Progressive Web Applications
The Future of Mobile Web
Progressive Web Apps, put simply, are efficient mobile websites that behave like native applications.
Here at KiwiCommerce, our Magento certified developers are able to make websites PWA compliant so your site behaves like an app when visited on mobile devices.
WHY SHOULD WE DEVELOP PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS?
Because the way people use the web, the things they now demand from the web and the way they spend their money on the web is changing. Since 2016, more people have been using mobile devices than desktop computers and this trend is growing year on year (Morgan Stanley Research), however without a dedicated app, the experiences on mobile are nowhere near as effective as on desktop, with conversion rates sitting much lower. This is due to a range of issues, however network coverage and the resulting loading speed is one of the main things to affect mobile conversion.
The comScore Mobile Metrix 2017 revealed that on mobile devices, people spend on average 87% of their time using apps and only 13% of their time on the mobile web. The reasons given for this were because apps are more predictable (online and offline), easier to find (right there on the phone or tablet desktop) and they serve notifications that remind users to come back and use them. The research also showed that less than 1 new app is downloaded every month on average, however 100 new websites are visited and the mobile websites or tiny versions of desktop websites (both with significantly lower conversion rates than desktop) are then served to these users.
Progressive Web Applications were created so that these 100 websites per user per month would have the tools to be able to increase their effectiveness by performing like an app on mobile devices.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS?
Progressive Web Applications provide a fast, immersive experience to the user that is comparable to using a downloaded app. Webmasters are always looking for ways to improve conversion and provide amazing experiences for users because these translate into more time on the site, increased brand loyalty and overall into more profits. To achieve this improvement on mobile devices however, the only real option in the past has been to develop an app; which is often extremely costly, requires ongoing standalone development and if it’s a paid app, fees to the app stores.
For smaller companies, or companies without the resources to manage and fund both a website and an app, mobile performance has just been accepted as less effective, however with Progressive Web Apps we can now create an experience comparable to an app by optimising the mobile website or a section of the website that is most important for conversions.
A PWA behaves like an app to provide dynamic and interactive experiences. It can work offline, can push notifications and prompts users to add a link to their mobile homescreen, alongside their other apps.
PWAs give an online experience even when the device is offline using cached data and is really beneficial for the website in terms of SEO. It is sensible to expect online presence to also improve as a happy consequence of developing a PWA, as PWAs provide Google with many of the things it has always asked for; such as speed, clean code, descriptive content and a variety of other technical elements that tick a lot of SEO boxes.
PWAs combine the performance and capability of apps with the reach and possibility of the web.
WHY CHOOSE TO DEVELOP A PWA?
MOBILE WEB APPS VS. PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS
Apps were designed to give the best experience on mobile devices, however now PWAs are an option, which one should you choose to invest in?
|Costly – initial cost of app plus ongoing development costs for any changes required||Saves money – no need for expensive app developers every time a change is required as data is pulled from the live site|
|Increased workload – updates need to be made to both website and app||Time saving – PWAs pull data from the live website so no need to update both|
|Paid placement – appears in app stores and if a paid app, 30% commission to the app store||Discoverability & brand awareness – appears in app stores without having to pay or develop an app|
|Bulky – takes up a significant amount of space in device storage||Data light – tiny data requirements as not a downloaded app|
|Seperate tracking – Apps take users off your website so tracking is separate||Inclusive monitoring – keeps users on your website so activity is tracked by Google Analytics|
|Current technology – apps have been around for years and while fantastic, do not use the latest technology or improve the company website||Latest technology – Google wants the best experience and latest technologies for users and favors PWAs as they provide this|
|Presence – app can be found in the app stores but doesn’t improve the online presence of the brand or website||SEO benefits – much of the optimisation for PWA is the same as for SEO, so will likely boost online presence, plus it appears in the app stores for free|
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF
PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS FOR BUSINESS AND CONSUMER
|PWA benefits for companies||PWA benefits for users|
|No need to pay for app development or updates||Less memory taken up on phones as apps don’t need to be downloaded|
|Better experience for users = better conversion rates||Faster loading, meaning a better user experience|
|Less well known brands can be found in app stores with PWAs – improved brand reach||Immersive experience; looks like an app, can add to mobile desktop and get push notifications|
|Making your website PWA compliant is beneficial for SEO also, so likely better rankings and more traffic||Works even when offline as the PWA technology uses caching to enable the content|
|Small companies who can’t afford to develop a costly app are able to give an app experience by optimising for PWA||Security benefits, as PWAs only work on secure sites with SSL certificates|
|Save money on app stores that take 30% from paid apps. PWAs will appear but will be free as the info is pulled from the live website||Using the Payment Request API (a feature of PWA) customers can do an instant checkout, making checkout seamless & simple|
|Reach customers on all browsers and devices presence of the brand or website||Easier to find the best websites as PWAs will appear in app stores and likely higher on Google|
|Reach customers on all browsers and devices|
Can optimise for PWAs on whole site or certain areas of the site that will have the highest impact on users