Could you… just create me an app? How to start with your app idea
As someone who deals “with computers” and apps, we are often asked: could you just create me an app?
Developing a mobile application isn’t a big deal anymore. To name it, developing just costs money. Real money.
And (!) an app is not developed within an hour or a single day!
Development costs (estimate)
One hour of development costs around 80-100€ per hour in Central Europe. Around 30-60€ in Eastern Europe.
A simple app requires approximately the following tasks:
- Project set up – 1 day
- GUI and UI elements – 1 day
- Implementation of the logic – 2 days
- Q&A and testing – 1 day
- Creating app store assets (texts, data policy (template), screenshots, small website) – 2 days
- Release and publishing – 1 day
In total: 8 days, 8 hours each development day results in about 64*[add your hourly rate] €.
This example is for a small and easy app only. An app with a user interface (UI), some basic functions. Without complicated user management, backend storage or processing, data integration, artificial intelligence, or similar.
There are many options to develop an app. Many mobile UI frameworks allow to quickly – but not highly individual – implement app interfaces.
Build services assist you to create hybrid apps. And even the release process is not a big science anymore.
What do you mean by UI? What by the release process? Is there more to do than just to shake an app out of nowhere?
Your app concept
Well, to begin with, first of all, you require somehow a concept for your app. A scribble on a napkin is not enough!
Best case it includes mock-ups, user stories, and other descriptions for your app.
List the required features such as:
- Sharing options
- In-app messaging
- Security features
- Texts/ content
- In-app language(s)
What should your app basically do?
Second, you should be certain about the purpose of your app. If you don’t invent something completely new, what are you doing differently or better than your competitors? Is there a market for your idea?
The market and your vision
Speaking of competitors. Have you checked the market in detail? Are there similar apps? How do they perform? How do they address the market and their customers? Have you already defined the potential customers? And how is the potential?
You need a plan – how to bring your app to success. Of course, define success for you. Millions of users and downloads? Recurring users, building a fan base? ROI? Making your living?
A structured concept and marketing plan is the key.
Where you should start?
To give some ideas and plans you should follow:
- Define the purpose of your app
- Define your vision
- Name your market
- Define your customers
- Name your competitors
- Define your budget
- Specify your goals
- Create a marketing plan and a marketing strategy
- Stick to the rules and the store’s policies
- Learn all about App Store Optimization (ASO)
- After all the points above (!) hire trustful developers (in case you are not familiar with software development)
Spread your word
Build your audience as early as possible. A common mistake is to develop an app, release it and wait for something to happen. This is not how it works. It is very unlikely that your app will be a huge success if no one ever had heard of it before.
Start to share your ideas as early as possible. Share and challenge the basic ideas. If you can’t convince others of your idea early, it won’t be easier after you have released your app. Worst case – you lost your investments (time and money).
Create your first material and scribble your vision. Create some mock-ups and drafts and challenge your idea on platforms like:
Establish social media channels and create corresponding profiles. Share your ideas and respect any feedback.
If you grow your followers early, you will have an interested and awaiting audience then your app launches.
It will not help to rely on the social contact you already have. They are most likely connected to you for other reasons.
You won’t be able to transform your existing Facebook friends to users of your new app.
Your role in your app project
Before you start to implement your app, be sure about your role in all of this.
Are you the developer? The product owner? Are you responsible for marketing and distribution? Tester? Designer? Be honest about what you can contribute and stick to your role. Have your goals, timetable, budget, and your vision in mind.
If you decide to be the developer of your app on your own, there are plenty of good sources, templates, and tutorials out there. Some for free, many of them paid.
Whatever role you choose for yourself, you will require the following:
- Developer accounts (Google and Apple)
- Mac Hardware
- Android and Apple phone
- Data Policy
- App descriptions, short, long, title, keywords
- App icon
- Contact information
- Support for your app
- Source repository
There will be no app release without the above listed topics
And now? Summary
If you get to know the app market, there are plenty of options to go with. You can buy complete, ready-made apps such as clones from popular apps for a few bucks. In the right groups, you find an offer for an Instagram clone for about 40$. That sounds interesting? Sure, but are you certain, you can find users to install and download your clone?
Many media imply that it is easy to make money with apps. Just find the right idea, implement it for almost nothing, and get rich. Like the Flappy Bird guy?
Unfortunately not. Creating an app is like writing a book or record an album. Actually everyone can do it. But, to have real success, it requires more. Of course talent, the right idea, the right vision, the right time, and a lot of luck. You can optimize this by careful planning, conception, and taking the time and money into that the realization of your app requires.
Then, there might be a fair chance to succeed.