App Maker & Development Solutions

by Mona BushnellLast Modified: January 12, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Reviews
State of the Industry
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
Choosing the Best App Maker Software
What You See Is What You Get
What We Tested, What We Found
Map
Services

The Best App Maker & Development Solutions For 2018

There are two primary routes SMB owners can take when they set out to create custom apps. They can either purchase a subscription to app software that allows no-code, template-style app design and quick deployment, or hire an app creation service for a truly custom design. To address the needs of both groups of business shoppers, we tested both types of services and selected the best performers. Under the umbrella of app software, we chose two companies for two different use cases. Appy Pie won our pick for Best App Software for Quick Creation because it's easy to use, affordable, reliable and fast. For beginners and businesspeople who want a fast and inexpensive option that still looks great, Appy Pie is our recommendation. iBuild App, while slightly less user-friendly, deserves a mention due to the sheer variety of features and outstanding Company package, which includes the ability to create secure internal apps, so we named it the Best App Software for Companies With Premium Needs. For business owners who want to go the fully custom route and avoid using templates, we identified two excellent companies with different scopes of service. We named Konstant Infosolutions the Best App Creation Service for Startups and SMBs, and Intellectsoft the Best App Creation Service for Enterprise Companies. Both companies technically serve SMBs, but Intellectsoft's broad range of services (many outside the realm of app creation) make it an ideal fit for enterprises, while Konstant Infosolutions' focus on app development is better suited to SMBs. 

Best Picks

Fastest App Creation
Best for Premium Needs
Best for Small Business
Best for Enterprise
Appy Pie

Best App Software for Quick Creation

Appy Pie

If budget and time are your two primary concerns for creating a custom business app, Appy Pie is an excellent choice. This affordable web software allows you to create a free custom app with a drag-and-drop interface that's blissfully simple to use. For users who require additional features, like an ad-free experience, better distribution and support for additional platforms, Appy Pie offers a tiered subscription plan. Basic service starts at $15 per month per app, the Gold plan is $30 per month per app, and the Platinum plan (which offers white label customization) costs $50 per month per app.

Despite Appy Pie's approachable design, it doesn't skimp on features. Templates are arranged according to category (there are 32 in all), and in each category, there are 12 themed templates to choose from, for a total of 384 templates. Appy Pie does an excellent job of providing templates for a wide range of businesses, so only users with extremely specific branding requirements need opt for the Premium subscription level.

iBuildApp

Best App Software for Companies With Premium Needs

iBuildApp

If your business requires internal apps for employee use in addition to client-facing apps, iBuild App will get the job done. While not quite as easy to use as Appy Pie, it has premium features the competition doesn't offer.

For basic app creation, you may opt for the Professional plan ($23.40 per month, billed annually), which allows up to 500 app downloads, or the Business version ($59.40 per month, billed annually) for unlimited downloads, but it's really the Company level ($395 per month, billed annually) where iBuild App shines. The Company subscription gives you the ability to create upward of 10 apps as well as access to additional support like help with the app setup process, additional app content security, automatic backup and restore, and admin-level user management. These features aren't essential for all businesses, but for those with employees at varying levels, admin user management is a major benefit.

Konstant Infosolutions

Best App Creation Service for Startups and Small Businesses

Konstant Infosolutions

If you run an established small or midsize business and require a custom mobile app that aligns with your goals, a partnership with Konstant Infosolutions may be the right move for you. The team at Konstant Infosolutions has experience working with a wide variety of business types, including ecommerce, travel, real estate, event hosting and media. As such, it understands the technical and nontechnical needs of niche business owners.

Unlike some other app creation services that focus solely on enterprise-level businesses, Konstant Infosolutions can tailor its development options to companies of all sizes. However, as with any custom service, you will have to request a price quote to get an idea of how much you'll have to spend based on your needs. Konstant Infosolutions offers single- and cross-platform app development, as well as bundled deals for clients who want it to design a standard website in addition to a mobile app, which is something to keep in mind when you submit your price request.

