Last month, good friend Adam Small who runs Digital Home Info, a real estate marketing platform, sent me a link from TechCrunch on a new company called Appifier. They’ve built a web-based engine that allows you to take any WordPress blog and publish it as an iPhone application.
It’s nothing short of amazing. First, you install a plugin that basically makes your entire WordPress blog a JSON REST API. This allows the iPhone App to communicate directly with your blog… making requests and retrieving content.
We wouldn’t have gotten the iPhone App working if it weren’t for the incredible folks at our host WPEngine and at Appifier. We have a very customized WordPress installation that’s modified significantly. Come to find out, we had a plugin that was redirecting the JSON requests… but I didn’t find the issue, the two companies got on the phone with one another and sorted it all out for me. That kind of customer service is hard to find these days.
The Marketing Technology App is both simple and stunning. It provides our latest posts, a list of categories, and a search mechanism. It pulls down the latest posts so that you can read them offline and has a push mechanism to send alerts when new content is available.
All this for $39.99 a month… or $499 for a lifetime license! Your application is also not dependent on Appifier… it’s truly YOUR application and communicates directly with your WordPress blog. This was important to us since we wanted a mobile application but didn’t necessarily want to be dependent on a third party. We signed up as a Developer with Apple and the folks at Appifier took care of the rest. Apple is a bit slow on approving the app, but they give you constant updates on the process.
There’s a ton of opportunity with Appifier… perhaps an iPad app is around the corner? We also want to bring in our YouTube and Podcasts into the app. We may ‘trick’ it by importing that content as posts via their RSS streams and just hiding it from the reader, but making it available via the JSON posts.
You may be wondering why we thought this was a good investment from a business standpoint. The truth is that I don’t think it will have an enormous impact on our readership… but it does put us in front of another audience. Search results for marketing in the App Store are pretty shallow, so we think we’ll pick up some readers there. We also think that having an iPhone App continues to show that we’re a publication that cares about expanding and reaching our audiences where they are. Not every publication actually runs its own app… we wanted to be in the select few.
We have a lot to think about!
Download the Marketing Technology Blog iPhone App from the App Store today!