Are you considering making an app? You are in good company.
The mobile apps industry is projected to be worth more than $ 407 billion (yes, with a B) by 2026.
The average person now has more than 80 apps on their phone. This gives app developers a lot of options.
However, if you think building an app is an easy way to get rich, you will have to prepare for a mistake. Building an app takes research, hard work, and a willingness to dive in and learn.
Fortunately, there are tons of resources to get you started – including this guide. In the following, I'll walk you through building your app idea and then share five resources to help you launch your app.
How to expand your app idea
As with any business, creating an app requires laying the foundations before you start. Here is a five-step guide to help you prepare for your app launch, including how to do your research, how to monetize your app, and what to include in your business plan.
Create an app Step 1: Do market research
Before you start building your app, you must first get an overview of the country. Who is your target audience? What other apps offer similar features or functionality? How is your app different?
First, create a buyer persona map that will help you understand who your target audience is and what they want. Use this information to create a detailed sales plan, decide which features to include, and where to market your app.
Then do a competitive analysis to understand your competitors. The information you get from it is crucial when building and expanding your app. Focus on what current apps do and don't do well. The areas where they fail give you the opportunity to improve and take over a part of their market.
For example, if you want to create an app that offers exercise and nutrition recommendations, take the time to download similar apps and read their reviews. What features do people ask about and what features do they dislike? Who is using these apps? How are they monetized?
Be thorough – you will use this information in the next few steps.
Create an App Step 2: Decide how you want to monetize your app
There are several ways to make money with an app. The right choice for your app will likely depend on your industry, audience, and the type of app you're building. For example, games are often monetized through ads and in-app purchases, while dating apps generally charge a monthly subscription fee.
Consider each of the following monetization methods to help you decide which is right for your app:
- Show: Create a free app and make money selling ads on your app. Duolingo uses this model but also offers a paid plan.
- In-app purchase: Provide a free app and allow users to purchase add-ons like they do with Pokemon Go.
- Freemium: Give users free access to a restricted plan and then charge them for access to all features, like the Mindfulness meditation app.
- One time payment: Charge a one-time fee to access the app. Remember, you don't have continuous revenue streams for updates, redesigns, and marketing.
- Monthly subscription: Charge a small monthly fee to access the app. This helps you maintain a steady stream of income, which makes it easier to pay salaries and invest in marketing.
Many apps use multiple monetization methods. For example, you can offer a limited free plan and then charge a monthly subscription fee to access all of its features. You can even use ads to monetize the free plan and offer a paid plan that is ad-free.
Each monetization method has advantages and disadvantages. Some users may get annoyed with too many ads or hate paying for subscription services. See what other apps in your industry are doing, but don't be afraid to use another method to set a new standard.
Create an app Step 3: Create a business plan
Most people assume that building an app is all about coding, but the real work actually starts long before you build your first line of code (or before you start building if you're using an app builder).
After knowing your audience and deciding how to monetize your app, take the time to come up with a business plan. This plan should guide your first few years of business and make you feel committed to the main purpose of your app.
According to the Small Business Administration, your business plan should include:
- Summary: A brief overview of your company, your offerings and basic information about your leadership team, your location and your growth plans.
- Company description: A detailed guide that describes what problem your company will solve, who your app serves and what competitive advantages your app offers.
- Market analysis: A summary of your market research that covers your app's strengths, the trends you've been using, and how your app compares with others in the same industry.
- Structure and management: An explanation of who is responsible for your company and how your company is structured. Are you creating a C Company or LLC, or are you a sole proprietor? Include a list of key executives, their résumés and résumés, and an outline of the benefits each person brings.
- Offer: A description of what your app does and how it benefits customers. Include plans for patent applications or copyrights, if applicable.
- Market and sales plans: An overview of your marketing strategy and how it will adapt over time. Explain how you plan to attract and retain customers, what the sales process is like, and where you will focus your marketing efforts.
- Financial projections: Information about your costs, where the money is coming from, and potential profits. The cost of building an app can be low (especially using the app tools discussed in the next section). However, you will still need cash for things like web hosting, paid ads, etc. Forecast sales for the first year, five years, and ten years, and make sure you explain how you got those numbers and explain where they came from the funding is coming.
