As apps become more popular, it becomes all the more critical to get an app as soon as possible to help create a loyal and informed consumer base.
Any business worth its salt has a website these days, but not as many businesses have mobile apps. It is easy to understand why, as many small business owners do not believe that an app is that much better than a website or lack the technological know-how to create an app.
But mobile apps have been superior to websites for some time now. A 2014 survey showed that mobile users spend 86 percent of their time on apps compared to 14 percent for websites, and apps have only improved since then. Mobile apps load faster, can more easily capture an audience, can work offline, and are generally more secure than websites.
If a business has the resources, they should prioritize apps over websites. And that “if” is not nearly as large as many businesses think it is. You no longer need to be some elite programmer in order to have a viable business app. But you do need some understanding of the app creation process and willingness to work and spend.
Although you no longer have to be some tech genius to create an app, knowing how to code can never hurt. Remember that your first business app is for all intents and purposes a prototype which you will edit a great deal before you push it out. As long as it offers the bare essentials to your customers at first, that is fine.
Online coding classes, such as Codecademy, are a good first step. But depending on where you live, you may be able to find local coding classes. In addition to learning to code yourself, those classes can be a great place to find individuals eager for a job and to make a good first impression with their new coding skills while working for little.
Even if you choose to not build your app instead and hire outside help as will be discussed below, learning how to code can be still useful. You can understand what your outside team is doing and offer clearer directions about what you want your business app to do. Just don’t be that person who takes one or two classes on a subject and thinks he has become some great expert.
If your business does not have the time but does have extra cash, you could consider hiring an external team to build the app for you. However, this is not cheap. Building a normal app can cost up to $55,000 for Android or $10,000 for Apple devices, and that does not count programming other features such as in-app purchase capabilities. On that note, while you may want to build an app which can work on multiple platforms, it is far better to focus on either Android or Apple and expand to the other after your app has built a reputation for itself. Which platform is better depends on your user base.
Odds are your business does not have $50,000 just lying around and relying on an outside marketing company and development team can bring conflict. As an alternative, you could consider bringing in a developer as a partner to handle building apps and the technological side of your business while you focus on operations. By keeping everything in-house, this reduces the chances of any misunderstandings.
DIY App Builders
Hiring an outside team can be expensive and lead to friction, while learning how to code yourself can be challenging and tiresome. A third alternative is to look for a DIY app builder. There are a lot of these out on the Internet, and Business News Daily has a list of good choices depending on what you want.
Instead of having to dealing with coding and the inevitable bugs and mistakes, most app builders rely on more intuitive drag and drop programming. The catch is that as app builders rely entirely on pre-programmed software, your business can essentially only rely on standard templates for your app and creativity is practically impossible. Your app will be no better than the millions of other apps out on the Apple Store or Android market and will require extensive testing before it finds the correct market.
What approach your business uses to create a mobile app depends on your circumstances and goals in building said app. If your business already has a solid clientele and you wish to create something reliable and generally bug-free, an app builder may be your best bet. If you are looking for something more creative, then relying on an outside team or constructing an app from scratch will be better.
But even a rudimentary mobile app can do a lot for your business in ensuring growing interest and a captive audience. As apps become more popular, it becomes all the more critical to get an app as soon as possible to help create a loyal and informed consumer base.