It doesn’t matter if you’re building a personal finance app, a gaming app, or anything in between. Regardless of what they’re creating, there are certain factors that every app builder needs to take into account to ensure they get a great product that their target audience wants to download and use.
Are you unsure of where to start when building an app? Do you want to make sure you don’t forget anything important?
If so, read on. Listed below are some of the top things to consider when building an app.
One of the first things to think about when building an app is your target audience.
Who do you want to download and use your app? Who are you trying to serve with it? What problem are you going to solve for these people?
A good app starts with a lot of research. The more you learn about your audience, the easier it is to create an app that they will love and that will benefit your business (both now and in the future).
iPhone vs. Android
In addition to learning about your audience’s age range, gender, interests, and needs, it’s also important to consider their preference when it comes to operating systems.
Does the majority of your audience have an Android device or an iPhone? Do you want to make your app immediately available on both types of devices, or do you want to start with one and expand later?
Keep in mind that more people have Android devices compared to Apple products. If you’re looking to get your app onto as many devices as possible, Android should be a priority, especially if you’re trying to reach people overseas.
On the other hand, for those who want to sell their app to another company after it’s been developed, iOS apps may be more lucrative.
Of course, you can also develop an app that works on both platforms. However, this will cost you more money upfront, so you’ll need to factor that into your development budget.
After you’ve figured out whom you’re targeting with your app and the problem it’s going to solve, your next job is to start thinking about the customer journey.
How will people use your app? What process will they go through to learn about it, pay for it, download it onto their devices, and start using it?
Mapping out the customer journey will help you to understand your target audience better. It also will help you out later when you start marketing your app.
Here are some steps you can take to define the customer journey for your audience:
- Define user personas: Create avatars of members of your target audience so you can think like them and put yourself in their shoes when considering their pain points and the problems you want to solve
- Gather data: Review analytics, conduct surveys, or interview members of your target audience to gather data and learn more about what they do and don’t want to see in an app
- Identify user behaviors and goals: Figure out what people will do after they download your app? Are they using it to monitor spending? Play games?
- Identify interaction points: How will users engage with the app, from logging in to accomplishing specific tasks? How will the app engage with them? Will users receive push notifications, for example?
- Anticipate obstacles: What kinds of obstacles will hold the audience back from using your app? How can you address these obstacles to make the app more user-friendly?
Now, you can take the information you’ve gathered and use it to create marketing materials that highlight the app’s selling points, make it more appealing to your target audience, and get them interested in downloading and using it.
Speaking of marketing, be sure to think about how you’re going to promote your app.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if you have the coolest, most useful app in the world. If you don’t do a good job of letting people know it exists and showing them what it does, you’re not going to make a lot of money from it.
The following are examples of steps you and your marketing team might take to start getting people interested in the app:
- Start a blog: Publish posts that are relevant to your industry, the app, and the problems the app will hopefully solve (for example, perhaps you can create a personal finance-related blog and use it to start plugging your money management app)
- Create a landing page: A “coming soon” landing page with a place for people to add their email address is a great way to generate leads, provide updates, and get people excited for the app’s launch date
- Create a trailer: A short video showcasing a prototype of the app is a great way to generate interest and show people what you’re working on; share it on YouTube and on the social media platforms that your audience is most likely to use
Make sure you figure out your marketing plan early on, too. Don’t wait until after the app is developed and launched to start thinking about how you’ll market it.
Get your team involved right away. That way, they have time to learn about your target customers and create high-quality marketing materials that are more likely to reach them.
When you’re creating any kind of product, including an app, it’s always a good idea to consider your competition.
Do your competitors have an app at all? What kind of app do they have? How functional is it? What features can you offer that they don’t that will make your app more enticing?
Some people shy away from competitor research because they don’t want to copy others. Remember, though, that the goal is not to rip off the competition. It’s to learn about what they’re doing so you can build upon it, provide your audience with something better, and be of more service to your customers.
App Developer Options
Unless you have an app development background yourself, chances are you’re going to want to work with a professional to get your app designed and on the market as quickly as possible.
