Yes, yes, they are. And while this technology was only reserved for tech giants in the past, it has become more widespread and more available in recent years.
More and more businesses realize that converting their websites into apps is the way to go in the modern e-commerce climate.
According to Statista, nearly 73% of all e-commerce retail is driven by mobile. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder people are bending over backward to create good, stable, and highly functional apps.
However, creating native apps is rather time-consuming and expensive, not to mention it ties you to one platform. On the other hand, hybrid apps are easier to develop and have multi-platform capabilities, but they suffer from performance issues.
And that’s where progressive web apps (PWAs) come in! They combine the best of both worlds in a small, easy to create, native-like package. Don’t believe us? Have a read and see for yourself!
What Are PWAs?
PWAs are websites that “act like an app” (if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck…), but not like hybrid apps do. While hybrid apps are, more or less, a website within an app, PWAs are basically links to a website that has native app-like capabilities.
Sounds good, right? Because it is. You just need to keep a couple of things in mind to make that happen. Namely: client-side rendering (CSR) and caching.
This way, the file feeds you data little by little, thus decreasing load times and enabling a seamless transition between web pages on a single site. And it all happens in your browser.
Combine this with caching, and you’ve got a magic webpage that resembles an app. Caching allows users to browse the progressive web app even offline or when the internet is slow.
In addition, due to cached data, transitioning between pages becomes possible offline because your browser will have remembered all the pages you’ve already loaded.
Finally, PWAs can also do many things native apps can. For example, they can allow you to use your camera, microphone, or GPS. With PWAs, app store downloads are also possible on their screens like standard apps.
But, best of all, these apps can utilize push notifications. These allow you to keep your visitors informed and help promote customer loyalty!
What Are the Benefits of Progressive Web Apps?
From what we’ve already said of PWAs, it is evident that this technology possesses many benefits. Having a web page accessible offline and visible on app stores does wonders for a growing business.
One of the most significant benefits of progressive web apps is their improved user experience. UX is a considerable component of any app and a major cause of bounce rates on all three platforms (PC, mobile, and tablet). The average bounce rates across industries hover around 47%, and mobile bounce rates go up to 51%.
By creating an app that customers rate as pleasurable, you’ll see many more people sticking with you instead of going to your competitors.
Naturally, fewer bouncers automatically mean greater retention and better conversion. It is no secret that websites struggle with converting visitors to customers.
However, PWAs massively reduce loading times and eliminate user frustration. This means you’ll always be the first choice, and you’ll probably get recommended to other people as well.
Another reason why you should consider PWAs is their overall cost of investment. Native apps are quite laborious and expensive to create while requiring skilled coders to make and maintain the app.
On the other hand, PWAs are quick and easy to complete because they essentially are one-page websites and require no more maintenance than an ordinary website.
Finally, these types of application software are tiny compared to their native counterparts. How often have you tried to install an app and realized you haven’t got the space?
PWAs require minimal storage space due to the largest part of these apps being stored on the server.
PWAs and SEO
For those who have heard about PWAs, you’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding PWAs and SEO.
Namely, some claim that progressive web apps cannot be optimized for the search engine. This is, in fact, one of the primary reasons most websites haven’t converted to PWAs.
However, this is simply not true – PWAs can be optimized for Google’s search engine. It just requires a different technique and a little bit of ingenuity.
That is why those that use progressive web apps combine CSR and SSR (server-side rendering). This combo serves an SSR-style HTML page to the web crawler for analysis and categorization and a CSR-style JavaScrip page to the user.
After that, you only need to follow the best known and most efficient SEO practices, and your website will indeed find its way to your potential visitors. In the end, make sure your page passes the Google Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insight, and you’re all set!
And that’s about all we have to say about progressive web apps for now. Indeed, PWAs are exciting pieces of technology, and they deserve our attention. What was once the domain of the big industry players is now available to all.
We can finally play on equal footing with them and get a slice of that delicious revenue pie. So, if you’re hesitant about converting your app, don’t be – consider PWAs and see your business soar to new heights!