Lessons learned in app development and distribution
When we started to develop apps a couple of years ago, we thought, it would be easy. Until this date, we haven’t developed any mobile applications before. A lot of web projects, business applications, scripts, and some small games among others. So we sat together and got going. After a while – approximately two to three months later, our first app was in the stores. And this was only the beginning of continuous learning, till today. So what are our lessons learned in app development and app distribution?
Our lessons learned (abstract)
Exclusively, just for you as our reader, some of our experiences. Well knowing, we can’t offer a solution for everything:
- Build your community before you write any code
- Share your idea and get feedback
- Use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Get the best existing hashtags and keywords. Don’t try to establish new ones
- Don’t trust your Facebook friends. Only about 5% will download your app
- Translate your app and your app store descriptions
- Don’t name your app with a fantasy name, if you don’t have the budget to establish new brands
- Test on as many devices as you can
- Search for awards and try to get listed (if it is not too expensive)
- Make your app looking beautiful and professional
- Make the store descriptions and screenshots look awesome
- Don’t spend your money on social ads unless you have 100000$ in your marketing budget
- Build your app better or different than your competitors
- You are very unlikely the first person to have this app idea
- Update frequently
- Make special app editions for different occasions
- Don’t add ad banners unless you already have 1000+ users
- Avoid app review sites which don’t have an outstanding traffic
- Create a press kit
- Get data and do your reporting
- Learn about your users
That’s a lot. And if we think further, there might be more. Of course we’d like to give some idea, how you could answer the above listed challenges:
Tools and resources
If you plan to develop your app on your own, with or without any experience, there are some great tools and applications out there to assist you.
- Set up your development environment (Visual Studio Code, Android Studio, Xcode, or other.
You might even choose an online creation platform like Appyie or Buildfire. There is no coding required if the offered features are sufficient for your needs.
- Create assets like images, icons, or sounds. Use tools like Sketch, Inkscape, Lunacy, and again there are online editors available, too.
And of course, there are tremendous free resources out there as well. Check out Fontawesome for Icons, Pexels for images or Freesound for sound effects among many others
- Start coding (programming) the app according to your tutorial.
- Build everything and start uploading your result to the stores.
Check out some other tools we use.
Tutorials you might like
For all IDEs, app frameworks and many app examples you can find tutorials out there. Just make sure, they are not too outdated. As technology changes quickly.
- To start with Flutter (by Google): https://www.educative.io/blog/flutter-tutorial
- Begin with Ionic Framework: http://ccoenraets.github.io/ionic-tutorial/index.html
- Or maybe React Native: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/react_native/index.htm
- If you are interested in gaming apps, try Phaser: https://phaser.io/shop/books
Marketing and asset resources
Of course, you’ll require some more information to release your app. Both major stores from Google and Apple require text descriptions, icons, screenshots, marketing URLs and data policies.
- To create screenshots take in-app pictures of your final app version and beautify them with one of the latest tools to assist you: Launchmatic
- Write your text descriptions, find your keywords and translate and upload everything with our own App Store Localizer
- Create your version description with I WANT AN ELEPHANT’s Release Notes Creator
- Check out terms and condition creators to generate your legal documents. Be careful though – they don’t replace legal advice
- Find a suitable hosting for your marketing materials. There are free providers like Jimdo or Wix, which transform into regular domains easily
Lessons learned – the summary
In our experience, the biggest challenge in app development is the app marketing. How to make other people first to find and second to install your app?
But happy us – there are some valid strategies to name all of this. Tools, and companies that support you. A good start for you is here: the ASO Stack Framework.
In addition, it is very important not to underestimate the tasks and workload which are not a result of the development itself. You have to deal with support processes, maintenance, store policies, social media, legal regulations, and many other topics as well.
Last but not least – what we have learned as well – it always will take some luck to get to the top.
We would be happy to hear about your lessons learned in app development or app publishing. How did you measure your success? Which strategies worked for you?