The benefits of Progressive Web Apps and how to get started with three easy steps

Written by Antwan van der Mooren on 2, Juth 2020

The importance of having a high-performing website could not have become more clear as in these last few months. During times of uncertainty, it is easy to fall victim to short-term survival thinking. Yet, those who have invested in their digital environment are now reaping the rewards.

Since its launch in 2015, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) have evolved into an overall mindset, rather than just a technique to build websites with. The main focus of the mindset is on fast performance and progressiveness as the goal is to have a website that delivers an exceptional user experience regardless of the device that’s being used.

PWAs are disruptors of the mobile app model. They blur the lines of what was once the exclusive domain of an app and bring native app functionality to the web.

The time for PWA is now

According to Gartner, PWAs are expected to replace 50% of all consumer-facing mobile apps by 2020. Yes, you are reading that right, that means today. Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all believe in the approach. Even Apple regularly releases updates on their browser and devices. To say that it has become inevitable to ignore the upcoming PWA mindset, would be an understatement.

Embracing PWAs pays off

PWAs can boost customer engagement, lower bounce rates, increase conversions and eventually drive revenue, all by giving your customers a better online experience. Early adopters included giants like Twitter, Pinterest and Forbes. Not to mention Aliexpress, who surprised everyone by increasing conversion rates for new users by 104% through their PWA.

We also believe that PWAs should be implemented in every web-based project and one of our most exciting success stories is Apotheek.nl.  

Apotheek’s native app was costly to maintain, so we refactored their website to a PWA with a strong focus on offline support, eliminating the native app completely. After its launch, Apotheek.nl now gets 1.7 million visitors a month, lands as number one in search engines and won site of the year multiple times. All for a fraction of the costs.

But, how can you begin your journey towards PWAs?

Start with these three steps:

1. Embrace the mindset

Before even thinking about PWAs, you need to believe in the crucial pillars of performance, accessibility, SEO, security and usability that are necessary to build a successful website. Also, make sure you have a clear overview of your required website functions before you start building your PWA. This will help you understand if you will need additional features like extensive install pages, native push notifications or offline support. 

2. The choice between updating or rebuilding

Do you need a rebuild or is refactoring your website sufficient enough? There is no golden rule, but it’s a wise move to rebuild your website once it has been online for more than 4 years. Keeping your website up-to-date is important to keep up with technological advances, SEO, design trends and usability.  But, whatever decision you make, there’s always a possibility to implement basic PWA mindset practices, that will get you tangible results.

3. Benchmark the results

When developing a website, you can check and improve the quality through Google Lighthouse, an automated tool that scores your website quality based on performance, PWA, accessibility, best practices and SEO. Additionally, competitive award platforms evaluate at an even higher standard and publish their guidelines online. For example, you can check out the criteria of the popular Mobile Excellence Award and compare them with your website.

The PWA revolution has already started five years ago and is here to stay. Early adopters are already reaping the rewards and PWAs are only getting better. In times like these, you can either hit the panic button and focus on the short-term or you can seize this moment as an opportunity to build or improve your website the right way.

Want to know more about how PWAs can make your website future proof?  

Download our easy guide to PWAs here

STORY WRITTEN BY
Antwan van der Mooren
Head of Technology
Antwan van der Mooren
Head of Technology

Want to know more about how PWAs can make your website future proof?

Contact Antwan