1. Put your app idea on paper
At the core of every good app is an idea. It may not be a groundbreaking idea, it doesn’t even have to be a really clever idea. If you have an idea, you are good to go!
Put your idea on paper, sketch it out clearly. The idea behind this process is to make it tangible. In this sketch you would be defining the way your app will work, clearly chalk out all the features you want your app to have. This way you gain a certain clarity before you start developing the app.
This step doesn’t need any complicated tools, just your pen and paper would be enough to get through the process. Start sketching out the idea, build a list of features for your app, and see how your idea is doing!
It is natural for you to go a little overboard and create a long list of features but ask yourself one question for every feature. Is this a ‘must-have’ feature or a ‘nice-to-have’ feature?
At the start, you must build yourself a lean app which can be your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). By doing this you do the things that are really important, perfect them, save time and eventually the app you make would in fact be more robust in the event of a setback.
My tip here would be not to get carried away and add hundreds of features to your app. Let your app do just the one thing but do it perfectly well.
2. Diligent market research
Often the app developers tend to underestimate the importance of market research and its impact on the fate of the app. Before you start developing your app, you need to find out whether your app idea is worth anything.
Diligent market research can actually help you figure out just that and prevent you from making serious mistakes in the process.
Before actually making an app, it is important to know whether your app idea has a potential to get your business going! Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your competitors or alternatives in the market?
- Who are your potential customers? What are they looking for? What do they need and what is it they desire?
- Should you charge for the app? How much? What business model would work the best?
A well-done market research can help you make smarter decisions while shielding you from making quite a few mistakes right at the start. When it is done right, it can help you validate assumptions and assess the needs of potential customers.
Listed below are the two types of market research that are particularly helpful.
- Observe and list out the mistakes made by your competitors
- Figure out whether there is a demand for an app like yours
It may come as a surprise to some of you to know that it is actually possible to figure out whether there is a demand for your app even before you start building it. Google Trends and Keyword Planner are two really efficient tools that can be used to figure out the demand for any app.
When you conduct diligent market research, you get to walk in the proverbial shoes of your customer. As a part of the research when you interact with the real users you will surely get more valuable results than just sitting in front of a screen and making assumptions based on whatever is available in other researches done earlier. It will help you answer critical questions like the ones listed below:
- Who will be using the app?
- What are they like?
- In what way does your app effect the issue that the potential app users are facing?
- What is it they are currently doing to solve the issue?
Once you have done your market research, you would have a clear definition of the problem your app solves and the exact people it is helping. The research gives you valuable insights which can then be leveraged to build an app that serves their users better.
3. Create app prototypes
A mockup is a near accurate sketch of the layout, user interface, and flow of the way the app is going to be designed. Building a mockup before building your app is one of the best decisions you can make.
At Appy Pie, we use Microsoft’s Mockup Pro which gives us a lot of flexibility to work and an overview of the entire app so that we do not miss out on any details.
With a software like this, you can outline all the important app UIs in the form of a rough sketch or wireframes.
In a mockup:
- The UI elements will not be fine grained
- The UI elements may not be positioned at the exact positions
- The color schemes and effects would be pretty basic
This is a great way to get an overview of the app without getting lost in the tiny details which may be unnecessary at this point in time. This is essentially the functional part of the app and has little to do with how good or bad the app looks.
A well-done mockup describes the flow and interactions within the app with things like the result of a tap on a button, or the way to get from one screen to the other and other such activities that determine the flow of the app.
Like all Microsoft products, Mockup Pro from Microsoft is an easy to use tool which lets you edit and customize mockup controls using customization wizards. The best part is that it comes with a free trial for 14 days.
Not only does this give you a clarity in terms of how the app is going to function and flow, but also is a great way to involve other stakeholders who might need an easier way to understand how the app is going to work.
This practice is important as it can help you weed out the basic UI/UX problems right at the start and helps you induct other teams and stakeholders on to the project without much of a hassle or confusion.
4. Design app graphics
At this stage, when your basics are sorted out it is time to get into the aesthetics of the app. The graphic design for your app includes the correct resolution and sized of all the visual elements, any graphic effects that may be needed on different elements, image assets, and animation or motion design (if needed).
There are two different approaches that I personally recommend.
- Use a graphics template and do it yourself
- Hire a graphic designer
Just because you are good at app development or are good at your business, it doesn’t mean that you are the best person to do app graphics.
Outsourcing the app graphic design project is a good idea, if it is not one of your strengths. You can go to platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or a few others and hire professional designers. However, if you do decide to take it up on your own it is smarter to go and work on a ready template instead of investing too much time on something that is not your strength.
In this case pay attention to copyright and licensing when you are using someone else’s original work.
5. Create your app – the Appy Pie way!
Once you have all these things sorted, it is time to get started with building the app. Building an app from the scratch is a great idea, particularly if you are a developer yourself or are in a position to hire one for yourself.