IntellectSoft

Best App Creation Service for Enterprise Companies

IntellectSoft

While Intellectsoft will design apps for SMBs and does have a startup program, this service is best suited to businesses at the enterprise level that require a laundry list of services, specialties and customization options. Few other companies offer the dazzling array of features that Intellectsoft does, and certainly not at the same level of competence, which is why we selected it as the best choice for this use case.

Intellectsoft employs top-notch designers and developers who offer a lot more than just app creation services. This is a one-stop shop for all things corporate, like comprehensive mobile suites, website design, portal creation, custom CRM software, online billing solutions (including real-time billing), advanced analytics, custom blockchain solutions, cloud computing and fintech solutions.
There is a serious advantage to partnering with a company that offers so much and employs over 200 developers worldwide. For large businesses that need myriad tech solutions, maintaining contact with one company for several services is simpler than outsourcing different development tasks to different companies. Plus, it is easier to maintain consistency and security standards between legacy software and mobile apps and company websites when you can manage everything through one source.

Reviews

Check out our full list of reviews of app maker software and services.

State of the Industry

The app software industry is relatively young, but it is robust and varied. Thanks to an influx of companies that offer template-style, drag-and-drop app design, even independent contractors and owners of microbusinesses can create custom branded mobile apps and responsive websites. Larger businesses with more resources also use such services, but many opt for hiring development firms instead, which is significantly more expensive (in the thousands versus as low as $15 a month). Despite the increase in affordable online app building tools, custom app creation companies are still thriving. This is likely because the business consumers who take advantage of low-cost template app builders would not have opted for custom development if those inexpensive app builders didn't exist. For many SMBs, a custom app created by a team of highly skilled developers is simply too expensive and time-consuming to consider. That said, while clients with modest needs are best served by no-code software options, businesses with significant security concerns, the need for complex suites of apps, advanced administrative controls, advanced analytics and even consulting services are better off sticking to a development firm. Another reason some business owners opt for a custom developer is the constantly changing guidelines for admission to app stores, especially the Apple App Store. Regardless of whether you choose a custom build or a template design, it's good to find out how the company you're working with stays in compliance with app store guidelines, because the best app in the world won't be effective if no one can download it. Companies like Apple and Google wield tremendous power, and they are free to create any guidelines they want. In fact, even a simple revision in the way something is worded can cause huge waves across the entire app creation, so it's vital to work with a company that is constantly assessing new guidelines as they are added and changing its approach to increase the odds of app store acceptance. You may also want to ask app creation companies how the actual application process will be handled (will they do it, or do you have to?) and what, if any, guarantees they can make.

Pricing

App creation can be very inexpensive with a template service. Many no-code app builders offer free trials or free versions, and nearly all offer a money-back guarantee during a certain span of time (for paid subscription levels). In general, the more you pay for service, the more features become available. Here's a basic price range and what you can expect to get.

  • No cost to $15 a month: Template-built apps are available for $15 a month or less. Subscriptions at this price level will often rid your app of advertisements and allow compatibility on one OS platform.  
  • $30 a month: This is the minimum subscription level we recommend for most SMBs. At around the $30 monthly price range, most app software companies offer cross-platform designs that run on Android and iOS, an ad-free experience, and decent app distribution.
  • $50 to $150 a month: Most software app companies have an upper tier that falls within this range. Such subscription levels typically include full cross-platform designs that can run on any OS (including on Amazon devices), access to all major app stores, additional editing capabilities and add-on features.
  • More than $150 a month: Only a few app software companies offer app subscriptions at this service level, but those that do offer robust packages that often include features like the ability to create internal and external apps, manage multiple apps in one place, access advanced admin controls, and additional security features, and privately distribute corporate apps. While these price ranges are relatively consistent across different app software providers, it is not realistic to provide a similar range of prices for custom app creation services. The best bet for custom app creation is to request a price quote.

Negotiation Tips

Negotiation tips are not required for entrepreneurs who choose the app software route, but for those who go fully custom, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Request price quotes from a minimum of three different app creation companies.
  • Before you request any price quotes, create a comprehensive list of features you want your app to have. Be sure to include details like which platforms it needs to work on and any other programs or apps it needs to integrate with.
  • If your business has any unusual requirements, like specific security needs or apps that work together in a suite, include that information when you request a price quote.

