Millions of people dream of making money or improving their business by developing a landmark app, given today’s app market landscape. Total app revenue has grown enormously over the past few years, rising 35 percent between 2016 and 2017 alone—in 2017, new installs were up 13.5 percent, hitting a total app revenue of $58.7 billion.
But before you go hiring developers or trying your own hand at coding, there are some things you should know about app development.
What You Should Know Before Developing Your App
Developing, launching, and managing an app is more complex than it might seem. Take note of these realities before you make a move.
- The “app market” is diverse. Trying to make an app for “everyone” simply isn’t going to work. There are thousands of groups and sub-types of users to consider, and unless you’re targeting a specific selection of them, your app is going to fall flat. You need to be able to stand out and offer relevance to a specific niche, which means you’ll need to conduct exhaustive market research before you even begin—and possibly change the angle of your app altogether.
- Initial cost estimation is nearly impossible. If you want to make a profit with an app, you’ll first need to know how much it’s going to cost to develop and manage. If you can’t generate more revenue than you spend, your app won’t be profitable. However, it’s nearly impossible to estimate the true cost of your app from the beginning, as most app developers attest. Even if you have a clear idea of what specs you want to be included in the app, it’s hard to foresee which obstacles you’ll face, what kind of bugs you’ll encounter, and what changes you’ll need to make before the app hits the market.
- Your revenue model matters. There are many ways to make money with an app; you can charge a few dollars for an initial download, you can offer a “freemium” model, with free core content and paid add-ons, or you can offer your content for free and include outside advertising. All these methods have advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to consider your model carefully, and adopt the one that works best for your specific situation. It won’t be the same for all developers.
- There are specific rules to follow. No matter where you’re planning to launch your app, there are specific rules you’ll need to follow. In general, you can expect your target app store to want your app to perform the way users expect it to perform, be reliable and consistent, and of course, be free from offensive material. However, these requirements are somewhat qualitative and vague, so you may run into issues if you get into a disagreement. Beyond that, you’ll also need to follow some specific UI principles and technical specifications, which can be complex to wade through if you’re new to the business.
- Approval can be time-consuming. Thankfully, the amount of time needed to process and approve new app submissions has been reduced dramatically, to an average of just two days. However, for some apps, approval can turn into a back-and-forth process that takes weeks—and demands many changes from developers.
- Updates require planning. The most successful apps are ones that update frequently, both to add exciting new features and content, and to fix existing bugs and issues; no matter how good your app is, it can always be better. Accordingly, you should plan for the first few rounds of updates long before you launch, and have a general idea of where you want to be 6 to 12 months ahead of your current strategy. Just be careful not to plan too far ahead, since flexibility and adaptability are also crucial.
- The marketing process is necessary (and complex). App marketing is an entirely different field from app development. Just because you’ve developed an awesome, unique, and extensively tested app doesn’t mean it’s going to hit a million downloads when it rolls out. You need to spend time considering the best ways to market it, including how you describe it in the store and how you advertise it.
If you feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure how to begin, don’t give up hope. There’s a lot to learn, but recognizing the core elements you need to learn is the first step toward being successful. Consider talking to a few app development firms, or individual app developers with experience in the industry. They’ll be able to illuminate some of these topics and share some of their experiences with you; the more you learn, the better equipped you’ll be to create an efficient, profitable, and ultimately successful app.
If you are interested in even more app-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.