In one of our earlier posts, we have discussed at length about mobile app development process and have created a step by step guide which is especially beneficial for beginners. It’s time to get you some help now
You may think about hiring internal or external teams for app development, or even learn to code yourself, but in both the cases you would have to invest a lot in terms of money and time. If you are looking to get your app to the market in a short time and do not have deep pockets, Appy Pie’s no code app builder platform is the best way to go!
When you choose a no coding app building platform to build your app, you do not have to spend hours of your productive time in coding. All you need to do is choose from the numerous features we offer and drag and drop your favorite features to get an app that not only looks great but also performs exceptionally well. So, what’s stopping you from building your own app? Get Started now!
6. Test your app
Once you have built your own mobile app, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ready to go live with it!
It is natural to think of your product as something that is the best and most flawless product ever. However, it is rarely ever true for any first-time product. When you build your own app yourself, it is important that you spend some time in testing the app diligently.
Developers who skimp out on this step have often suffered heavily for it. It may seem that you are saving up on some precious time by skipping this step, but the problem arises when an untested app goes live and is infested with bugs and suffers through countless crashes which may have been avoided altogether.
Alpha testing is mostly a simulated or in some cases actual operational testing carried out by potential app users or independent testers at the developers’ site.
Beta testing consists of releasing the beta versions of the app to a limited audience (not a part of the programming team), also referred to as beta testers. Beta testing your app is crucial if you want an app to function well and we have a succinct 10 step process to help you through it.
Based on the results of the testing process, the app may need a little bit of a change and once you have done that, you are ready for the next step, going live!
7. Go live on app stores
The most awaited time for any app developer is the time to go live on app stores! This is where all the fun happens! The process to publish your app is different for different app stores and we have created dedicated guides to help you out with both.
Once you have published your android app on the Google Play Store and your iOS app on the Apple App Store, your app users can easily go there and download your app from there.
Now, just going through the steps mechanically may not be enough. The Apple App Store can be pretty tough on your app and you may need a bit of a guidance to get the app store to approve your app. Some time ago we created a little guide for our users that can get the App Store to approve their app and it might help you as well!
Additionally, we have also put together a set of 10 tips to avoid your app from being rejected by Apple App Store. Apple App Store has, in recent times become quite stringent about the apps it approves and this article can help you avoid the fate!
8. Market your app
This is the world of marketing and just because you have made an awesome app and published it on the app store, it doesn’t mean customers would be beelining for your app on the app stores!
When you are developing an app with the intent to offer a solution to any existing problem, you must be prepared for the fact that people might already be employing a certain solution already. You would have to think how you would be able to convince them to make that change.
This is where Marketing comes in!
Marketing is not the villain we have chalked it up to be. Even the best of the products needs the help of marketing to get it in front of the right audience. There are millions of apps on the app stores, you need visibility and marketing is the way to go ahead!
Marketing is not a linear process where you move progressively from one stage to the other. In fact, there are high chances of you making errors while employing even the best of time-tested marketing strategies. Here, we have put together a list of pre and post launch mobile app marketing pitfalls that you must avoid at all costs.
9. Get user feedback
Genuine feedback from your app users is of great value as it can help you as an app owner can leverage the users’ experience, and the feedback they offer in making the app better. Let’s take a look at how that can be done!
- Collecting quantitative data through app analytics
- Collecting qualitative data through surveys and interviews
- Establishing a personal connection by talking to the app users on a regular basis
One of the easiest ways to do this is by sending your app users an email and ask them nicely about how they are using your app. Don’t ask them if they like your app, ask them how they are using the app. When you ask directly if they like your app or how it can be improved, answers may be either vague or opinionated and that’s not really going to help!
The best way to get the feedback from your users would probably to watch them using your app. This way you would be able to identify the app interactions that are not going the way you expected them to. This is a great way to measure up and compare your expectations with the real-world results. In case there is a mismatch, you may either need to tweak your expectations or change your app to fulfil your expectations.
The idea here is to experiment with different actions and gauge their results. It is only when you have thoroughly tested out your actions and measured the results that you would be able to figure out what works the best for your app.
Now that your app is ready and doing well in the market, it’s time to have some fun and start making some money! In the next section we will be talking about how you can make money from your app. Let’s get going!
Ways to make money from your mobile app
There are a number of different ways to earn money from your app that you must explore and research on. Some of these ways might need you to charge your customers while others might not.
There is no ideal method or way to earn money from your app, and what would work the best for you is totally dependent on the services you are offering or your business model.
When you are building an app yourself, it is important that you understand what the best suited way would be to monetize your free app and bring in some enviable revenue. So, let’s get started!
1. In-App Advertising
This is probably the easiest and the most popular way to make some money with your app.
The way this works is that you let the advertisements show on your app.
As the app owner you get paid according to the number of impressions their ads make or the clicks they get, and the type of ads you are offering.
