A mobile application can help you grow an existing business or launch a new one from the ground up. It is an excellent method to engage your online customers on their mobile devices, allowing you to increase your mobile traffic and encouraging active users to spend more time on your website. You must be wondering how to create an app? It is actually much easier to make your own app than you think.
Most people assume that building an app is complex and requires extensive programming knowledge. This, however, is not the case. You don’t need to have programming knowledge to develop an app with amazing features that your target audience will like.
We have compiled the best resources to walk you through the app building journey from start to finish below. This article is written in a simple way for everyone to grasp, whether it’s for first-time app builders or non-technical users.
How To Create an App in 8 Steps:
- Choose a Name for Your App
- Pick a Color Scheme
- Graphic Design
- Add Features and Content to Your App
- Add App Info and Store Metadata
- Preview Your App on The Right Device
- Test and Test Your App Before The Launch
- Publish Your App
Things to Consider Before Building an App
With over 10 years of experience and more than 10,000 published mobile apps, here’s what we’ve learned from the apps that failed because of poor planning.
If you’re interested in the app creating process but don’t know where to begin, here is a guide to gain inspiration.
Enter into Shoutem app builder and start creating your app!
Generate app ideas and try to validate them
If you’re still trying to develop an idea for a mobile app, here’s how you can get started. First, put your rough idea into something tangible on a piece of paper. Make a list of features and a rough sketch of how the app would appear. But, don’t get too fixated on a custom app design nuance as this is at the early phase of the mobile app development process.
Split your features into two categories: must-haves and nice-to-haves. This allows you to construct a streamlined first version of your app, sometimes known as a minimum viable product. Your app should specialize in one thing and can execute it effectively.
Every app idea sounds fantastic on paper, but you should validate your idea before proceeding with app creation. By validating your idea, you can ensure that your own app has a probability of succeeding in the app store.
To begin, you can present your idea behind the app, its functions and goals to someone in under a minute.
Consider pitching your ideas to as many people as possible. It can be a stranger on the internet, your close friends or family members, as long as they are willing to share their honest opinions. Suggest them play a devil’s advocate role and attempt to find flaws in your app idea.
If you receive greater enthusiasm and positive feedback about your app, you can continue to the next stage.
Conduct market research
The success of your app, like any other product, entails thorough market research. You can use market research to address business-related matters, such as evaluating competitors, exploring business models, and identifying features that customers desire.
Understanding your niche and how your app adds value can help guide your positioning and app marketing strategies.
With your information, you will have a good understanding of your industry. It also helps you avoid mistakes made by your competitors and assesses if your app is catering to people’s needs.
Making your own app without conducting market research can significantly waste your time, money, and energy.
Here are some points to keep in mind when conducting market research.
Get to know your audience
Knowing who your target audience is is critical for building a successful app. Invest time to understand your target audience, their expectations and wants, and the problems they are having trouble solving. Without a clearly defined target, you may risk squandering time and resources building an app that nobody is interested in.
You can determine your target audience in various ways. The most common yet effective ways are focus groups, surveys, structured interviews, market research data and audience persona.
If you are unsure how to start, we recommend you start with defining your audience persona.
Audience personas are essentially distinct profiles of the kind of individuals that are probably interested in your app:
- Which stage of life are they in right now?
- Which age group do they fall under?
- What is their gender?
- What are their passions or hobbies?
Get to know your competitors
Explore the market for existing mobile apps offering similar features/services as you.
However, don’t be discouraged if you find mobile apps offering something similar to you. Keep in mind that many native apps out there provide similar services or products.
This research is not to determine if your idea is new but rather to understand from your competitors what works and what doesn’t.
If you found apps that are reasonably successful (or not), you should consider asking yourself the following:
- Where can you improve your app to give you a more competitive edge?
- How are your competitors disappointing their customers?
- What popular app features are users asking for but not offered by the competitors?
Who created the app? Is it a single person or an organization?
The goal is to figure out who you are up against. Large businesses have enormous advertising resources and frequently have a dedicated team working on a single app. it will be hard to compete with them directly.
If it’s a one-person operation, it offers you some reassurance if you decide to publish the app on your own.
You want to know how frequently the app is updated. If the app developer hasn’t reviewed it for some time, you have a chance to steal the market share. However, you should be aware of developers who improve their apps frequently.
Ratings and App Store Review
What is the star rating of the app? What are the users’ reviews on the app?
If the app has a low rating, investigate why it has a bad rating. Acquiring this information can prevent you from making the same mistakes.
On the other hand, if the app received high ratings, download it and test it out for yourself, paying close attention to the feature set and user experience. You should read through the reviews to learn why users love this app. Then incorporate the insights to develop and design your app.
