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Best practices for creating engaging news mobile app – A complete guide

An individual spends an average of three hours per day on mobile apps. The battle to keep a user hooked to your app can be callous, considering the countless options available.

By building an engaging app, you are likely to hit more app downloads as well as retain your existing ones.

If you are running a news agency, and want to ​build a news app for a wider reach, design it with AppMySite Mobile App Builder for WordPress. It helps you create your mobile app with user engagement in mind.

In this post, we will discuss the most actionable UX best practices that you should consider while creating a user-friendly and engaging news app. Let us take a look:

1. Display the most relevant story first

It is an important step to display the most recent or top story first to your app users.

If you have one article as the primary focus instead of having a carousel with multiple options, it will help you increase your Click-though rate (CTR) to that article.

Carousels are often ignored while functional, and your app users will only get to see the first frame in most cases.

Notre Dame University tested a carousel and found that only 1% of their total visitors clicked on it. 84% of those visitors only interacted with the very first slide.

Rather than introducing a carousel, draw your user’s attention to the most famous story of the day, when they visit your news app.

Track your changes to page views for your top post, which will increase when more and more people are clicking through to your top story on the app.

2. Keep your user’s attention with list views

Add a layout for your content that matches with it while you are creating an app. The two most common layouts for content-related apps are:

a. Grid View
b. List View

For an eCommerce app, a grid view is preferable because shoppers would only want to see images of the products with a small description.

Conversely, for a content-heavy app, like a news mobile application, a list view is the best choice. With list views, your app users are primarily reading the text to decide on which option to choose.

Users want to see a visible text in a news app. Most of the news apps choose to add a thumbnail image to improve the visual appearance of the list page.

If you add your app content in list views, the most relevant content will be at the top of the list, while the less relevant posts will be closer to the bottom of the page.

When you make these changes in your app, you can track time and page views in your app. With a list view, your users can see and access the most relevant content. Also, they are more likely to click-through from the list and view your content, and will spend more time in your app.

3. Increase subscriptions by allowing registrations

Including a feature of ‘create accounts’ in your news app enable your users to register on your app and use their accounts to read the most happening content first. It will help you gather the most useful user’s data, such as your app reader’s loyalty and the type of content they are interested in.

You do not need to re-invent the wheel here. Many news apps can help you place your login button to make it easy for your readers to find.

For instance, popular apps like the New York Times and the Financial Times place their login option as a primary call-to-action (CTA) in the sidebar.

If you are making the registration process easy for your app users, it will bring more benefits in the long run. Registered users are more likely to convert to paying subscribers, according to Wired.

With the addition of the ‘registration feature,’ you will see an increase in the sign-up rate. You can also re-engage your existing app users with the registration.

4. Help users find content with categories

If your app readers want to access different types of content, you need to provide an easy way to them. Adding ‘content categories’ to your main app menu is the perfect way to do this.

A ‘categories section’ will not take up much space on your app screen. However, it offers users a simple and effective way to navigate around your news app.

Once you add the categories section to the app menu, you will find an increase in page views. Instead of sticking to one content category, your app readers will end up discovering the content in different categories that interest them.

5. Get more users by encouraging social sharing

Allow your readers to share your content with their network on social media. Adding a ‘native social sharing button’ to your news app increases the sharing power of your content and reduces the effort it takes to share an article. Users can now share your content on their social feeds in just a few taps, increase reach, and brand visibility.

If your content is being shared socially, it is a signal to Google that your content is relevant. Moreover, your content receives a good volume of social shares and is more likely to have more visibility in Search.

By adding this CTA button in your app, you will see an increase in new users who are coming from social media channels.

6. Keep your users engaged for longer with related posts

Give your users a bait to stay and read more of your content by adding a ‘related posts section’ to the bottom of your article pages.

However, related posts need to make sense. You cannot add just a random post from your app. Using WordPress, related posts plugins give your app users suggestions to read.

When you add a ‘related posts section’ to your app, it will increase your page views and reduce the bounce rate as users will start exploring more pages on your app.

7. Leverage the estimated reading time to increase time spent on page

The average adult spends almost 5-6 hours with digital media per day, and only part of this time will be spent reading your content. Incorporating an ‘estimated reading time indicator’ to your news app UX can have a substantial effect.