When you are allowing people to put up a video ad, you would get paid considerably more than a banner ad.
However, you would have to weigh in whether your customers would have the patience to watch the video ad whenever they use your app.
Not only is the type of ad important, but also the duration for which the video ad would run is of special significance as is the frequency with which you are going to show it.
These factors would help you hone your business model which you are basing on advertising.
BONUS: One interesting way in which you can earn money from your app is by not showing ads.
I’m serious! You can earn money from your users by offering them an ad free version of the app by buying an upgrade.
There are multiple platforms for doing this. The most popular one is Admob from Google.
At Appy Pie, we are offering Appy Jump which is a great way to monetize your app and earn back all the investment you put in.
2. In-App Purchases
This feature is more relevant from the users’ perspective. In this revenue model, users can unlock some additional features or levels after buying an upgrade.
In this model, an app can offer any extra bonus, any kind of premium content, virtual currency for the game, or unlock any extra level.
The in-app purchases that an app owner can offer may be consumables like virtual currency or non-consumables like advanced levels, maps, or other kind of virtual merchandise.
From among the most popular mobile apps more than 50% make use of in-app purchases to earn revenue. In future, the number of such apps is only going to increase.
This strategy is based on the freemium model, where you would be offering your app for free, but offering the premium features, advanced levels or access to premium content for an upgrade. Quite a popular model, in fact!
The subscription model is a highly effective one and presents quite a fair deal for both the parties involved, the developer and the app user.
Here, your app would be offered to the users for free and be able to access some of the content without any charges.
Once the users begin enjoying the app and find some value in its offerings, they can upgrade to a paid subscription which would offer them unlimited, or staggered access to the app content.
Another similar model is where users get a free trial period and enjoy unlimited access to the app for a limited time period. Once that time period expires, the users is blocked and would have to buy the subscription to use the app beyond the trial period.
4. Paid Apps
You have spent a whole lot of time, money and other resources on building your app. It is only fair that you would want to put a tag on this final product.
This means if you were to offer your app for $0.99 and got a million downloads, you are almost at a million-dollar milestone for app revenue.
But there are contradictory views about its effectiveness.
The global statistics indicate that the mobile phone users do not have the habit of spending money on their apps. The numbers also say that there is not much money to be made by putting a price tag on your mobile app.
In the year 2017, the free mobile apps were downloaded for more than 250 billion times. However, the number of downloads for mobile apps stopped only at 15 billion!
Another effective strategy but only works well only if you as an app owner can find a sponsor with similar or same target market.
Once you get the right sponsor, you can white label the app and can adapt their app design to match the sponsor’s brand.
The developer would have to build a niche app for customized app for customized users before launching the app on behalf of the Sponsor Company or Brand.
Now, this can be even your local barber shop or a popular restaurant.
There are two different ways in which you can workout a deal.
- A revenue split
- Monthly sponsorship fee
This strategy can actually be quite a lucrative proposition. The app developer, you in this case would get the benefit of the existing web traffic and brand loyalty that the sponsor has to offer. This can actually help you in promoting the app while expanding your user base.
6. Affiliate Program
A mobile affiliate network is essentially a mobile platform which brings the mobile advertisers and affiliates on a common ground.
While the mobile advertisers may be the mobile app owners or may be a business that sells a product or service through mobile web, the affiliates here carry out performance-based advertising for the advertisers.
Here, by joining a mobile affiliate network, you would be advertising relevant apps, products, or services being offered by your affiliates and earn money from it.
This revenue can either be in the form of a cost per action where you can earn money every time someone clicks on their ad, installs their app, or carries out any other (desired) action.
The second form is the revenue sharing model where you would receive a certain percentage of revenue that you have managed to generate for the advertiser.
You can enroll on any of these platforms and your app revenue is going to soar up exponentially!
Here’s something a little extra, just for you! A BONUS video from Abs, our Founder, CEO that talks about all the different ways in which you can make money from the app that you just built on Appy Pie!
This list of some really lucrative ways to make money from your app should help you get over any doubts you might have had about building your own app!
There was a time when making money from mobile apps was a questionable idea. Times have changed, so has the industry. Not only are people recovering their cost of building an app but are also making a fortune with it.
There are a number of ways in which you can make money without your app users having to pay a single penny, while in others your app users generate your revenue.
There is no ‘correct’ method here, but different methods may be correct for different requirements.
The idea here should be to research and explore all possible methods, and maybe even try some of them hands on, before finalizing which way you plan to go.
In-app purchase is a monetization technique that allows app users to purchase goods and services from within the mobile app using their smartphones.
In-app advertising is one of the most popular monetization strategies, in which app owners get paid to serve ads on their app.
A monetization tactic, affiliate program enables app owners to generate revenue by allowing others who target the same audience – “affiliates” – to earn a commission by recommending the product to others.
Sponsorship is a great way to earn money from your app but make sure you find a sponsor with similar or same target market.