Whether the app is popular or flawed, go through each review to get an idea of the user feedback. These feedbacks are priceless, and more importantly, you don’t have to pay for it.
You cannot view the number of downloads for an app on the App Store. Fortunately, some tools can help you to obtain such information. SensorTower, for example, is a free tool that allows you to see the estimated number of downloads of an app.
Define your app objectives
Building a mobile app from scratch and then maintaining it requires time. Therefore, during your ideation process, you should have a clear goal for why you want to develop the app.
Do you want to provide a solution to a specific problem? For example, are you trying to increase brand exposure or attract more potential customers?
Here is a checklist that you can follow:
- Define your aim and target audience
- Ensure that your target audience can see the value
- Consider how the app can help your customers to address their problems
- Identify the essential features for the app to produce the desired results
Define your app features
At this stage, the question is how to design an app your target audience will want to use. It is critical to have the right features on your app. You have to identify the features that match your app and are necessary to serve your users in the best possible way.
Identify the fundamental functionality of your app and focus your app features there.
Adding popular features to your app might sound attractive, but unnecessary features may confuse users with your app’s core objective. Furthermore, adding more features will increase the cost and lengthen the mobile development time.
The keywords here are simplicity and focus. If your own mobile app doesn’t need the feature, don’t include it.
There are several ways to monetize your app to generate another revenue stream for you.
It is essential to choose a suitable monetization method depending on the functionality of your mobile apps. It’s not a one-size-fits-all method. Different types of apps call for different types of monetization methods.
Freemium mobile apps are available for users to download for free. So, how can the free app generate revenue? While users can enjoy the app’s basic functions for free, they need to pay if they want to unlock specific features or content within the app.
The secret to getting freemium apps to succeed is providing enough value in the free version to persuade users to spend more.
The most frequently used method of app monetization is advertising. This monetization method is easy to incorporate into a mobile app.
However, in-app advertising is only effective when your app has an extensive user database. It allows you to show highly targeted ads to the right users without compromising the user experience.
In-app purchases are popular with gaming apps. Think about games like Clash of Clans or Candy Crush. These gaming apps generate revenue by selling in-app purchases that unlock unique features, costumes, in-game money, etc.
If you’re thinking of incorporating in-app purchases, be sure they will enhance rather than hinder the user experience. Each purchase should contribute to the value that users will enjoy rather than solely generate profits.
If you want to adopt a subscription model for your app, you may want to consider offering a free trial period. After the free trial ends, the user membership will automatically be converted to a paid membership. Alternatively, you might provide a subscription version of the free software with access to a list of ‘pro’ features.
A subscription model is one of the most profitable monetization methods as they offer recurring and reliable income. But, it also means that your paying users will expect more content or features from the app.
As the app maker, you are obligated to fix bugs and update the app consistently to ensure it’s stable.
Sponsorship and partnership
Sponsorships refer to an app collaborating with advertisers. The sponsors will offer rewards/benefits to the users if they perform specified in-app behaviors.
With partnerships, you collaborate with another app whose customer base is comparable to yours. It’s a win-win situation that allows you to promote your products and services and attract more new users.
Choose a Building Method for Your App
The next stage in building an app is choosing a programming language and platform.
Will you develop an iOS or Android app? Will you use Hybrid or Native development methods to build your app?
A hybrid application is your best option if your budget is constrained and you want to build on the iOS and Android platforms.
If you have zero programming knowledge, you can consider leveraging a no-code development platform such as Shoutem. This mobile app building platform allows you to make an app effortlessly without writing code.
How to Create an App With Shoutem?
Shoutem’s app maker enables you to create an app compatible with iOS and Android platforms without writing a single line of code.
To make an app, go to the menu, click “Create Your App,” and then choose Shoutem app builder.
If you are new to the platform, you must create an account. After verifying your email, you can start designing your app. You can refer to the platform tutorial video on creating an app.
How to Create an App With Native Development?
Native development requires low-level coding skills. If you have no coding knowledge, it’s best to engage a specialized app developer to build the app for you.
If you intend to publish the app on both iOS and Android, you need to hire an app developer to deploy native apps on both platforms (iOS App Store and Google Play Store). This is because each platform uses a different programming language. A full-stack web developer is also required to help build your backend infrastructure for cloud-hosted data.
Creating an app with native development gives you more control over the user experience and flexibility to design the app for easy support. However, as you create the app from scratch, this method will take the most time and can be very expensive.
How to Create an App With Hybrid App Development?
There is still a certain degree of flexibility with what the app can do using a hybrid development method.
Unlike the native development method, you don’t need to hire an app developer with low-level coding. But, you will still need to have skills in web development.
Compared to native development, hybrid development can save you time and money. However, one possible drawback would be the app’s performance and quality.
How to build an App With a Rapid App Development (RAD) App Builder?
