A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress PWA (Progressive Web Apps)

There are tons of advantages to converting your site into a WordPress PWA. However, if you’re not a seasoned web developer, you might not know how to get started. 🏁

The good news is that even if you’re a beginner, you can easily transform your site into a progressive web app with a few WordPress plugins. Using PWAs can improve the user experience (UX) with faster loading times and enable you to boost engagement with push notifications.

In this post, we’ll briefly introduce you to progressive web apps. Then, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a WordPress PWA and what to consider before making one. Finally, we’ll share three PWA plugins to help you get the job done. Let’s dive right in! 🤿

What is a progressive web app (PWA)?

First, let’s go over what exactly a progressive web app (PWA) is. In a nutshell, it’s application software built through the web, that can function in any compatible browser.

👉 PWAs typically use some of the most common programming languages, like HTML and JavaScript, and they can run on both desktop and mobile devices. As an example, Uber uses a PWA:

Additionally, when compatible, PWAs can be published on application distribution systems like the Apple App Store and Google Play.

This way, users have the option to install them directly on their mobile devices or operating systems. Essentially, PWAs function like native mobile apps, but you don’t have to install them if you don’t want to.

What are the benefits of using a WordPress PWA

There are a lot of benefits to using a WordPress PWA. They basically come with all the same advantages of mobile apps. 📱

Most importantly, they can provide improved loading times. That’s because a PWA will perform regardless of the strength of the network connection. Some can even work entirely offline.

What’s more, you don’t need to sacrifice functionality when you switch to a WordPress PWA. Modern APIs are highly capable, and are able to equip you with the tools you need to create a PWA that can do everything a traditional website can (and more).

Plus, at least for standard mobile applications, the evidence shows that people prefer accessing content using apps [1], mostly for the convenience and improved UX.

Once users download your app, you can send them push notifications, which have an impressive 90 percent open rate [2]. This can help you connect with your users more easily, thereby boosting conversions and sales.

What to consider before converting your site into a WordPress PWA

Fortunately, transforming your WordPress site into a fully functioning PWA can be simple thanks to WordPress plugins. However, there are a few important factors you might want to consider before moving forward with the change.

Firstly, if you haven’t built your site yet or you want to be extra sure your PWA will run smoothly and look great, it’s good to consider selecting a fast WordPress theme that is light-weight and compatible.

For instance, a sleek, one-page theme like Hestia is a great choice, since it doesn’t overcomplicate things:

If you’re on a budget, there’s also a free version available. 💸

Additionally, you’ll want to carefully consider which features you’d like your WordPress PWA to have. As an example, you may want it to be able to function offline.

Alternatively, you might need “add to home screen” function. For many, enabling WordPress push notifications will be a priority. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to employ a separate plugin for that purpose.

If you don’t think you have the technical chops to convert your website into a WordPress PWA using multiple plugins, you may want to hire a developer to do the job.

Best WordPress PWA plugins to transform your site in 2023

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, we’re going to share three plugins that can help you transform your site into a WordPress PWA:

1. Super Progressive Web Apps

Current Version: 2.2.18

If you want to create a WordPress PWA with all the essentials, you might consider using the Super Progressive Web Apps (PWA) plugin. With this trusted tool, you can transform your site into a fully functioning web app.

It will give your users the option to add the app to their home screen when accessed via browser. Additionally, you’ll be able to select an app icon and the background color of the splash screen for your app. Plus, SuperPWA uses powerful caching to ensure your web app loads at ultrafast speeds.

If you want to send your users push notifications, you can install OneSignal too. This way, you can take advantage of its integration with SuperPWA.

Current Version: 1.7.60

If you’re looking for a tool that offers more comprehensive features, consider PWA for WP and AMP. In addition to the basics like caching and the “add to home screen” option, you’ll get a bit more power.

For instance, PWA for WP and AMP includes the service worker script. That means you can expect super fast speeds, and your PWA will even function offline.

On top of that, this plugin offers multi site support, an integration with OneSignal, and advanced customization of your web app’s splash screen.

3. PWA

Current Version: 0.7.1

Last but not least, PWA is another solid choice when it comes to WordPress PWA plugins. It can help you establish a baseline for your web application.

PWA will give you support for service workers, web application manifest files, and more. However, this tool doesn’t give you caching features and its developers recommend to use it in conjunction with other tools.

If your conventional website isn’t providing people with the user experience you’d hoped for, you might be looking for an alternative option, like WordPress PWAs. But, if you’re not an experienced WordPress developer, getting started can be intimidating.

Never fear, 😱 it can be easy with plugins. Plus, converting your website into a WordPress PWA comes with tons of perks. It allows you to improve your site’s loading speeds and can help you connect with users via push notifications.

Do you have any questions about building your first WordPress PWA? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thanks for your feedback!

This content was originally published here.