Having put out a handful of apps in the past, people often ask me how they too can create an app of their own. This is what I have to share.
Is There A Real And Significant Need?
This is the critical question before you journey down the path to creating an app. If you want a mobile app to compliment your existing business, tread carefully.
Do you want the app because it sounds like a great idea and it makes you look like you are a progressive company? Then you are probably much better off without it.
If customers request it often and it could be of real use to them, that could be worth pursuing. Focus on the customer’s or user benefits. Diet, fitness and travel apps are really the perfect examples.
If you just want a way for people to check the progress of an order or something similar, then you may not need an app. You want to make your existing website mobile friendly? It’s not that hard and a lot cheaper than building an entire app.
What Kind of App Are We Talking About?
For most people, apps are the applications you install on your mobile devices. For some people, they mean a web-based software. For others, it means applications you download and install on your computer.
Mobile apps are the ones you install on mobile devices. You can even get clearer if you say iOS apps to describe apps for Apple devices and Android apps for Android devices.
SaaS or “Software as a Service” is web-based apps. This is where people create an account on your site and your site will perform some task or function for them. Some examples are Canva and Webinar Ninja.
Desktop apps are, well, the ones we have been used to for years. This all sounds dry. I understand, but if you’re hiring out, you want to get the description right in order to hire the right developer. Each is a different beast of its own and developers who are proficient in all are rare.
Apps Are For The Long Term
Unlike creating a website, apps are expensive to build and expensive to maintain. While websites can cost a pretty penny, you can find plenty of affordable web developers. There are fewer app developers out there and the technology is a bit more involved.
Beyond that, once you release an app, technically, you are a software owner. That means you need to maintain it. This includes content updates, technical upgrades, security updates and all the good stuff that goes into being a software owner. It’s a full-time job because technology changes rapidly. You also have to do all this even when only a few people are using it.
Also, consider that app users are not the same as website visitors. App users have a lot more at stake because they spend time downloading, installing, creating accounts and setting up their profiles. Sure, you can
always explain why you are abandoning an app, but this usually makes them unhappy and leaves a bad impression.
The bottom line—know exactly how your app will benefit customers and profit the company. Know precisely what you want to build. Be willing to invest in it for the long term. If you can check all of these off, then your app will be a valuable part of your business.