We asked Greg Baugher to tell us about his experience launching and growing his popular lifestyle blog, Suburban Men, and launching the site’s own mobile apps with MobiLoud.
How did it all start?
I founded Suburban Men in 2011. The original intent of the site was to provide advice and interesting articles to men living in the suburbs, people like myself, with kids and a working wife. After several years and not much success, I took a step back from the site.
In December 2014, I relaunched Suburban Men as a photo gallery site for men with a focus on the positive aspects of being a man. There are many sites around for this audience, but in general, they are geared towards a younger, college-age audience.
We have experienced tremendous growth in 2015. We are now starting to engage with major brands.
What drove you to publish your own mobile apps?
There are two major reasons for pursuing a mobile app.
The first quite honestly was user demand. Being a photo-centric site, my users demanded a mobile app. Suburban Men is the perfect site to kill a little time on your phone or tablet.
The second was the rise of ad blocking. In the past year, more and more users are using ad blocking software within their browsers. Some major publishers I work with have reported losses of up to 40% of their ad revenue due to this. I wanted to be ahead of the game and ensure that I was able to properly monetize Suburban Men during the crucial initial growth phases.
I am sure that I lost many followers by not having a mobile app for a while. While I have done what I can to optimize the performance of my site in a mobile browser, nothing beats the performance and user experience of a native app.
Having a mobile app has dramatically increased user retention and allows me to send notifications directly to their phones of new posts or other information I want to share.
Why did you chose MobiLoud for your apps?
I looked at just about every WordPress-capable mobile option available at the time. Some were using Phone Gap and other new technologies that I simply didn’t have the time or inclination to pursue.
I need to focus on content and revenue, not the intricacies of a new tech. Other simply reformatted my site into a mobile browser embedded in a native app. They looked awful and performed just as bad.
MobiLoud is the only WordPress-capable mobile solution that provides a true native app. It also gives me tremendous control over the function and user experience through the WordPress plugin that is the engine of the app.
While there were some trials to get through initially, Pietro and his team worked diligently to meet my needs. I now have a world class app that I would put against any app from my competitors.
What features were most important to you?
Speed, user experience and control. The app had to perform exponentially better than my site in a browser. I am a user-experience fanatic. The control that MobiLoud gives me allowed me to tailor the user experience to my needs.
What kind of feedback have you received from your readers?
Very positive. It might be easiest if I quote one of the reviews from the App Store “They revamped the app and it came back with a vengeance. It’s now better than ever. Works perfect every time and has great functionality. The content is now matched by the apps performance. Well done sir.”
What results have you seen since launching your app?
The results have been amazing. It took a bit longer to get the iOS app where I needed it, but since launching it just over two months ago, I am seeing almost as many screen views as I am page views through a browser.
My user base is ecstatic and it has provided me with a critical additional revenue stream through serving mobile ads.
I can’t recommend MobiLoud strongly enough. If you are using WordPress and need a mobile app, they are the only solution you should consider.