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Make an App to Engage Your Blog’s Readers

This guest post is by Leah Goodman of AppsGeyser.

A few months ago, when I started working for AppsGeyser, a friend asked me if I could turn her blog into an app, to which I responded, “Yes.” Then she asked me the more important question: why would she want to do that?

There are loads of reasons. Here are just a few ways you can use an app to bring new readers to your blog and give more value to your current readers.

Raise the level of engagement

Make a blog app

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Mobile users can read your blog on a mobile RSS reader, but reading a blog through an app means that they’re coming to your blog specifically. It’s a different level of engagement. They’re looking for this blog’s icon. They’re looking to interact with this blog each time. It’s not just one of a bunch of publications.

Be found where mobile users are looking

Regular readers will have your blog in their RSS feeds on their mobile devices, but new mobile readers are much more likely to find your blog by searching for apps than by searching the Web. Having an app gives bloggers a whole additional avenue for discovery.

Form a “secret society”

Once people have downloaded the app, you can engage them in some really great ways, too. Provide unique content for app users, creating the sense that they’ve joined a “secret society,” just by downloading the app. Utilize the fact that it’s not just an RSS feed, and have them vote, fill out forms, and leave comments without having to use a different interface.

Push your message

Last, but definitely not least, is the idea of push messaging. With an app, it’s easy to send messages to people who’ve downloaded your app—even if they’re not checked in.

Push messages are just like text messages to everyone who has the app installed. For a craft blogger, this might be the way to tell people that the project everyone’s been asking about is finally completed, and the instructions are up.  Are you a mommy blogger in her ninth month? Push messaging is a great way to instantly let everyone know it’s a girl! Financial blogger? This is the way to tell everyone the mortgage is finally paid off! The possibilities to connect more closely are right there, the moment a blog becomes an app.

How to make your blog into an app

There are a number of ways to make a blog into an app.

  1. You can have an app developer create a custom app for you. This is the most expensive option, but it will give you an app that looks perfect, works beautifully, and gives you all the special features you want to offer your readers.
  2. You can use a service that turns an RSS feed into an app, such as Android Apps Maker or Mippin.
  3. Our recommendation (and yes, we’re slightly biased) is to use AppsGeyser, because it gives you the full power of your blog in an app.

Distributing your app

Your blog app needs to be distributed in two main ways.

The first is on the blog itself. This is achieved by taking the app’s link information and adding it to the blog. It’s important to copy the QR code to make it easy for readers to download the app easily with just a click of their phone camera.

The second avenue of distribution is the Android Market. This is how new readers will find the app and, by extension, your blog. When adding the app to the Android Market, pay special attention to the app’s name and description. The name and description are what prospective readers will search when they are looking for new apps to download. Be especially careful about the name, as it’s a problem to change it later. You can change the description later if you’re not happy with it.

Don’t skimp on your icon and screenshots, either. We’ve put together a post on making an attractive icon without hiring a designer. An attractive-looking app is an important part of reaching a wider audience.

Does your blog have an app? How has it affected your readership? Share your experiences in the comments.

Leah Goodman is a Content and Community Manager at Abel Communications, managing the blog and community for AppsGeyser.com. She believes in a t-shirt economy and is an amateur juggler.

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Comments

  1. Thanks! Some compelling reason to consider an app. I have resisted because I don’t want to put a crappy app out there just to say I have an app.

  2. Ava Jae says:

    I haven’t made an app for my blog yet, but I’m certainly interested. Does AppGeyser make apps for the Apple App Store, too? Or is it just Android apps?

  3. Steve Scott says:

    Making an app for your blog…. What a great idea. It is little things like this: embracing new technology and staying an industry leader rather than follower that can push a good blog into becoming a great one

  4. I think your second point is the strongest, a lot of people (most people) search app stores on a regular basis for new apps to satisfy their needs or wants. I’m always searching for Blogging, Internet Marketing and other things I enjoy in the BlackBerry App World (I’m a BB and PlayBook user) and I’ve discovered a lot of different blogs through their apps.

    I had created an app for one of my blogs once, but I didn’t invest much time in it, but your post just made me think more about it, and I will be creating apps for Android, BB and iOS for each one of my blogs in the near future.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Josh Jones says:

    Great idea! I have the best of both worlds since I’m an app developer and also a blogger. Would make a great side-project.

    I’d want to make sure the analytics still get picked up with the app.

  6. darkduck says:

    Hi,
    Great idea, pure realisation unfortunately.
    I tried all 3 options to create free all for my blog.
    AppsGeyser was the best actually. But it kept moaning that there is no Internet connection. Although, there WAS internet connection.
    Had to uninstall from my own HTC Desire. Not talking about distribution of the app.
    Happy to discuss bug with developers, if you’re interested.

  7. Yatra says:

    Nice idea to make an app for the blog.
    You can make an app using ovistore for free for your blog.

  8. James Greg says:

    I never thought of it that way however I do use many apps but now I think the time has come for me to build an app for my blog too. This is a great way to engage current readers and also a new way of attracting new ones. Also the chances of getting found will increase and will boost traffic.

  9. Nico Julius says:

    Hi Leah, is there somewhere a simple tutorial for AppsGeyser? I just made a new app but it just converts my frontpage to an app. Which means that I see the same homepage in the app as I see in my browser, which is not optimized for such a little screen of a smartphone.
    But I like the idea. For a lot blogs this could result in an extra audience.

  10. Hi Leah,

    I have been working towards launching an iPhone game for a while now. My aim initially was to build a solid subscriber base of 10,000 so that we have traction before we release the game into the Apple market place.

    So far it’s all on track & our new YouTube video has started to build the hype again!…

    I’m going to take the advice on board about making a smart icon. ;]

    All the best,

    David Edwards

  11. Leah Goodman says:

    Hi Nico,
    Do you have a WordPress Blog? If so, we recommend creating the blog using our WordPress plugin. Just go into your plugins screen and search AppsGeyser.
    If you have more questions, email me at Leah (at) AppsGeyser.com and I’ll be happy to help you out or point you to our support staff.
    Leah

  12. Felix says:

    its hard too create one, but it really good

  13. Truly effective Idea Leah…

    In fact I have already started to advise my few clients to transform their existing website into App.

    Your article is very useful today.

  14. Dean says:

    I found this blog whilst searching for information on Apps. To be honest I know hardly anything about them.
    As a photographer I am interested in an App, a sort of online portfolio, stories,gallery etc.

    Do you need a ISP to upload your APP and content to?
    If you get your App in the Apple App store is all you content stored there or back to question 1 do you have to personally upload the content to an ISP just like I do now for my website?

    Cheers Dean

    • Leah Goodman says:

      Hi Dean,
      Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier. All apps are stored on the AppsGeyser system, and can be uploaded to Android Market, not the Apple App Store.
      You can also download your .apk (application file) directly to your home computer.
      Leah

  15. Steekeeta says:

    [url=http://wvrbyldp.com]Hello :)[/url]

  16. Mark Mruss says:

    Hi,

    I stumbled upon this post and in a bit of shameless self-promotion I did want to let people know that there are more app makers out there. Two of the best are:

    1) Andromo (I helped create it) http://andromo.com/

    2) AppMakr – http://www.appmakr.com/

    Anyone that uses a smartphone knows that browsing the web can be a pain. Anything that eases that pain (like a dedicated app) will help drive people to your content, and a dedicated app will do that.

    mark.