Whether you’re interested in creating an app to supplement an already established business or if you’re trying to make the next viral app store sensation, there are some things you need to know before taking on the task of building an app.

Do Your Homework

Look for apps similar to the one you’re developing and read all the customer reviews. Figure out what worked and what didn’t. Download the app and use it yourself. What works well? What can you improve on? What makes your idea unique and better than the competition?

How Much Will It Cost to Develop?

Building an app isn’t cheap. In fact, unless you have the skills to design and program it yourself, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. There’s a lot more involved in app design than you might initially think. There are some features you need to consider:

  •        Do you want your app to tie into social media platforms?
  •        Do users create a unique profile and log in?
  •        Do you want something that looks basic and simple or something that looks like it was designed specifically for you and your needs?
  •        Do you want it for iPhones and Android?
  •        Are you charging people upfront or will you have in-app purchases?
  •        Do you need to connect the app to a website?
  •        Do you also need an eye-catching icon designed?

Your app can be basic or it can blow people away. The more features and the better it looks, the more it will end up costing. If you’re serious about your idea, you know you need to make your app look appealing and work perfectly in order for it to really take off. In this sense, it’s worth investing more to use professional designers and developers.

There are some ways you can offset the upfront cost. You can offer your designers some equity in your app so that they’ll get paid a part of your profits. This can greatly reduce your upfront costs, but is usually only attractive if your idea is strong and they’re confident you’ll profit. Crowdfunding is an option, too, but, again, will only be as successful as your idea is strong.

How Do I Make a Profit?

You’ll have to decide how you’re going to charge people. Are you going to charge an upfront fee for your app? Or is your app going to be free and your profit dependent on in-app purchases?

If you’re planning to charge up front, keep in mind that the app store you’re using will take fees for each download. You’ll also need to make sure your price point is reasonable. It’s probably better to start a little higher then come down if you need to because it’s always easier to lower prices than to raise them.

If you’re going to rely on advertising or in-app purchases for revenue, your app will be free. But you’ll have to work hard at keeping users engaged enough to buy extra things in the app and stick around to see the advertisements.

Icons and Descriptions

Make sure you have an amazing icon. This is often the very first thing that attracts people to your app. It should be interesting and eye catching and easily convey what your app is all about.

The descriptive text is important, too. Since this is the first way potential customers are going to learn what your app is about, make sure you are clear about what your app does and why it’s the best. Keep in mind that only the first few lines of text are initially displayed. Make sure these are attention grabbing and will entice people to click to read more.

Promotion

If you know any tech writers, contact them to see if they’d be willing to write a feature on your app. Or, reach out to tech writers via email and see if there’s any interest. Don’t be pushy or aggressive, but try to put yourself out there a little. The truth is, if your app and idea are unique and interesting, someone will probably want to write about it.

Also, don’t forget to use social media and any avenue available on the internet to do self-promotion. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all offer advertising for a small fee. You can also utilize YouTube to make a short information video about what your app is and why it stands out.

Keep At It

Developing an app is a long process that might be a little more involved than you had anticipated. If you have the means to pursue your idea, keep in mind that it can take a long time to get from idea to development to success. But if you have a once in a lifetime idea and you pursue it, you could just be the next big thing.