Rapid app development is a top choice among non-technical users who desire to create apps by themselves. It is less expensive and faster to build than native and hybrid development.
RAD allows you to build an app using their existing tools through an online interface. While you don’t need to have any coding skills to build the app, you still need to know what you’re building from a technical standpoint if you want your app to perform functions more than a basic level.
Using a rapid app development method may restrict you on the features and functions you can build on your app. On the other hand, app building software may offer limited tools that you can use to develop and customize your app.
How Long Does it Take to Build a Mobile App?
Some mobile applications can be developed in weeks or months, while others may take years to build.
The time it takes to develop an app is determined by various factors. These factors include the type of app you’re building, the complexity of its features, and the app development platform and method.
Typically, it takes 2 to 6 months to develop an app that is completely ready to use without considering the ideation or app design stages.
How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?
There are various ways to obtain a free estimate for your mobile application development project. The most reliable option is to reach out to the developers directly.
An app development company may charge a fee ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 to create a mobile app.
Another method is finding experienced freelance developers on freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, LinkedIn, etc.
However, be aware that the fees stated can vary based on the functionality and complexity of the app and its features.
Apple vs Android – Is it Better to Build iOS Apps or Android Apps?
There are no clear advantages to building an app on one operating system over another. Collectively, iOS and Android own over 95% of the mobile app market share. Thus, it’s best to build your app on both operating systems.
It is worth mentioning that the two mobile app platforms have no overlap. If you build an app for iOS, it will not work on Android and vice versa.
So it’s crucial to determine which platform you will use during your research stage. The method you select plays an essential role in your budget, timeline, and the type of functionalities in your app.
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make An App Without Code
Now that you have done your research, and identified the platform and the app development method, it’s time to put your plan into action and create your app!
Choose a Name for Your App
One of the most critical elements of an app is its name. So put on your creative hat and think of an app name that is unique and memorable. The app name can also be related to the app’s primary features.
Ideally, your app name should be consistent with your developer account name and brand/website.
Pick a Color Scheme
A color scheme is a mixture of colors that complement each other, which can create different moods and feelings.
Each color scheme has its unique set of artistic characteristics. For example, some designers prefer using gradients on their app background or titles, while others may stick to solid colors.
Once decided, the colors that make up a color scheme of your choice will be the primary colors applied across different areas of your app.
A wireframe is a rough illustration of your mobile app’s layout.
You can draw your app layout wireframes on paper, board, or digital drawing tools.
The goal here is to illustrate the app’s features and layout design. Your emphasis should be on deciding the structure and flow of your app.
Once you have your app’s layout and wireframe done, you can design your app. It’s usually best to keep your app design similar to your brand or business design. The design includes your brand logo, color schemes, font type and size, background, icons, etc.
Your mobile app splash screen is a crucial component of your app. It serves as your brand’s first point of introduction to enhance users’ first impression.
You should explore different ways to design an intuitive app splash screen to provide users with a positive user experience the moment they open your app.
Next, you should focus on the primary process for navigating your app.
We suggest you play around with some of your favorite mobile apps and get a feel of your experience navigating around inside the app.
You should aim to create a navigation that feels natural and straightforward. For example, you will know there’s a problem with the navigation if you are unsure where to click to find/do something when inside the app.
Onboarding screen sequence
Remember to include a welcome tutorial on using your app for first-time users.
If your app is complex and comes with many different functions, it’s best to create an onboarding process to guide users on how to use your app.
Add Features and Content to Your App
After you are satisfied with the app design elements and infrastructure, it’s time to include what you want others to know about your brand and app. Then, you can add the content to your app’s backend manually. Or, if you have the content ready online (such as social media, website, etc.), you can just integrate that external link into your system.
Add App Info and Store Metadata
Fields containing information about an app are referred to as metadata. They are classified into text (title, subtitle, description) and visual (icon, screenshots, video).
App Store and Google Play search algorithms will sometimes index and rank these fields. So, having the right keywords in your metadata helps improve your app search ranking and attract more users to download your app.
So, start with refining your metadata, adding keywords, and translating texts and images into different languages.
Preview Your App on The Right Device
Previewing your app before publishing allows you to test and simulate the user experience of using your app. It will enable you to test your app logic, design and behavior before publishing it on the app stores. You can also verify your changes to the app while developing it.
Unless you use a hybrid method to build your app, you will create your app separately for each mobile operating platform. So, you have to test and preview your app individually on the corresponding mobile platforms, meaning on Android devices and iOS devices.
To preview your app, you will need to download Disclose app (more info can be found here). Now you can live preview or test your app before publishing, which allows you to publish your app without bugs or errors.
Test and Test Your App Before The Launch
It’s recommended to test your app throughout the development stage rather than only once it’s ready.
