Understanding Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Progressive Web Apps are web-based applications that provide a native app-like experience with offline capabilities and a high-quality user experience. They are designed to work on any device, be it offline or online, and be fast, reliable, and engaging for you as well as the users.
PWAs combine the reach of the web with the extensive capabilities of native apps, ensuring a superior user experience and eliminating the need for you to download separate apps from a built-in or third-party store.
One of the most significant benefits of PWAs is that they are independent of any platform, which means they can run on any modern device with a browser, like desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Moreover, just like a native app, the user can install them on the home screen and have a full-screen experience without the browser’s user interface elements.
Another benefit of progressive web apps is that they would work comfortably with limited network connectivity and even offline. That means that users would still be able to access the app and all of its content even without a stable internet connection.
That makes the progressive web apps particularly useful where a reliable connection may not always be available, like in rural areas, on public transportation, or when traveling somewhere remote.
With features like lazy loading, progressive web apps are also designed to be fast, which means only that content needed immediately would load at first. Then there’s caching, which temporarily stores data on the device to ensure it can be quickly retrieved. That ensures faster load times and a more seamless user experience.
So in this blog post, we’ll see why or how progressive web apps can be helpful for WordPress websites and how you can convert your WordPress website into a PWA.
Why Opt For PWAs For Your WordPress Websites?
One of the reasons for comparatively lower customer engagement on the websites is the lack of push notifications. Recent surveys suggest push notifications could help deliver an 88% higher engagement rate.
But websites don’t have the ability to offer push notifications to your users about the latest updates and offers. However, through progressive web apps, you can combine the reach of the web with the extensive capabilities of native apps.
Improve the User Experience
One of the best ways to enhance the user experience of your WordPress website is by integrating progressive web apps. A significant benefit of PWAs is that it offers extensive capabilities of native apps like lazy loading and caching.
Lazy loading is an excellent technique to improve the speed and performance of your website. It ensures only that content needed immediately would load at first.
Then, there’s caching, which temporarily stores data on the device to make sure it can be quickly retrieved. That ensures faster load times and performance and a more seamless user experience.
Enhancing the User Interface
Another reason to opt for PWAs is to improve the user interface of your WordPress website. You can do so by mobile-first design, sleek and modern design, enhanced navigation, customization, etc.
PWAs are designed to be mobile-friendly by default. That, combined with sleek and modern design, helps them be more appealing to the users. Then there are the push notifications that inform the customers of the latest offers and updates.
By improving the UX and UI through progressive web apps, WordPress websites can ensure a more engaging and visually-appealing experience for their users, which leads to increased engagement, satisfaction, and higher traffic and sales.
Necessary Requirements For Integrating PWAs with WordPress Websites
To integrate PWA with WordPress, you should ensure that the latter has a secure host and server. Moreover, it would be suitable to have HTTPS for your website rather than HTTP.
Make sure the WordPress version is 3.5.0 or higher and the PHP version is 5.3 or higher.
How to Convert Your WordPress Website Into a PWA?
With WordPress, when it comes to integrating any new features or functionalities in the website, there are two ways to go about it. You can either integrate the feature manually or through plugins.
Manual Integration of PWA With WordPress Website
That’s why if you are a beginner, you can either go for the plugins (to be discussed in the next section) or get in touch with an enterprise WordPress development company.
The main reason behind that is creating the PWAs and integrating them with the WordPress website manually would be a little tricky.
Moreover, consider the Progressive Web App checklist compiled by Google and other prominent experts to ensure you have covered every necessary aspect of the process.
With WordPress Plugins
Creating and integrating progressive web apps in WordPress websites manually might not be easy for every developer. Luckily, WordPress official library has thousands of free plugins, and some of them can help create and integrate the PWAs.
So let’s discuss the WordPress plugins that can help create and integrate progressive web apps.
SuperPWA is one of the best plugins to convert your WordPress website into a PWA. This plugin helps display the message “Add To Your Homescreen” to your users as soon as they open the website. So they can install your website on the home screens of their mobile phones.
After that, it would be more convenient for them to open your website, and any page they open would be cached offline. So they can access it easily without a stable network.