Build an app Step 4: Build the app
Now that you've got the basics in place, it's time to actually build your app. This may feel a bit overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. You have three main options for building your app. Let's examine the pros and cons of each one.
Code the app yourself
If you are tech savvy, you may be able to code the app yourself. Make sure you have a deep understanding of coding or the patience to learn.
- cheap (it only costs your own time)
- full control over functions, coding platforms, etc.
- requires a deep understanding of the coding
- Time consuming
Hire an app builder
Hiring an app builder can be expensive, but it can help you get the app to market faster than coding it yourself.
- start faster
- No need to learn coding languages
- can be expensive
- less control over functions
Use an app creation tool
Remember that building a website required expensive programs and extensive coding skills? Now you can create a website with just a few clicks. App creation tools provide the same functionality for apps.
- faster and easier than coding or renting an app builder
- probably cheaper than hiring someone to build your app
- get to market faster
- limited by the functionality of the App Builder
- have to pay to use most (although they are usually affordable)
Create an app Step 5: Launch and send to app stores
Once your app has been built, you'll need to test it out before you start. Ask a few friends to download the app and give them their thoughts. Use a mobile UX test tool to see how users navigate your app and make adjustments before you start.
You then need to send your app to app stores. This is where users download them. The most popular app stores are Apple's App Store and Google Play. Follow these instructions to submit your app to the App Store and then to Google Play.
Don't forget to optimize for app SEO! This will help you rank higher so that people will actually find your app.
5 resources to help you build your app
Building an app is easier than ever, thanks in part to the multitude of app tools you can use to build and launch a mobile app. With so many options, however, it can be difficult to figure out which one to use.
Let's take a look at some of the top app tools so you can find the one that is right for you.
iBuildApp is a full featured app builder that provides all the tools to build an app using the drag and drop functionality. Start with any of 1000+ templates and drag and drop them to add videos, pictures, text, and more.
This tool is ideal for building apps for ecommerce stores, education, healthcare, corporate, media, retail, and financial services. Brands like the US Navy, Whole Foods, SEGA, and Emory University have used this tool.
Price: Starts at $ 59.40 per month for one app.
Appy Pie AppMakr
Would you like to create an app but have no programming experience? With Appy Pie, you can create an app in just three steps. Choose from over 100 functions, including GPS, in-app shopping, offline functions and push notifications. They also provide analytics that you can use to measure app performance.
You can use it to build apps for dating sites, customer loyalty programs, chatbots, retail stores, restaurants, and more. They even help you send the app to app stores.
Appy Pie is used by brands like The Home Depot, Southwest, and Nike.
Price: Options start at $ 18 per month for an ad-free experience and also offer a free trial.
BuildFire is a full featured app development tool that allows you to build an app without coding. Use their templates and customize your app with hundreds of functions such as push notifications, clocks, private portals, loyalty programs, checklists, forms or media.
They also offer a white label feature that allows you to build apps and sell them to customers.
While this app build tool is more expensive than other options, it offers a lot more tools and features. Hence, it is an ideal choice for building more detailed apps.
Price: Plans start at $ 159 per month and are billed annually.
Building an app is just the first step. You also need to test the user experience. Usability Geek has tools, resources, and UX test guides to help your app succeed. Find out about usability from the UX courses and blog posts to learn the skills you need to make your app successful.
The courses offered cover a range of topics including e-commerce psychology, building a UX portfolio, and quantitative research for UX. Some courses even offer certification.
Price: Usability Geek offers free usability test blogs and paid training courses starting at $ 16 per month.
GoodBarber is an easy-to-use app building tool designed for both e-commerce and standard app building. As with many other app tools, no programming skills are required.
This tool is ideal for building apps for local delivery, retail, grocery, e-commerce, news, business, and the community. Features include adding payment options, push notifications, user authentication, geofencing marketing, videos, maps, calendars, and forms.
Price: Prices start at $ 25 per month for an app and include SEO optimization, domain names, SSL security, 200GB of storage, and unlimited pages.
They also offer reseller plans that start at $ 200 per month.
With the help of app build tools, starting an app is easier than ever. With little to no programming knowledge, you can create, start and optimize your new app in just a few days.
However, creating a successful app isn't just about dragging and dropping features. To be successful, take the time to create a business and marketing plan, research your target audience, and come up with a plan to fund your business.
Have you ever created an app? Which app build tools have been most helpful to you?
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