As you go through the collaborative design process, it is likely the developers will bring up additional features that may be advantageous. One great tip, especially if you're not an app expert, is to ask the developer, "If we don't build this feature in now, how difficult will it be to add it later?" In many cases, designers and developers are simply offering you every option they have, many of which can be incorporated later if you require additional functionality in the future. This technique can help you avoid getting too many features (that you don't need) too soon and then overpaying for your end product.

Choosing the Best App Maker Software

When deciding which software program will help you build the best app, pay attention to four areas: content creation, distribution, customer engagement, and help and support.

Content Creation
The first thing you'll interact with is the software's interface. The "best" interface is a matter of personal preference – the templates and layouts you respond most positively to are going to influence which app software you choose. Some interfaces are clean and simple, while others are packed with features. Most are drag and drop, but some are not.

It is important to pick an interface that feels right to you so you don't feel overwhelmed by all of the software's features or become frustrated by a lack of tools. All of the applications on our top 10 list offer a free trial, so you can test the software to see if it delivers what you're looking for.

Customization is also important. Most app generators pride themselves on being usable by everyone, even if you don't have any programming experience whatsoever. All of the programs on our list are pretty easy to understand and a novice with no past coding experience can build a decent app. However, if you have programming experience or specific imaging needs, you may want an app builder that allows you to input and manipulate code.

Distribution, Specifically OS Compatibility
Making sure that the app creator you choose has the ability to generate cross-platform iterations is key. This means that you design the app and the software translates it for iOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows platforms.

Now that app culture has become more mainstream, app-building programs recognize that it's far easier to design one app and translate it into multiple operating systems rather than write a different app for each type of operating system. However, you should still verify compatibility when selecting an app builder.

Most of the mobile app builders on our lineup are compatible with iPhones and Android phones but may not be for Windows or Blackberry devices. Based on recent data from the International Data Corporation, Android and Apple devices make up a combined 96.3 percent of the smartphone market. Windows Phones only comprise 2.7 percent of the market, so while it isn't crucial for an app builder to be compatible with that particular platform, you also don't want to exclude potential customers.

Engaging Your Consumers
The end goal of creating an app, of course, is to get it into the hands of consumers who will download it and consistently use it. That difficult job is still the responsibility of the app creator to keep the app relevant and make it a permanent fixture on someone's phone or tablet.

If you utilize more than a landing page, an RSS feed will be your best friend. Content that you publish on your desktop site is transferred directly to your app. Push notifications should be expected, so these app-designing programs have focused on more efficient means of reaching an audience.

Push notifications are now geotargeting marketing tools. Based on your app analytics, you can send notifications to people in a certain region or to a particular operating system. The market has advanced so quickly that geotargeting is commonplace in the app industry. It's all part of helping you find the most receptive audience.

Help & Support
When learning how to use app creation software, the service's help and support options play a significant role. We found that each program offered an extensive knowledgebase with tutorials, frequently asked questions and online manuals.

Most of the companies also list an email and phone number to contact the technical support team. Some of the services even featured live chat options that put us in direct contact with a technical support agent.

What You See Is What You Get in App Design

One of the scariest things about designing an app yourself is coding: Do you need to know how to code or is it best to hire a professional to design your app for you? With app-making software, though, the process is relatively simple.

Each program allows you to input content with ease using the program's content management system. Further, most of the app makers allow you to create or edit the program's code to customize it to your company (which isn't necessarily a bad thing; instead, it's a convenience intended for prospective app builders who have some coding experience and want more functionality with the software).

Rather than input strings of code, most app making software provides you with a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) approach. This means that every change you make to your app through the software's dashboard, whether it's adding images or uploading content, shows up in real time on the respective app preview screen (which is typically on the side of the screen). All of the HTML coding happens behind the scenes.

These companies don't want to confuse novice app creators. Instead, the process of building each page for your app typically consists of dragging and dropping icons or elements from the dashboard into the app preview page.

