Mobile usage has dramatically increased over the last decade, and smartphones have completely changed the landscape of the user interface and the behavior of the user. Apps have taken the place of mobile websites, and businesses are recognizing the power that a faster, more user-friendly app can have on their customer retention.
Much like websites, there are now many different tools and pieces of software to help even the most amateur developer create his own smartphone app. Sites like Yappi allow you to use a DIY approach to creating your own app, which can prove useful for individuals, startups or small businesses.
If you are thinking of diving straight in, here are five things that you should think about before pushing your app live to the world.
Audience device research: Is there a demand?
If you already have a website for your business or just a website for which you would like to create an app, make sure you check your Google Analytics data to see if there is a demand for a smartphone app.
Checking the Devices tab in Analytics can tell you whether your users gravitate toward mobile or desktop devices when it comes to using your website. If you see that most of your users are using mobile devices to search through your site, then an app might be a good idea. However, if you see that few people are using a mobile device, then a smartphone app may not be worth the investment.
User interface and efficiency
A smartphone app needs to be sleeker and faster to use than a mobile website. Take the time to research the apps of your competitors and app designs that you admire and that could work for your product, and then start to design the user flow of your app.
Think about what information the user needs to know as soon as they open the app, and plan out how your user will move throughout it. The best way to do this is by creating comprehensive wireframes, either on paper or digitally. These wireframes will be your guide during the building process and will ensure that you design your app with your users in mind.
What will be the cost of the app?
Using a DIY app maker like Yappi will give you a better idea of ROI. With a one-off cost, you will be able to work out accurately how much to charge for your app or if you need to charge for it at all.
You may find that the conversions you make through having an app completely cover the cost of creating and running the app itself, which means you may be able to offer the app for free. This will increase the chance that your users will download your app.
Create a marketing strategy
Once you create your app, you need to get it out into the world. Using the usual tools, including social media and blog announcements, you can put the word out to your current users. However, it will not help draw in new users.
Google advertising can allow you to create PPC ads that are shown only on apps instead of on desktop searches. You can even create PPC ads that show up in Google searches that are done solely on mobile devices, making it more convenient for people to download your app instantly to their phones.
What devices will your app be available on? Android vs. iPhone
There are two main app stores on which your mobile app can be featured: the Android store and the Apple store. With the sales of both Android and Apple starting to level out, it is worth looking into putting your app on both.
If you had rather choose one or the other, you can find out what type of mobile device your users primarily use by heading to Google Analytics. This will give you a better idea of whether the bulk of your users are using Android or Apple smartphones.
Investing in a smartphone app is something any business owner should consider. Although mobile responsive web pages work well, they will never be as quick and easy to use as an app downloaded directly to your phone. Not only are smartphone apps quicker to use, but by branding correctly, you will also be able to increase brand awareness and user loyalty.