PWA for WP & AMP
PWA for WP & AMP – With this plugin, you can create a progressive web app for your WordPress website as well as accelerated mobile pages (AMPs). You could also offer home screen access and an offline mode.
This plugin ensures multisite push notifications and a status dashboard to monitor the PWA. The only issue is that you won’t have CTA (call-to-action), Pull-to-Refresh, and other significant features unless you opt for the premium version.
Simple PWA for WordPress
Simple PWA is a paid WordPress plugin to convert your WordPress website into a well-functioning PWA with the superior reach of a website and the extensive capabilities of a native app.
This plugin is easily compatible with almost all WordPress themes. You can even change the application icon and name effortlessly without much coding knowledge and experience.
There are several other PWA plugins in the official WordPress library as well as other third-party stores, to create and integrate progressive web apps (PWAs) into your WordPress website.
Instantify is a premium plugin for WordPress that combines PWA, Google AMP, and FBIA. With that combination, the user is given a great user experience.
Furthermore, using this plugin makes your website mobile friendly, increases load speeds, is more secure, can increase more traffic, and convert more visitors into buyers.
Instantify – PWA & Google AMP & Instant Articles for WordPress is a plugin that is easy to install and set up and no technical skills and no coding is needed.
How To Integrate PWAs Into Your WordPress Website?
Now that you know the plugins you can use to create the PWAs, let’s check out how you can integrate them into your WordPress website and customize them to sync with the installed themes on the website.
Step 1: Select a suitable PWA plugin.
There are several plugins available, like SuperPWA, PWA for WP & AMP, etc., available on the WordPress official library and third-party stores. You need to sift through the options and select the most suitable plugin to install on your website.
Step 2: Install & Activate The Plugin On Your Website.
After selecting the suitable plugin, install it on your website through the Plugins section on your WordPress dashboard, and then activate it. Now it will be ready for configuration.
Step 3: Plugin Configuration.
After you have installed and activated your desired WordPress plugin, configure it by specifying the settings like start URL, theme color, and other options.
Step 4: Generate a Service Worker.
Step 5: Test and Deploy the PWAs.
To conclude the process, you can test your new PWA on different devices and browsers to ensure it works as expected. If you find everything as per your expectations, you can deploy it to your live website.
This process will help you integrate PWA into your WordPress website quite effortlessly, so you can enjoy the reach of a website coupled with the extensive capabilities of a native app.
Tracking The Progress Of PWA On Your WordPress Website
One of the advantages of creating a website through WordPress is that you can track its traffic and performance quite effortlessly. To track and measure the progress of a PWA on a WordPress website, you can choose among the following tools:
- Lighthouse: Lighthouse is a Google-developed tool that offers performance audits and suggestions for improvement, including PWA-specific metrics like installability.
- Google Analytics: This tool can help track user engagement and conversion rates to gauge the success of your PWA, as well as its impact on the overall website traffic and user experience.
- WebPageTest: It is a free tool to measure the website performance and offer a detailed analysis, including load time, time to first byte, etc., to the website owner.
- PageSpeed Insights: Another Google tool you can access for optimization suggestions and performance metrics for desktop, mobile, and other devices.
Through these tools, you can track the performance and SEO metrics of your WordPress website, and the Progressive Web Apps integrated with it. That would help you improve every aspect of your website and PWA, including the user experience.
Sometimes, despite being of the highest quality, WordPress websites struggle with low traffic and sales numbers and a lousy user experience. One of the ways you can take care of this is Progressive Web Apps.
You may consider Progressive Web Apps as a combination of websites and native apps. These apps offer your users the ability to add your website to their home screens and let the website send push notifications to make them aware of the latest offers and updates.
Since manual creation and integration is a little tricky, you may either hire a professional WordPress developer or use a WordPress plugin for it. There are several plugins on the official WordPress library as well as third-party stores that can help create new PWAs and integrate them with your WordPress websites.
So use these plugins and other tools to integrate the PWAs and track the performance of your website afterward to monitor the speed and traffic metrics effortlessly. That would help make your website more accessible and user-friendly.