As we transition to a new era of computing where people are getting their information via mobile phones, you are starting to see just about every high profile website or blog making their own iPhone app. But what about the average WordPress user who doesn’t have the time and/or budget to make their own custom iPhone application?
Not long ago I covered a free WordPress plugin called WPTouch which creates a mobile-friendly version of your WordPress blog to display for mobile web browsers. The unfortunate truth, however, is that outside of clicking on a link from Twitter on their phones, most iPhone, Android, or mobile users in general do not use the mobile web to view a webpage. In order to maximize convenience for your readers you really need a custom iPhone application. This is where an app I recently discovered, Wiziapp, comes to the rescue.
What is WiziApp? Wiziapp is a WordPress plugin that automatically turns your WordPress blog into a native iPhone app in real time, giving easy access to the following within the application: Posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, links, images, videos, and audio files. And if that wasn’t enough, Wiziapp even offers a push notification service to notify iOS users when your website has new content available!
Here is a complete list of the features provided by the Wiziapp team:
- Create and personalize your iPhone application from your WordPress dashboard using the plugin’s wizard.
- Deliver all of your blog content directly to your App in real time.
- Notify your readers about new posts via push notification service.
- Your readers can easily read and post new comments directly from your App.
- Your App will display your images and galleries in native iPhone style.
- All the media you have posted will be collected to video or audio libraries.
- Your readers can easily search your blog directly from your App.
- Playing video and audio using Wiziapp’s advanced players.
- Enable your readers to navigate between posts by categories, tags or author name.
- Integrate with your login system.
- Your readers can easily share your posts and images via Facebook, Twitter, Email or SMS.
- Monetize your App by displaying ads using your own AdMob account.
- Your readers can easily save your posts to their ‘favorites’ list.
- We publish your App to the iTunes App Store and save you time & money dealing with an Apple developer account.
- See daily stats of your App visits and downloads.
- Stay up to date with all iOS and WordPress new features.
- Check out the Wiziapp tour here.
So, it sounds awesome, but is it difficult to setup? How does it work? I put the plugin to the test to find out just how easy it is to use. Here are the steps I followed, which allowed me to build an app within 10-15 minutes:
- Download the WiziApp plugin from the official WordPress Plugin Directory here.
- Upload and activate the WiziApp plugin.
- Access the “Create Your App” menu in your WordPress dashboard and name your application.
- Design your splash screen using the plugin’s generator or upload your own custom splash design.
- Customize your app’s appearance.
- Build your App menu (tab bar).
- Determine if you want to enable your readers to share your content via Facebook, Twitter, Email, or SMS.
- Configure push notification options.
- Enter your AdMob ID if you want to monetize your application.
Once configuration is complete, the next step is to sign up for your Wiziapp account to get your new application into the iTunes App Store. As of the writing of this review, it looks like there are three plans available, each of which is a little different to cover the varying needs of all types of websites.
- Personal Blog: $199.00 setup and $19.90 a month
- Professional Blog: $299.00 setup and $29.90 a month
- Enterprise Blog: $499.00 setup and $49.90 a month
What makes this plugin/process better than just building your own custom application? Even if you have the ability to build your own application for iOS, there is still the matter of getting it approved through Apple’s walled garden and into the iTunes App Store. Of course, this is probably my favorite part about this WordPress plugin. Wiziapp will actually use their own Apple developer account to publish your application, meaning you won’t need to sign up as a Apple developer (which has a $99.00 yearly fee) and deal with Apple’s approval board, which in my personal experience has been an absolute nightmare. Wiziapp has an established setup which should make the approval process fairly easy.
Overall, I have to say that the entire process of building your application was surprisingly easy and looks really good. If you run a WordPress blog and would like to build a custom application for your website, there is no cost to simulate your own application for FREE with the Wiziapp WordPress plugin and then you can decide if you want to have your application published in iTunes.
Note: This review was sponsored by the team at Wiziapp.