UPDATE: Suspension of iOS app builder service and support. Read more here.
Hi, this is Marco with eDirectory, and welcome to the getting started video series. In this edition, we’ll cover setting up your synchronized mobile app within the site manager. Keep in mind, other solutions out there claim to be “mobile app ready”... which just means they make you subscribe to an additional freemium appifying platform that launches your mobile browser within an app shell… it’s a joke and you’ll eventually need to start paying hundreds or thousands per year. So remember, at eDirectory your app is a native mobile app and syncs up with your site automatically, and nothing is ever set in stone, so you’ll be able to make changes as you grow. We’ll cover the essentials for now, but in general, you’ll learn the best practices for getting your app set-up and published. So let’s get started!
So we organized this video into 3 areas, the site manager, where we’ll actually build the app, external resources, which are important to get your app out there in the world, and lastly, key points you’ll need to succeed with the integrated app to manage your ongoing needs. Let’s go ahead and login and get started with the first topic, the site manager.
Ok, so here we are in the site manager dashboard, we’ll navigate down to the Mobile App icon, and we’ll find along the left our set-up menu items. In building the app, we start with the first step which is the icon (this is the tile image that will appear on the smartphone dashboard), next is the loading image (this is the image displayed while the app is loading up after being opened on someones phone), colors, we offer several color scheme options with digital color codes for the perfect branding match, and even unique colors for each of the features like events, deals, and articles. Keep in mind that once your app has been submitted and approved, changing any colors, logos, loading images will require re-submitting the app for it to take effect in the stores). Next, there is an awesome preview function that lets you download a working prototype to test and play around with, show to friends and family, etc. Lastly, we have the build & submit option, however this is the last step you will take as there are still more configuration options remaining like branding and promotional tools. So this is what you’ll come back to you once you’ve completed everything in this presentation, so save this for later. Next step, branding the APP.
So in the branding area is where you’ll define the public information for the app like the summary or about us section, the logo (may be similar or identical to the icon image of the app tile image, however for those that vary you have that option here in a specific size format. Next, populate your Email address, phone number, and website so interested parties know how to get ahold of you. Next up, Custom Pages.
So here we are at the custom pages section, one of my personal favorites. You can add as many custom pages as you need here, great for landing pages, special content, additional pages, or featured promotions. Be sure to include them in the menu so users can find the pages you’ve added here. Best part about this section is that you can update any pages you’ve made here and they will appear live in the app without having to re-submit to the app stores! Very handy for staying up to date. Next up, the Menu.
We’ve now arrived at the menu builder so you can help users best navigate to what they’ll find most useful, including any pages you custom created in the previous section. You can edit the name of the menu items, rearrange their order, specify which section they link to, and incorporate custom pages as needed. Pretty cool! Next up, the Slider section.
Ok, so here we are at the slider section, great way to add some style to the homepage slider and link to any special content you’d like to have your users navigate to. So here you can edit what images will display, what the text description will be, and what piece of content created within the site manager it will link to, like an article, special deal, event, or listing. It does not link to any external pages so you keep the engagement within the app. The best part about this feature, which I think is pretty cool, is to have a slider in the listings area, so here you can select a few key members, sponsors, or listing owners that you want to give top visibility to. You can charge for this or include it in a premium pricing level, however the limit of sliders for both areas here is 5, so be sure to save one for your branding. Next up, the promotional tools.
Smart banners, a very cool feature within the eDirectory Application builder to convert the traffic from the mobile phone visitors of your desktop site to install the app from the corresponding app store, like Apple or Android, so... your site will display a smart banner detailing your mobile application along with a link to the application for download. Fill in the details in this section below to set-up this banner and see how it will work for you. Next up, External Resources.
So you’ll need to utilize these external resources in order to publish the app and get the best use out of this powerful feature for your online community. For starters, we will provide links to articles for each of these resources that go in much greater detail in the text area below the video. Beginning with the Facebook APP ID & Secret Key, very easy to set-up, and very cool that our apps work with one of the largest social media platforms in the world. You’ll need to go through a few clicks within your Facebook account to get this going, but once it’s done it’s done. You’ll also need Apple Goolge Developer accounts, very easy to set up if you already have an AppleID or gmail account, just navigate to those special areas and create your profile. Lastly, the Google Firebase is the neatest integration we included in some recent upgrades. This allows you to push notifications to your app holders, so if you need to get the word out and want to get some engagement going, you’ll definitely want to get that set-up, just don’t be a nuisance with the notifications! Next up, key points to consider!
Some key points to understand so you have the best experience possible with utilizing the integrated app builder and having another place to curate and grow your online community. Recent changes in industry require a secure website for best practices, namely, that you have an SSL. It is also required to publish an app. Now at eDirectory, we provide a FREE 90 day SSL to all clients so they get launch with an app as quickly as possible. After 90 days you can purchase ours or we’ll install one of your choosing for a small fee. Next, whenever we upgrade the platform, or if you decide to change your domain name, you’ll need to resubmit the app to the app stores for it to take effect. If you change your logo, loading images, or colors, you’ll also need to re-submit. Another key point is that not all features you see on the desktop version are available within the app, this is for a tailored app experience. Download the free eDirectory example app in the Apple or Android Stores to get a better idea before purchase, or feel free to ask your assigned account executive for more details. Next, since the integrated mobile app is proprietary technology, the source code is not publicly available, therefore any customizations you’d like to have done to the app would need to be completed by eDirectory and our in-house custom development team. We’re always happy to learn more about your specific needs to make sure you have the site and app that works best for you. Simply fill out a quote request form or reach out to your account executive for more details. Lastly, we also offer an App Store Submission service in our Advanced Technical Services area, so if you’d like to have this all fast-tracked, feel free to take advantage, just let us know!
Ok, well that about wraps up our coverage of the integrated app builder, certainly a key feature of the eDirectory platform that sets us apart from all the rest out there. If you have any questions or need assistance, please submit a support ticket, start a chat on the website, or email Support@eDirectory.com and a member of our success team will be happy to assist you! We also have some very helpful articles below in the text to provide more insight into each of the essential configurations. Thank you for tuning into the App Builder video, and I’ll see you in the next one!