Mobile App development has a lot of potential. The most popular apps do, after all, reach download numbers of millions per day. The opportunity for generating income is obvious. The trouble is, everyone knows that. There are over 750,000 apps on both Apple and Google’s app stores. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to educate yourself about both the different app development platforms as well as which sales platforms it’s best to use. Here’s our guide on everything you need to know when starting out in the world of app development:
Before we get started on the different ‘make-your-own’ platforms, we’re going to take a couple of minutes to look at exactly why you should consider hire a pro app development company, rather than taking the DIY approach. Are we a bit biased? Of course! But that doesn’t mean the pro route isn’t the way to go. Here’s why:
Virtually every modern app stores data of some kind. Financial details, contact information, browsing habits… It’s your responsibility to ensure this data is secured. How can you guarantee the safety and security of this data if you’re inexperienced in app development and management? Simple: you can’t.
Experience is the most valuable trait in any profession. You can read, you can watch video tutorials and you can study, but there’s simply no substitute for ‘been there, done that’. When you hire a professional app development firm, you are going to have an upfront cost. But you’re paying for the knowledge and experience you simply don’t have. If something goes wrong – and when it comes to development, something normally does – a pro firm will be able to manage and fix the issue quickly.
It’ll save you energy and time
We’re assuming that, if you’re looking at app development platforms, apps aren’t your primary income source at the moment. Do you really have the resources, time and energy to take on and master a completely new skill from scratch, in addition to managing your existing business? Running a business in today’s economy is hard enough; do you really want to divide your resources even more when a skilled, experienced firm could simply take the work off your hands?
We’re going to cover the different app publishing platforms in more depth later, but suffice to say there are a few of them, and they’ve all got different quirks and characteristics. If you’re planning to publish your app across the different operating systems – which is often a good idea, as it maximises your opportunity – then you’ll need to ensure you have the necessary knowledge and skills to do so. After all, it’s not as simple as just building the app and then publishing it everywhere. Each publisher has its own rules and requirements, and if you’re going DIY you’ll have to learn all of them. Or, of course, you can let the pros handle it. Get in touch with Iconic Solutions today, and we’ll be happy to further explain the benefits of going the pro approach.
A pro app developer is nearly always worth the investment. But what’s the alternative? After all, you might be working on a shoestring budget. If that’s the case, you may consider one of the many app development platforms available. Many of the service listed below will enable you to build an app yourself, even if – as you’ll see – they’re still not as cheap as you might expect.
This app builder platform is cloud-based, and includes the option to create apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. (In this sense, it’s very versatile). Being cloud-based means that there’s no software to actually download, and the visual editing tool contained within is quite effective. There are also a number of plugins in Appery’s own catalogue that you can add to make your app more feature heavy. The collaboration tools are also quite effective.
Prices: you’ll need to stump up $180 per month – or more – to get pro results.
iOS and Android are the two markets focused on here. The biggest perk to Mobile Roadie is the included ‘Connect’ app, which you can download for free and use to preview the work you’re developing on your own device. Being able to see your app as potential users would is definitely useful. You can also push content either straight to your app or pull data through to your own blog or website in a lot of formats – XML, JSON, PHP, CSV and HTML.
Prices: anywhere from between $125 and $667 per month.
This app platform offers you two different options for development: You can make use of their online toolkit, which includes online training that’ll help you build your app. You can use the dedicated AppLibrary, in which you can take multiple existing apps and customise them with your own branding. TheAppBuilder is obviously dedicated to security, with options in place to protect your apps with usernames and passwords.
Prices: may vary depending on your needs – you’ll need to get a quote.
This platform offers similar capabilities to many of the others, but it does set itself apart in terms of visuals. There are nine potential templates included, but the customisable options are many: 350 icons and 600 fonts are available. The other major plus is the control you can enjoy once your app’s actually live – Good Barber makes it easy to send push notifications or let your users contribute to the work by submitting articles, photos or videos. Arranging the internals of the app is also fairly easy.
Prices: one of the more budget-friendly platforms, Good Barber plans range from between $16 a month up to $32 for the full-price plan.
Our list finished with this DIY tool, which allows for publishing to Google Play or iTunes and – like Appery – is entirely cloud-based, so there’s nothing to download. Designing in Appy Pie is fairly simpleas everything’s drag-and-drop. Any mods you make once the app is live will roll out immediately. Analytics are included – which is useful – and you can immediately start monetizing using ads, which is good if you need a fast win. The other plus is that it’s fairly simple to integrate social media pages, blogs, websites, as well as audio and radio. If you’re planning an all-singing, all-dancing multi-media app, Appy Pie could be a good option.
Prices: again, Appy Pie is more wallet-conscious than some. The top plans cost around $33 per month.
A word on pricing and development platforms
It’s worth noting that if you want your app to stay live, you’ll have to pay the monthly costs for these services. If you stop paying at any point, your app will be removed from the marketplace. So, whilst building your app this way may be cheaper than the up-front cost of hiring a pro company (assuming you build your app within the first month) – in the long-term it’ll often be more expensive.
There are several main options:
- Google Play
- The iTunes App Store
- Windows Phone Store
- Blackberry World
- Amazon’s Appstore
And, if you’ve got the skills or the right company to work with, there’s nothing stopping you publishing across the board. But what are the benefits of doing so? And what are the alternatives?
The cost of publishing
Unfortunately, you will have to pay to publish. Costs for doing so vary, but it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Apple’s iTunes Store is the most expensive; it’ll cost you $99 per year to have an app there. Google is cheaper, charging just $25 for a lifetime membership. So, if your budget is peanuts, then you’d probably best avoid Apple. The only problem with that is this: iOS apps earn more money. Studies showed that Apple device users are simply more likely to pay for an app. Yes, there are natural variations across different industries and income models, but when it comes to generating income, iOS apps get better results. (Which is odd, as according to Developer Economics, Google Play apps are actually more popular).
What about publishing everywhere, then?
This is an interesting one, and we’ll turn back to Developer Economics to explore the point. Studies do, unsurprisingly, show that apps which are featured on every store make more money. So far, so not surprising. Here’s the problem, though: Though the revenues are higher, the difference isn’t huge between those who choose one store and those that go wide. Indeed, many developers end up making less profit by going wide, simply because the maintenance and development cost of having apps everywhere is much higher.
The world of mobile app development can be potentially lucrative. However, achieving success means managing development alongside mobile marketing – which, in some ways, is even more complicated. Remember that there’s no substitute for practical experience. At Iconic Solutions, we’re specialists in creating and marketing high quality apps for our clients. If you want a chance at getting results in an ever-more competitive market, we can help.