04 Jul 2020

Turn your site into a Progressive Web App

Turn your site into a Progressive Web App

The mobile phone industry is perhaps the fastest runner in the race of ‘getting smarter’. Every few months the companies are upgrading their models – be it the speed of the device or the other ultra-modern technicalities incorporated in it – mobile phones are ever-changing. This change has made them an inevitable part of people’s lives across every stratum of society. 

Mobile phone searches have been found to inflate more than 50% compared to the use of desktop or laptops for such purposes! Webmasters now have a growing concern: how to improve the user experience of customers who access the website from their mobile phones?

The solution that this article tends to provide is how to turn your existing WordPress site into a PWA (Progressive Web App)! Here’s how you can go about it…

In the first place, it isn’t a complicated thing…

In the virtual world that runs on technology, the very first thing that we dread is ‘adopting a change’. A lot of uncertainty keeps attacking you – whether it will impact the web site’s performance, whether the site will remain unavailable for a considerable period, and so on.

In case of having a WordPress site…

When you are the owner of a WP site, you are luckier than most of your competitors out there. You have a lot of plugins, tools, and resources to make the conversion pretty straightforward. First, you need to decide –

  • You may do them manually by yourself
  • Use a WordPress plugin
  • Use the service of a professional WordPress maintenance company like WPwebhelp

If you have some first-hand experience in web development, you are somewhat familiar with the manual process. Some prefer using AngularJS, some may go for either React or Vue. It all depends upon the specifications of your requirement. If a general recommendation is needed as to which one is easier – React is usually named!

To put it simple, you have decided to upgrade your online presence to a PWA to achieve these optimizations primarily –

  • To have an inarguably easy-to-navigate User Interface (that helps in easy conversions)
  • To increase page loading speed to within 3 seconds; else you tend to lose customers!
  • The PWA must positively work across devices of various shapes and sizes

In case you are confused as to which method to adopt for a PWA, Google has laid down some effective parameters for you! Yes, you can now go through the checklist of Google to sort out the basics that are required to be a PWA. Google also has the ‘additional’ features jotted down – they would indeed make your web app exemplary!

The checklist to set up a PWA

  • Meta tags for browsers to ensure choicest web app behaviour
  • Each page has a separate URL
  • The app URL loads even when offline
  • The transition of pages will not block the network
  • The site must work across all the various platforms as well as different browsers
  • Site is served over https
  • Pages are well responsive on phones and tablets

Now, the checklist to set up an exemplary PWA

This indeed might incorporate a lot of features. Your web app can be exemplary in more ways than you can think of in one go. To enlist a few of them (that we would emphasize upon) are –

  • The presence of History API on all pages
  • During page loading, the content transitions
  • Content must be shareable
  • Disabling notifications is one of the most needed features
  • Payment options on the current User Interface should be easy
  • Indexing of the site content by Google

So, by now you have a fair idea on what your PWA should have and the add-ons to make it an even better experience!

Want to avoid the DIY route? WordPress plugins are there to get your job done!

WordPress has three different plugin options to help you get that mighty task done.

The Super Progressive Web Application is one of the plugins that provide you with a quick and easy way to turn your website into a PWA. It gives the users a pop-up message (whenever they visit the website from their device) that reads – “Add to Home Screen”. On clicking on this message, the website gets installed on the user’s Home Screen as an icon that represents the PWA.

Do you know why the Super Progressive Web App is preferred by users?

Its biggest virtue lies in the fact that the number of pages that are visited by the user (while online) gets cached and is thereafter available offline too! Its pros can also be counted on things like – quick and easy installation, its access via search engines, the easy control of the PWA icon and its other styling features, etc.

Another simple solution from plugins is the Progressive WordPress plugin. You can go ahead with zero knowledge on coding to get your PWA done. This plugin automatically adds the PWA functionality to the existing website that you have.

Since this plugin uses WordPress in the backend and thus the framework of the PWA is created based on the existing site. The phone and other device-display can later be customized so that it looks more like a native app. It also prompts users to add the site to their Home Screen!

WordPress Mobile Soft could be your third alternative. This tool enables you to set up the PWA without affecting the primary theme. The best part is that users can use a search-engine-optimized URL. This plugin, in fact, has more benefits than you have perhaps imagined. Besides allowing the use of an SEO-friendly URL, this PWA can be used both on your mobile and desktop as well!

Before wrapping up, let’s re-check how adopting a PWA for your business helps?

The virtues of a PWA, today, are multi-faceted. It’s therefore important that you review them once again when the online presence of your business is concerned. So, in a nutshell, a PWA bears the following benefits –

  • They are not subjected to the reviews or approval processes of any App Store
  • They can be used across all types of devices and across different browsers too
  • They don’t have downloading options and hence the users save a lot on data and storage space as well
  • Above all, they directly run in a mobile browser
  • There is barely any external involvement in the launching and updating of a PWA

So, if you want to empower your site with PWA and ensure your online presence is added on the home screen of your visitors indicating the ultimate signal of brand intimacy, you could act ‘smartly’ by entrusting services like WPwebhelp with the task of creating your PWA!

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