There are lots of different options out there when it comes to hiring app developers. You can hire a freelancer, for example, or outsource the design and development process to an agency.
Some people are drawn to freelancers initially because they often have lower rates than agencies. The problem with this, though, is that freelancers can be unreliable, especially when you’re working with someone without a lot of experience or references.
Working with a freelancer also may not provide you with the same level of quality assurance that you’d get if you worked with an agency. App development agencies often have team members whose primary job is to test and monitor apps to make sure they’re working properly.
This generally isn’t the case with freelancers. If something goes wrong, you might spend more money trying to fix your app than you would have if you had just worked with a development agency in the first place.
On a similar note, it’s also important to be realistic when considering the cost of your app. In general, if you want to get a high-quality, easy-to-navigate, visually pleasing app, you’re going to need to spend around 20K, at minimum.
Don’t go cheap when it comes to app development. It’s better to invest in quality upfront so you can provide your audience with a positive experience. This, in turn, will help you to see a bigger return on your investment moving forward.
Keep in mind that many development agencies offer payment plans and financing for their services. They won’t demand that you fork over 20K immediately. When vetting different agencies, ask them if they offer any of these options to make the payment process a little less stressful.
No matter what kind of app you’re hoping to build, you need to make sure it works on a variety of different devices. It’s best to test it on a variety of mobile phones to ensure it works on different screen sizes and is compatible with the most current devices, as well as older models.
You ought to consider, too, whether or not your app works on tablets and laptops, too. Think about the different ways that your target audience is likely to access the app. Then, make sure your app looks good and functions properly on those devices.
Some people make the mistake of assuming that their app is going to be super profitable right out of the gate. Can this happen? Sure. Does it always happen? Definitely not.
When you’re building an app, it’s important to think about your finances.
Beyond the amount of money you invest at the beginning to get it built, you’ll need to consider, for example, how you’re going to make money from the app and start recouping what you spent.
Will you charge a fee when people download the app? A monthly subscription? Will there be a free version and a more sophisticated paid version?
Consider, too, the fact that Apple takes 15-30 percent of sales revenue. How can you price your app to offset this amount and ensure you’re still making a decent profit?
Make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly, with these factors in mind. That way, you can support yourself and keep your business running in the early days of the app.
How long is it going to take to build your app, from the early research phase to the launch date?
Most apps take around 3-9 months to develop from start to finish. When you work with a developer, they can give you a more detailed timeline based on your specific needs and the features you want to include in your app.
Keep the development timeline in mind, especially when it comes to creating a marketing plan. This will help you to promote your app appropriately and maximize your profits when the launch date arrives.
For your app’s launch date, be sure to choose a date that will help you achieve the specific goal you’re trying to accomplish.
For example, if you’re releasing a gaming app, launching it in the summer when kids are leaving for vacation and need something to keep them busy is a good strategy.
On the other hand, if you’re creating a fitness app, launching it in the early spring might be a good way to capitalize on your audience members who are starting to get prepared for swimsuit season.
Remember, app building is not a one-and-done thing.
No matter how well your app is built in the beginning, there’s going to be a need for updates and adjustments over time. You’ll run into bugs and other challenges that, if they aren’t addressed right away, could turn people off from using your app and eat into your profits.
This is why app maintenance is so important.
When you’re choosing a developer to help you build your app, be sure to ask them about their app maintenance services. Can they help you update your app regularly and fix bugs as soon as they appear? Can they help you track metrics like user numbers and download rates?
These services make it easier for you to have a high-quality app that stands the test of time. If you want to keep your target audience around long-term, investing in app maintenance is a smart move.
Need Help Building an App?
It’s clear from this list that there’s a lot to consider when building an app, from identifying your target audience to choosing the perfect launch time.
Are you worried about forgetting something important? Do you want to work with a professional to streamline the app building process and get a high-quality finished product?
If you’re looking to partner with experienced, knowledgeable app developers, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to learn more about our app-building services or to schedule a consultation.