Doing so allows you to notify your developer about the change while working on the app. It will also help you save time and money and avoid unnecessary trouble.
The process for testing your app on Android is pretty straightforward. Install the app file on your computer or smartphone and test it live.
As for testing your app on an iPhone device or iOS platform, the process is somewhat different. You will need to use a third-party platform like Invision or TestFlight to test your app. Don’t worry; these platforms are relatively simple to use.
Publish Your App
Once everything is ready, it’s time for you to publish your app. You first need to register a developer account with the respective iOS and Android platforms and go through the app store submission process to publish your app.
The official guides from Google and Apple are excellent places to start. These articles will show you what a good application page looks like, the dos and don’ts, and how to avoid common issues.
Once approved, your app will be published on the app store.
Post-Launch – What To Do After You Have Successfully Published Your Mobile Application
Start Promoting Your App
using App Store Optimization (ASO)
ASO is about improving your app in the app stores through keywords, titles, and descriptions.
You can optimize your app metadata to increase the visibility of your app within the app store.
on your website
If you have a fully functioning website, take advantage of it to promote your newly published app. Advertising your app using your website is one of the best marketing tools. It’s crucial to let your existing and new online customers know that you’ve launched an app.
You can do web push notifications or designate an area on your homepage to promote the app.
on your email list
Don’t forget to drop an email about your app launch to your email list subscribers. Update your subscribers and include details about your new app and a link redirecting them to the app download page.
Increase your app exposure on social media platforms or online groups such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Creating a social media account for your app is excellent for engaging with your app users. In addition, you can request feedback on your app for improvement purposes.
If you don’t have a dedicated social media account, you can prioritize platforms your target audience spends most of their time on. Suppose you target working professionals; then, you may want to promote the app on LinkedIn.
You can create video advertisements and app tutorials and post them on YouTube as part of your app marketing plan. You can also repurpose these videos into short videos for other platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, etc.
Maintenance and Support
Once you publish your app, expect to provide ongoing maintenance and update for your app. App maintenance is essential to roll out bug fixes and newer app versions. As a developer, you also need to ensure that your app can run smoothly and is compatible with the latest version of the mobile device operating system.
The compliance and regulations may change from time to time as well. For example, ensuring that your app adheres to the latest data laws like Europe’s GDPR or California’s CCPA.
Improve Your App with User Feedback
It’s essential to incorporate your user feedback when updating or improving your app.
Consider the following recommendations:
- Take advantage of your customers’ input to enhance your app.
- Collect data using mobile application analytics to gain valuable insight into user behaviors.
- Setup in-app review popup to collect user feedback.
- Create a sense of community with your existing users and engage with them frequently.
Track KPIs for Your App
Establishing and tracking KPIs is crucial to ensure your app is functioning well technically, the user experience is excellent and brings you revenue.
You may wonder how and what metrics to track. An easy solution to this is by integrating analytics into your app. A comprehensive mobile app analytic tool can save you a lot of hassle, time and money. Mobile analytical tools can help you track the app’s technical metrics and user engagement metrics as well as analytics inside app stores.
Continue to Improve Your Mobile App
No app is perfect. Even the best apps are updated regularly. You should keep your user feedback in mind when introducing new updates to your app. Users expect you to make changes when they give feedback.
When introducing new updates to the app, you should adopt the same method you employed during the app building process. Before releasing the latest version of the app to your users, always test it through quality assurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you make money from an app?
You can monetize your app by charging customers a one-time download fee. In-app purchases are another popular approach to monetizing your app. Alternatively, billing users on a monthly or annual subscription fee is great for generating recurring income. Similar to the concept of placing ads on websites, you can sell advertising space within your app to generate revenue.
Can I create an app by myself?
You can create an app yourself with a Shoutem app builder. This app builder tool and platform is commonly used by non-technical users to create high-end mobile applications.
Is it easy to make an app?
Although there are mobile app creation tools that can build an app from scratch without any programming skills, it is simple but not easy to create an app. You will need to invest a lot of time and energy into brainstorming and designing a user-friendly app.
How to validate your app ideas?
Consider pitching your ideas to as many people as possible to validate your app ideas. It can be a stranger on the internet, your close friends or family members, as long as they are willing to share their honest opinions. Suggest them play a devil’s advocate role and attempt to find flaws in your app idea.
What kind of apps is most popular?
Mobile on-demand applications play an essential role in helping us to get everything we desire with just a few clicks, anywhere and anytime. The most popular apps nowadays are social media, food delivery, transportation, healthcare, and gaming apps.
How much does it cost to publish an app on the App Store?
In order to publish an app at Apple App Store and Google Play Stores, you must have a Developers account, and it will cost you $99/year for Apple App Store, and a Google Play Store $29 one-time fee.