manner. This also means faster time to deployment.

Cons of coding an app yourself:

  • It’s time-consuming. Coding an app from scratch can be a lengthy project, especially if it’s not your team’s specialty. You may run into unexpected issues or roadblocks. This can consume internal resources and lead to delays in the development process.

  • Lower quality. If you are not an experienced developer, the quality of the app may suffer. It may not function as well or be as polished as an app developed by a professional. This can impact the overall user experience and the success of the app.
  • Lack of specialization. Coding a mobile app yourself may not allow you to take advantage of specialized skills and expertise a professional developer can offer. This can limit the capabilities and functionality of the app.

  • Limited resources. You may not have access to the same resources and tools as a professional development team. This can impact the speed and efficiency of the development process, as well as the final product.

The complexity of the app, customization needed, and number of platforms it needs to work on can all affect the time it takes to code an app. Simple apps with just a few features may take a few weeks to code. More complex apps could take several months or even longer. 

2. Hire an Agency to Convert your Web app into an App

When it comes to developing an app, one of the biggest decisions you'll face is whether to hire an agency. Like all the other options, this has its own set of pros and cons.

Pros of hiring an agency to convert your web app:

  • Expertise and experience. Agencies have teams of pros who have worked on a variety of projects. They have the knowledge, skills, and experience to ensure that your web app conversion is a success.

  • Quality assurance. Agencies typically have QA processes in place to make sure your app meets all necessary standards and functions as intended. This can save you time and money in the long run by avoiding costly revisions or updates.

  • Efficient project management. Agencies have project managers who will handle the details of the conversion process. This includes setting milestones and deadlines, coordinating with the dev team, and communicating with you every step of the way.

  • Access to advanced tools and technologies. Big agencies typically have access to advanced tools and technologies that can improve the speed and efficiency of the conversion process. They may also have access to resources such as specialized software or hardware.

  • Ongoing support. Many agencies offer ongoing support and maintenance for the apps they build. This can be helpful if you're not well-versed in app development. You'll have a team of professionals to turn to for help if you encounter any issues.

Cons of hiring an agency to convert your web app:

  • Cost. Development agencies can be more expensive than other options. This may not be feasible for businesses with limited budgets or smaller projects.

  • Lack of flexibility. Working with an agency may not be as flexible as working with a freelancer. The agency may have a set process that they follow. This can mean that they are less likely to adapt to your specific wants.

  • Longer turnaround time. Agencies may have more clients and larger teams, which can lead to longer turnaround times for your project. This may not be ideal if you're on a tight deadline.

  • Lack of personalization. Working with an agency may not allow for as much personalization as working with a freelancer. You may not have the same level of direct communication. They may also limit revisions or charge extra for edit requests.

  • Communication challenge.: Communication may be more challenging when working with an agency, as you may be working with multiple people and there may be more layers of bureaucracy to navigate. This can lead to misunderstandings and delays in the development process.

If you want a team to build the app from start to finish, working with an agency is your best bet. However, this premium service comes at a very high cost.

3. Hire a Freelancer to Convert Your Web App into an App

There are many pros and cons to working with freelancers. Generally speaking, a freelancer is a great option when you want a developer with a specific skill set. They are much more affordable than development agencies, but there are some risks involved.

Pros of hiring a freelancer to build your app:

  • Expertise. Freelancers have a wealth of experience working on different projects in different industries. This can bring valuable insights and perspectives to your project. This gives you the opportunity to find a freelancer who is a good fit for your project.

  • Personalized attention. Working with a freelancer allows you to have more direct communication. You'll be able to have one-on-one conversations. With an agency, you usually talk with a project manager rather than directly with the developer(s).

  • Faster turnaround. Freelancers control their own schedules. They may be able to complete your web app more quickly than a professional development agency or doing it yourself.

  • Specialization. Freelancers often specialize in niche areas of web app development, such as UI/UX design, front-end development, or back-end development. This allows you to find a freelancer who is well-suited to your needs.
  • Collaboration. Working with a freelancer allows for more direct and personalized collaboration. This helps ensure that the project is completed to your satisfaction. Freelancers are typically more open to feedback and willing to make changes to meet your needs.

Cons of hiring a freelancer to build your app:

  • Limited resources. Freelancers don't have the same resources as large agencies. For example, they don’t have a full team or access to enterprise level tools and technologies. This can impact the speed of the development process.

  • Quality. While there are many skilled freelancers out there, there is always a risk of hiring someone who is not as qualified as you'd like. This can result in a lower quality web app and a less positive user experience.

  • Lack of oversight. Working with a freelancer may not provide the same level of oversight and accountability as working with an agency. There is a risk that the project may not be completed to your satisfaction or on time.

  • Lack of support. Freelancers can’t offer the same level of support as professional development agencies. If you run into issues or need help with the web app after it's completed, you may not have the same resources and support available to you.

  • Communication challenges. Communication can sometimes be more challenging when working with a freelancer. For example, they might live in a different time zone or speak a different language. Because they are not employees, they work on their own time. This can lead to misunderstandings and delays in the development process.

