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 engagementMobile 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.
- 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.
- You can use a service that turns an RSS feed into an app, such as Android Apps Maker or Mippin.
- 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.