These days, it’s difficult to own a smartphone – or run a business – without involving an app. They add value to services and increase customer engagement. With the uptick in online shopping and banking, as well as remote work and education, they’re not just a nicety, they’re a necessity.
The increase in app dependency also means more business for developers since most companies don’t have the in-house talent or tech know-how to tackle the build. The majority of business owners and professionals rely on outsourcing the project to a freelance developer or app development firm.
Whether you’re creating digital concierge software, designing a stand-alone fitness app, trying to make banking and shopping more convenient, or building a new gaming platform, the sky’s the limit for app creators and developers.
What Makes an App Successful?
There are currently more than 2.5 million apps available in the Google Play Store alone. With that kind of competition, it’s up to you to build a functional, useful app that will set your creation apart from the crowd.
Contrary to popular belief, a financially successful app doesn’t need to be premium. More than 98 percent of all app revenues are earned via free apps. The bulk of that money comes from in-app advertising and other forms of passive income.
These statistics include all app platforms, but for the scope of this article, we’re going to focus on creating an app for Android-powered devices. Android apps account for more than 84 percent of all apps on the market as of 2020. There are approximately 100,000 new Android apps released every month.
What makes an app successful?
First of all, people need to find and download your app. Then, they need to use it.
However, there’s more to a successful app than the fact that it exists. In order for your app to cut through the clutter of available apps and find a loyal audience of regular users, it has to have a unique concept and a single focus. That involves knowing your target audience, what they want in an app, and how you can deliver the goods. Do your research.
Next, your app needs to be secure and free of bugs and glitches.
It should also have a clean interface that’s free of clutter and easy to navigate. Fast load times and download speeds are another essential. Anything slower than a few seconds will be abandoned even faster.
Offline functionality is a plus. Consider how much better Google Maps works when you can download your route and have it available even when you hit a dead zone.
The final ingredient is ongoing customer support, which includes upgrades and patches. Technology keeps moving on, and for your app to be successful over the long haul, it should progress along with it. Continued support is also necessary to improve customer loyalty and increase your authority and reputation in the digital world.
There are millions of fly-by-night developers who create shoddy, insecure apps, and they give the industry a bad name. Don’t be one of them if you want to stick around.
Ready to create a successful Android app? Follow these five steps to a successful creation and launch.
5 Steps to Create an App for Android
There are so many possibilities and applications when it comes to app development, it’s enough to make your head spin. Before you begin to build your app, you need to narrow your focus and conceptualize the project from start to finish.
What need does your app address, which industry or users will it serve, how will it look, and how will you market your app?
The most successful apps offer a unique concept, either through providing an alternative solution to a common problem or by filling a gap in an under-served niche. Your app should also be useful, and usable, with features that are simple to use and locate.
This requires deep market research. Spend some time in forums to see what users and other developers are talking about. Read reviews of similar apps to see what problems their users are having and what features are in demand. Pay attention to what makes successful apps downloadable and what makes bad apps unusable.
It’s also essential that you come up with a catchy name for your app. The moniker should be easy to remember when users search for it on the app store and readily convey what your app does.
Make sure that it is unique enough that users won’t confuse it with other apps on the market, and that it’s SEO-oriented using best practices and high-ranking keywords.
Once you’ve done your research and have the preliminaries well in hand, it’s time to begin building, testing, and marketing your app.
Keep in mind that the process is not something that can be done overnight. Even the most simple app can take up to a month from concept to launch. The more complicated the concept and design, the longer it will take to develop.
On average, the whole process could take up to six months or more.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Create an App Design
Your actual design will be one of the most important elements of your build. Not only will it solidify your brand and attract new users, Google indexes for mobile first and gives increasingly higher rank to applications that provide a quality user experience (UX).
That experience begins with a quality user interface (UI), which is baked into the design.
Consider how users will interact with your app and design it with simplicity in mind. Features and functions should be easy to find and use while adhering to accepted design principles.
Step 2: Build Your Software Prototype
No app should launch without first creating a working prototype that you can test and obtain feedback from a core of trusted advisers and representative users. You want to create a minimally viable product (MVP) that’s incomplete so that you can collect useful feedback before the final build.
Platforms like WordPress include staging areas so that you can create and test working prototypes at various stages before you go live.
Step 3: Conduct Thorough Testing
Testing should cover both the front and back end. Develop with security as a priority. Consumers are wary about hacks and tracking, and they need to know that they can trust you and use your app with confidence.
The other half of the design relates to usability and functionality on the front end. The most common testing method is A/B testing, also known as split testing, and it involves trying different layouts and design concepts to learn how they affect user interaction, perception, and engagement.
There are two different types of split testing, in-app and market testing. The first helps you evaluate how changes impact UX and UI. Market testing evaluates how your campaign affects engagement, drives downloads and installations, and helps you optimize conversions.
You’ll find a number of tools that will help you properly conduct testing and provide useful analysis.
Step 4: Market Your App
Even the best app will fail if you don’t build enthusiasm and market it effectively. The marketing should begin as soon as you have a design and working prototype, and it should continue well after you release your app.
There are several ways that you can build interest and create awareness pre-launch.
If you have a website, you could create a landing page that explains what your app does and the value it provides to users. Blog posts that tell a story that correlates to the customer’s journey are another great marketing concept. It’s also important to create a strong social media presence.
After you launch, make sure to get feedback on social media and encourage word-of-mouth buzz. Create a space for user reviews and ratings on your download page and website.
Step 5: Launch!
Once you have all of the other steps completed and have a glitch-free, attractive and usable app, it’s time to launch. Just remember that going live isn’t really the final step.
Continue to market your app, collect feedback, and address any issues or concerns as they arise. Use any feedback to continually tweak and improve your app.
Final Thoughts About Android App Development
It’s a great time to be an app developer. The need is there, and it’s only expected to increase. This brings fresh opportunities for bright, talented coders and front-end designers to add a whole new world of fun or functionality to the digital sphere.
If you hope to cash in on the billions of dollars that app revenue brings in every year, consider our tips and best practices to have the best chance for a successful build.
Featured image by Austin Distel on Unsplash