How to Create Mobile Apps

smart-phoneAt a recent networking event with the Glen Eira City Council, a question was asked about how to create mobile apps and how much they cost. As I have a friend who creates and markets apps for a living I said the cost was about $99. But the answer really is more complex than that and so is the cost.

What does an App Cost?

The cost of developing an app really depends on what functionality you want the app to have. For example, if you want an app developed as a vehicle to highlight specials and promotions then that is a totally different ball game.

For a start, iTunes do not accept marketing related apps for the iPhone – according to my friend who creates mobile apps for iTunes, Apple have become very picky lately in accepting apps into iTunes.

How to Promote The App?

This means that if you want an app developed for this purpose, you will either need to promote it on your website or have an app for the android phone developed. Don’t expect that iTunes will include it in their directory unless you have developed an App that provides valuable information e.g. family friendly recipes, live footy scores , running programs etc.

You will also need to specify that you want the app to have the ability to do “push notifications” (this means sending notifications to the user). Having this type of functionality will also cost a lot more to develop than the $99 I quoted earlier.

Here are some Questions To Ask Before you Get An App made

  • Who is your target market?
  • Do they use iPhones or Android phones?
  • Do you want an app for an iphone, for android or for both.
  • Ask yourself what benefit the app will provide your customers
  • Is it something you would value or download yourself?
  • If not, how will you provide value?
  • Does this fit with your business strategy and goals? Are there other tools out there that can do a better job?
  • What is the problem you want the app to solve? Is there a better solution?

Maybe you aren’t sure yet but still want to explore having a mobile app made. Before you do, make sure you do some homework

Tips On Mobile App Development

Check out your competitors and see what they are doing. Is there something that they offer that you think could be improved upon? Can you develop something that adds even more value?

Maybe your competitor is not on iTunes? It might be an overlooked opportunity, but sometimes this is not the case. It might just be because it is not financially viable.

Why not go to iTunes and see what are the top downloaded apps in similar categories to you. What are the most popular apps? Is there something you can learn from the success of those apps that you can use to develop your own application.  If not, I would exercise some caution.

Decision Time

Sometimes after going down this path you might decide against having a mobile app created. You may even find you get more traction by having a version of your website that is optimised for mobile search. You could also use your Google Places listing to include coupons or promote your business. Sometimes, the answer is not always obvious.

However, if you have decided to get one created you can go to AppsGeyser for Android phones or AppMakr for iPhones to have it developed. You could also commission a mobile application developer that makes apps for both iPhones & Android such as Appswiz. Otherwise you could outsource this to a programmer / developer. Be warned, if you do this yourself you will need to write up a brief that specifies everything you want, how you want it to function and ensure proper user acceptance testing agreements are in place before you sign the contract to have your app developed.

Want to Know More

You can check out this post on Mashable about Mobile apps which was published about the same time I was writing this post.

If after reading this, you are unsure whether to proceed with exploring mobile apps but know you need help marketing your business then feel free to contact us.