Next, we focused on the tools that made it possible to create an app quickly. In terms of customization, we checked whether there were multiple layouts you can use to design your app as well as if you have the option of creating your app from scratch. We evaluated the themes and graphics in each program plus whether we could (and, if so, how easy it was to) add our own custom logo.

We also checked whether the program offered a walk-through or an app creation wizard that guides a new user – especially a novice – through the program and instructs them how to use it.

If the thought of dozens of design tools is overwhelming, don't worry. We sought out software that does most of the behind-the-scenes work for you, especially with assisting you with submitting your app to Apple's App Store and Google Play and helping you creating a page about your app.

Once your app is widely available, you'll want to stay up to date on its popularity and find out who your main customer demographic is that's downloading your app. All of the software programs on our list offer analytics, though it varies by each service.

Some software offers its own proprietary analytics, while others integrate with Google Analytics, like Appery.io and Appy Pie. While both options effectively alert you to who is using your site, we found that the programs that offer both provide more in-depth analysis.

App Maker Software: What We Tested, What We Found

We focused on the advanced plans offered by each of the app makers on our list because, first, we wanted to compare software that provided a similar feature set. Second, some of the app-building companies offer basic plans for a very low cost, but once you create the app, you can't market it. Therefore, an additional reason why we tested the next plan up from the basic one is that these plans typically offered more tools that allowed us to create, distribute and market our apps.

In order to determine our score for each app builder, we considered what each builder did best. Every app design program has its own unique feature that caters to certain industries. Within each software review, we relate our experience for each app builder and what consumers can expect when creating an app with it.

Creating an App: Customization, Tools, No Maintenance Needed

Our testing involved creating a home screen for a small business. We tested the customization of each app builder by checking whether it offered any industry-specific themes. We also checked to see whether you could add images and logos to your app.

Not every software we tested provides a high level of customization. Of the 10 programs on our lineup, seven app makers allow you to upload your own logo without paying extra fees.

Once we chose the visuals, we created an application version of our website with an emphasis on quick links for contact information, social media pages and coupons.

Our first test involved creating an app that was largely static. For our second test, we scrutinized the tools each app maker offers that lets you add new content to your app so you don't have to manually insert it.

One specific button, typically named Website, allows the person building the app to input a site they own by placing the URL into a hyperlink box. This allows your app's users to access your mobile site without ever leaving the app. Not all of the app builders on our list have this feature but of those that did, we tested it, entering our own URL into each program.What we found is that most, but not all, apps automatically update content in the app as you make changes on the actual domain. We were impressed with the lack of constant maintenance needed, something that you, as a business owner, will appreciate too.

Map

GoodBarber
175 Varick Street
New York, NY
GoodBarber
ShoutEm
134 N 4th St
New York, NY
ShoutEm
Konstant Infosolutions
A-23, Swej Farm, Opposite Park, Reliance Fresh Lane, New Sanganer Road
Jaipur,
Konstant Infosolutions
PhDLabs
9281 Research Dr
Irvine, CA
PhDLabs
IntellectSoft
721 Colorado Ave
Palo Alto, CA
IntellectSoft
Small Planet
12 Elliott Street
Cambridge, MA
Small Planet
Social Cubix
1875 K St NW
Washington, DC
Social Cubix
SourceBits
1540 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
SourceBits
Openxcell
202-203 Baleshwar Ave
Ahmedabad,
Openxcell
TechAhead
Green Boulevard, Plot No.B-9/A,
Noida,
TechAhead
MobiSoft
1811 Bering Dr
Houston, TX
MobiSoft
Mokriya
2001 Gateway Place
San Jose, CA
Mokriya
Appy Pie
340 Lemon Ave
Walnut, CA
Appy Pie
iBuildApp
491B River Valley Road
Valley Point,
iBuildApp
Bizness Apps
7590 Fay Avenue
La Jolla, CA
Bizness Apps
AppMachine
1500 N Priest Drive
Tempe, AZ
AppMachine
Appery.io
1340 Treat Blvd
Walnut Creek, CA
Appery.io
AppMakr
11 Diamond Court
Glen Rock, NJ
AppMakr
BuildFire
2159 India Street
San Diego, CA
BuildFire

Services

List of 20App Maker & Development Solutions

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