You need to be transparent about the length of your article. With this transparency, your app audience is likely to commit to reading them. Even if your articles are long, your readers will not get away without reading them.

A study shows that content publishers who regularly post their content over 1000+ words, their bounce rate has dropped by 13%. It means a simple change can lead to a significant traffic increase to your news app.

Find a host of WordPress plugins that enable you to add this feature to your app easily. With this feature, you can expect your user base to increase as now they are more likely to commit to reading the articles.

8. Increase free-to-paid conversions by making your premium options obvious

Add a subscription or membership plans to generate revenue from your news app. You should make this mandatory. Do not worry! A small button is not going to turn your readers away from your app.

A Call-To-Action (CTA) button will help you make your non-paying readers aware of your premium options. These options also improve the chances that your users will sign up for a paid plan in the future.

For instance, The New York Times shifted their paywall and subscription call-to-action dynamically depending on how much a user engages with their content. Also, they start warning free app readers about how many stories they can read in that month.

After implementing a call-to-action (CTA) button for your premium content, make sure you can track your Free to Paid Conversion Rate. You also need to consider that Click-Through Rate to your payment page should increase.

9. Increase user engagement by 10x with social-logins

After adding a feature of registration and paid-subscription, your registered users want a great app experience. A simple upgrade over an email and password-based login portal is to add a social login system.

Easybook, a company with 1.5 unique visitors per month, for example, implemented a social login and saw a 68% increase in user engagement.

Implementing a social login will give you a colossal lift in user engagement. That way, you can streamline your sign-up process by offering your readers a choice as they ar already logged into one of the social channels on their phone.

By adding social login to the sign-up process, you can expect to see more of your users will regularly sign in. With this feature, you can also see a higher conversion of non-registered to registered users.

10. Grow subscription revenue with in-app subscriptions

One of the ideal ways to let your users quickly buy a subscription is by introducing an in-app subscription in your news app.

The New York Times, for example, added this feature, and in just a few taps, their users can choose their subscription plan and start reading their premium content.

Integrate your payment gateway with Google and Apple Pay so that your subscribed users can easily make a payment from your app. Moreover, it will have a significant impact on your checkout conversion rate, which allows you to increase your subscription revenue.

With in-app subscriptions, the conversion rate of users who subscribed to your app will increase, which simply reflects in your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).

11. Make ads user-friendly

The advertising methods, such as native in-feed advertisements are UX-friendly that helps you generate more revenue, and provide a better user experience to your app readers.

In-feed advertisements are user-friendly as they match and fit seamlessly with your existing content style.

Well, the differences are minor. However, you need to be transparent with your users. For instance, if you include sponsored content, make sure to label them as Sponsored.

Where the regular posts include an author name, the in-feed advertisement shows ‘Sponsored.’

As in-feed ads are user-friendly, they are effective ways to generate revenue. Similarly, they maintain the unique styling of your mobile app and does not hurt the app user experience.

With user-friendly ads, you can see the Click-Through Rate on your ads will increase. You can even expect your users to spend more time on the page if the ads are of high-quality and are relevant.

12. Build a user community by encouraging comments

reading time on app

Users commenting is a powerful way to increase user engagement with your articles in the app. Adding functionality for article commenting increase your app downloads.

The New York Times and Medium, for instance, display the number of comments an article has to its users. Also, the number of comments can be used to measure the popularity of your content. In the NYT app, there is a section of ‘picks,’ where users can filter the article by the most popular comments about that article.

Rather than limiting user’s engagement to social media, increasing engagement within your app is the best tactic to encourage your users to spend more time and engage more with your app content.

A ‘comments’ section helps you increase the time spent on your articles as they are likely to spend time engaging with your app.

The final words

Now that you know the best practices for creating engaging News Mobile App, all you have to do is ensuring that your app is user-friendly, increases user engagement helps improve your metrics and bottom-line.

By tracking your changes in the app, you can easily observe improvements in your crucial app metrics. This way, you can quickly ascertai if these changes work for your app, or do no.

The UX features of the news app mentioned-above are essential to consider if you are thinking of creating one for your news website.

AppMySite online app creator can create a mobile app for your news website and also help you improve reader loyalty and engagement.

To know more about app-building, drop us a line today.

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