A mobile app has become less of a novelty for business, much in the same way websites are now a necessity for their brand identity. But what if fully functional and multi-feature app just isn’t in the budget right now for a bootstrapping startup? Luckily, there are a slew of do-it-yourself mobile app-creation platforms online – some of them can even be used at no cost.
Arthur Policarpio, CEO of mobile marketing agency Mobext Philippines, sheds some insight on whether the savings of making your app solo are truly worth it.
What can entrepreneurs expect from using a DIY app service online? How much can you really do with them?
Mobile app development is a huge investment that can cost thousdans and even millions. But the great thing with mobile is that you can start small and DIY app builders online can help you achieve that.
There are app builders that create basic apps for free, but the app-creation services come with certain terms and conditions. For example, you may have to carry their ads and you may not be allowed to monetize on your app. This means you cannot run ads on your own app and you will have to make the app free for download
Getting the paid version of these app builders can remove the ads and let you have full control of your app. For certain amount, and depending on the DIY app builder, you will have access to an array of additional features like in-app purchases, menu navigation, and so on.
What should entrepreneurs look for in a DIY app builder, since there are so many now out on the market?
Different DIY online app builders cater to different needs so decide on what will best suit your app’s purpose. Are you focused on content? Do you want to create a gaming app? Are you launching an app for your loyalty program?
Answer these questions and then asses your own technical skills. While there are DIY app builders that are user-friendly even for those who cannot code, there may be additional features that only those with the know-how can take advantage of.
Under what cirfumstances should entrepreneurs hire a profesional instad of opting to DIY their apps?
A professional developer’s services may come at high cost, but this is worth considering if you do not have a good developer in your team. Training your staff in app creation can demand a huge percentage of a company’s resources. On the other hands, a professional app developer will just have to study a client’s business objectives for the app.
DIY business app builders are a good start, but you’ll still have to iterate and update [your app] based on factors like analytics, changing demographics, marketing trends, competition and so on. Things can happen very fast when you’re on mobile and business need to adapt quickly.
What are the things entrepreneurs should avoid when trying to develop an app for their business?
Avoid cluttering your app with too many uses and features. Determine what you are trying to achieve and limit your app’s objectives to one or two.
Also, don’t think about branding; think about utility first. For instance, you won’t see Nike’s brand plastered all over their Nike+ Training Club App, but since lots of people found it useful, the app us huge success.
Utility is very important. To help you get started, Larry Page has what is called the Google Toothbrush Test: When evaluating a product, he simply asks these two questions: “Will I use this every day?” and “Will it improve my life?” Aim for single-mindness when it comes to mobile apps. The best apps focus on one or two uses. For instance, you have the regular Facebook mobil app and you have the separate Facebook Messenger app for messages.