In short, freelancers can be a great option when you want a somewhat similar quality to an agency, but at a lower cost. However, you'll need to vet each candidate to find the best fit for your project.

4. Convert a Website Into an App Using Blaze

The rise of low-code technology has created new ways to convert mobile apps. More and more companies are choosing to use an app builder like Blaze

Pros of using Blaze to build a web app include:

  • No coding skills required. One of the biggest benefits of a no-code solution like Blaze is that it allows you to build an app without needing to know how to code. This means that you can create an app even if you don't have a background in programming or computer science.

  • Faster development time. Because you don't have to write code, you can build an app much faster with a no-code solution. This can be especially useful if you're on a tight deadline or have a limited budget

  • Lower cost. In addition to saving time, using a no-code solution can also save you money. Hiring a developer to build an app from scratch can be expensive, but a no-code solution allows you to build an app at a fraction of the cost.

  • Easy customization. No-code platforms often offer a range of customizable templates and features, allowing you to tailor your app to your specific needs and brand. This can be especially useful if you're looking to create a unique app experience for your users.

  • Regular updates. Many no-code platforms offer regular updates and new features, ensuring that your app stays up-to-date and performs at its best. This can be especially helpful if you don't have the resources to constantly update and maintain an app on your own.

Cons of using a no-code option:

  • You won’t be able to tailor a web app to native APIs such as iOS or Android. 
  • You may need to request a custom solution for more advanced features.

Even if you don’t know how to create a web app, you can learn to use Blaze in as little as a few minutes. We’ve found that small businesses and mid-market companies get plenty out of our Basic and Growth plans. We also offer custom solutions for advanced enterprise needs.

Why Use Blaze?

The best part of using Blaze is that there are no technical skills required! Non-technical entrepreneurs and small business owners can create a web app without needing to hire a developer or an expensive agency.

You can connect external data from sources without having to write a single line of code. Some of the most popular integrations include:

  • DocuSign
  • Stripe
  • Google Sheets
  • Shopify
  • Zendesk
  • Marketo
  • Quickbooks
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • And much more!

It’s important to note that any web app built on Blaze is a mobile-optimized site. In other words, it’s more of a hybrid app than a native app. Your team will be able to access it via browser on any desktop or global smartphone. 

Need a full mobile app deployment for your large enterprise needs? We can build and deploy a mobile app as part of our custom enterprise solutions. Again, we’ll handle all the coding so you don’t have to worry about any of the tech specs!

How to Create a Web App Using Blaze

Converting a website into an app with Blaze couldn’t be easier! It only takes a few minutes to create a web app when you use Blaze. Here’s how to get started!

Step 1: Schedule a Free Demo

When we say “free demo,” we mean it. You don’t need to input your credit card. There’s no pressure or expectation for you to close.

During this free consultation, we’ll show you how easy it is to create an app using our no-code platform. It might sound too good to be true, which is why we’re relying on the idea that “seeing is believing.” Once you see how easy it is, then you’ll understand why no-code is booming in popularity.

We’ll also discuss your web app needs as well as your goal and vision. This way, we can show you the features that are most relevant for you. If your needs are more advanced, we can talk about our custom solutions for enterprise clients.

After the call, it’s up to you to determine whether to use Blaze to build your web app.

Step 2: Log into Blaze

When you decide to use Blaze, you’ll be given access to your own back-end portal. This is where the magic happens. We’ve built the platform to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible. Familiarize yourself with the platform – and as always, you can reach out to us if you have any questions!

Step 3: Sync Your 3rd Party Tools

Blaze has dozens of pre-built integrations. You can easily connect to your external tools such as Quickbooks and Zendesk to sync them all to your web app. This way, you can access all the information you need from a central place! This will save you time, reduce errors, and boost your productivity. 

Step 4: Configure Your Dashboard

To create your dashboard, all you have to do is drag and drop elements into place. You can create any forms you need and organize them in the way that is best for your workflow. Again, you don’t need to code. Simply drag and drop! If you can imagine it, you can build it.

Step 5: Set User Permissions

Now, it’s time to begin inviting members of your team to the web app. We understand that work communities can be large. This is why we allow you to set user permission levels between Admin, Manager, and Author.

This is just one of the many security features we have to help you secure your app as thoroughly as possible. 

Step 6: Configure Your Branding 

Upload your logo. Change your color palate. Take advantage of custom branding and themes!

Just as UX can be the most important brand differentiator, branding your app can make a big impact. When you create an external facing app, this will greatly enhance the mobile experience. For internal teams, it helps keep branding and the user experience consistent. 

Step 7: Enjoy Your App!

That’s it!

Creating a web app with Blaze is that simple thanks to no-code technology. The legacy desktop paradigm has changed. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access web based apps. 

You don’t have to worry about coding or developing a native app. Web apps made through Blaze are designed to adapt to every platform. From mobile UX to mobile UI to desktop performance, we prioritize ease of use to help your organization be as productive as possible!

Want to learn more? Schedule your free demo today!