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9 Things You Should Know About Building an App From Scratch

Are you planning on building an app from scratch? Here’s everything you should know about getting started so you can build a successful app.

70% of sales are influenced by how well your customers are treated. For this reason, marketers are choosing to create their own apps to enhance their customer’s experience.

Apps are no longer just for gaming and social media updates. With new technology, app development budgets have come down by the thousands. The lower barrier of entry means that small businesses and startups have a chance to get in the game.

Keep reading to discover 9 tips on building an app from scratch.

1. Clarify Your Goals and Target Market

The first step to any great endeavor is to gain clarity on your vision. Having a clear view of the reason you are building an app will inform later decisions. 

Apps are used to improve the customer experience. As a result, it improves business. For example, an app can make repetitive tasks more accessible. To know how your app can best help, you’ll have to collect some data on customer behavior.

There are many ways to find out what your target market/customers need. One way is a good old fashioned survey. Ask detailed questions about things they like and why they chose to use a service.

Social media is a great tool to collect information based on the conversation people have. You find an unfiltered audience sharing their likes and dislikes about a product.

Your website is also a good indicator of where an app might help. What are the most performed tasks on your site? How can you use this to improve customer experience?

Use these methods to perform competitor research also. Knowing why people chose one company over the other will help you repeat the more successful actions with your app.  

2. App Functionality and Features

Make a list of what your app will offer to meet your purpose. Do your customer’s need an easy way to schedule appointments? Do you want to make reordering easy for your vendors? Add it all to your features list. 

If your app is going to be monetized, now is a good time to write down how. This stage of the app development is not set in stone. You may find that some features don’t make it through the testing rounds.

That’s part of the process. Keep calm, carry on.

3. The Wireframe

A wireframe is a visual representation of your app. It takes your features list a step further. It is comparable to a storyboard for a cartoon.

There are two methods to achieve this.

The first method is simply sketching the feature in a logical order with a pen and pad. The second method is to use an online program.

Your wireframe design should consider the intuitive flow of the app. This will determine how easy the app is for users. If it’s too difficult users will not hesitate to delete the app from their device.

4. Test, Test, Test, and Test Again

A/B testing occurs when two groups of people receive two versions of the same app. From here you can determine the features that work the best and which hinder the user experience.

Testing is how to create an app that is successful. If you aren’t performing tests, building an app becomes guesswork. Guessing at what your audience’s needs will result in the loss of valuable time and money.

5. Marketing Strategy

How will you inform people of your new app once it’s done? The marketing strategy is just as important as the app development process. You should be prepared to put in equal efforts to get your app out there.

Apps get buried under hundreds of others in the same category. This is where app store optimization comes(ASO) in. There are many different methods of ASO.

Some of them include:

  • Using a keyword in your title and app name
  • Choose a short app name that is 23 characters or less
  • Keep the app description to the point and include keywords
  • Don’t forget to optimize for local
  • Reply to negative reviews quickly
  • Boost your download rate with screenshots and a short video

6. To Code or Not to Code

When apps first appeared, no one could break into the market without a serious developer budget behind them. Unless you knew how to code, certain apps would just not be worth the $10k+ cost. Luckily you live in an ever-changing time where you can have a fully-functioning app in a matter of minutes.

App building services like Buildfire allow you to create an app for around $100. This is by and far less than you would spend on traditional app development. The addition of plugins and developer services let you completely customize your app.

Ultimately, the decision to use a service boils down to your budget and what you want to accomplish with your app.

Highly technical apps and gaming apps will usually require more custom work.

7. Monetization Options

If your app is only a value-adding part of your business, monetization may not be a concern. For all others, here are some popular methods of app monetization:

  • Advertisements – This allows you to offer your app for free or at a low cost to your user.
  • Freemium – Your users can use the limited functions of the app. Advanced features are locked behind paid areas.
  • In-app purchases – This is a model of the freemium. Users have the option to upgrade features of the app.
  • Paid – A paid app allows you to offer advanced knowledge and features without sacrificing space and user experience for ads.

8. Native, Webapp, Hybrid

A native app is built exclusively to function on devices and have the highest budgets. Webapps have the lowest barrier to entry but require the internet. They are also not available through the app store. A hybrid model is the best of both worlds.

Choosing the platform for your app is integral to the process. It’ll inform your budget and your user’s value.

9. The Risks of Building an App from Scratch

Building a mobile app is exciting and stressful in equal measure. It can add value to your organization or it can land you with no return on your investment. It is a business decision that requires proper research and validation of your ideas.

Just like a business decision, it won’t succeed simply because you thought of it. If you are building an app from scratch, know what your purpose is. This will guide you through the tough parts of the project.

Developing Your App

When you’ve validated your initial idea through research and feedback, keep testing the prototypes along the way. It will be invaluable to the end result. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board if something doesn’t fit.

Building an app from scratch will require planning and replanning every step of the way.

Click here to discover how to get started with coding.

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