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19. June 2013 by Arcee A

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How to Create a Successful Mobile App for Techno Dummies – Part 1


Do you have a great app idea but don’t have any background or skills in mobile application development?  We know what it’s like.  You can’t sleep, you can’t eat and you find yourself pacing to and fro across your living room all fired up by the thought of building a one-of-a-kind app that will make you a millionaire.  Problem is, you don’t know where to start.  Don’t worry.  In this series of articles we will help you get your mobile app idea to market one step at a time.

 

PART 1: LEARNING FROM THE COMPETITION

The first thing to do is check if your app or a similar version of it isn’t already out in the market.  If you do not find anything like it, then you’re in luck; otherwise, think of how you can make your app better than the ones already available in the app stores.  No matter how your search comes out, it would be a good practice to study how successful mobile apps function and look like and learn from them.  To help further the discussion, we will be using Google’s Play Store.  Open your favorite browser and go here.  Also, if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, launch the Play Store app and navigate to the Android Apps section.

In the desktop version, notice the categories and apps under “Top Charts”.    These are also displayed as items in a menu bar in the Play Store app.

  • Top Paid
  • Top Free
  • Top New Paid
  • Top New Free
  • Top Grossing
  • Top Trending (viewed on PC as a subsection but can be accessed as part of the menu bar in the app version)

For convenience, look first at the Top Free apps, and download the first five.  Try them out and then ask yourself the following questions:

1.  What do these apps have in common?  Determining what makes these apps popular could help you tremendously in picking out which features you should incorporate into your app.

To help demonstrate, here is what I have come up with based on the top apps as of this writing:

Category
Top 5 Apps
Common Factor in at least 3 apps
Top FreeFacebook, Candy Crush Saga, Pandora Inernet Radio, Instagram, VineSocial Media Feature
Top PaidSwiftkey Keyboard, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Titanium Backup Pro Key, Nova Launcher Prime, Beautiful Widgets ProExcept for MineCraft, which is a game, most are utility and customization apps
Top GrossingCandy Crush Saga, MARVEL War of Heroes, Megapolis, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, The Hobbit KingdomsAll are gameapps

2.  What kind of app matches your intention? Looking at the chart above, you will notice what kind of apps people buy and which ones could be used for PR.  If you are a company and you would like to be popular, then it is imperative that you build in a feature which will encourage people to use their preferred social media account.  However, if you want to make money, then you should come up with a utility or customization app.

3.  What are people saying about the apps?  Browse the apps’ Play Store page and read the reviews.  Note the positive feedback from satisfied users.  This will give you additional insights on what app features people like in particular.  Also, take into consideration derogatory comments to avoid similar pitfalls.

4.  How many times have the apps been updated?  To answer this question, take a look at the current version of any of the apps mentioned above.  Most mobile app developers publish information about bug fixes in the app’s Play Store page.  However, a higher version does not necessarily mean that the app has undergone a lot of bug fixes.  Very good apps evolve over time.  A good example of such an app listed in the chart above is “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” which gets updates on Halloween, Christmas, etc.  So if you think you can just sit back and watch the money roll in when once you have an app published in the app market, think again.  There is always room for improvement and improving your app every now and then will net you bigger returns in your investment over time.

5.  How do the developers promote their apps?  Do a little research on the mobile app developers.  How many apps have do they have in the market?   If they have an official website, visit it and find out how they go about marketing their app.  Do they hold contests and other promotional events?  For their paid apps, do they give discounts on special occasions?  How active are they in social media?  How often do they engage with fans and followers?  Studying how the app owners market their apps should give you pointers on how you should market yours.

 

MOVING FORWARD

By now you should have learned that creating a successful mobile app is not as easy as you think.  Having a good app idea is not enough.  You have to study, plan and strategize before you go running to a mobile app developer and have your app built.  Hopefully this has encouraged you to do the necessary work to get your mobile app idea to market.

If you liked this article or have any suggestions let us know by leaving a comment below.