Do you know that an app brought in more money for a company than the highest grossing Hollywood film recently? Welcome to the app development world. As soon as the world went mobile and 80 percent people started owning a mobile device, these apps started revolutionizing each and everything we did online. There is an app for almost everything now, and some of them are bringing in more money than the multibillion-dollar Hollywood industry!

Almost 50 billion app downloads jump this year, 197 billion in 2017 versus 149 billion in 2016.

Now is the time for you to enter the arena with your brilliant app idea. People are very enthusiastic when they come up with an idea; everything seems easy and they dream about beating Instagram with the next big thing.

However, once they start working, they must take the rose-tinted glasses off and wear their busy boots. Create something the users would love to interact with (remember Flappy bird? It raked in $50,000 every day!) and it’s bound to be a hit.

We have compiled a checklist for the aspiring entrepreneur with the next big app idea. Go through this list and get to work;

Lock down your idea

You have a wonderful idea for an app; now start looking for other apps in the same category. Identify your competition, read through their policies and understand each of its design elements to arm yourself with what your app can deliver differently.

What is missing in these apps that you can add to yours? What will be the differentiating factors that define your app and its user experience? Document your idea and polish it at this stage so it is ready to be developed.

Facebook has more than 1 billion users today, but back in 2004, it was having a hard time competing with MySpace and Friendster. MySpace even surpassed Google in terms of traffic in the US at one point! Through much dedication and hard work, Mark Zuckerberg came up with an idea that was more creative for social networking, and also much more sustainable.

Think of names

This is the time to think about store optimization and cool app names. For this purpose, research your competitors and see what they have been doing in the market to date. You have to make sure people find your app when they perform a search in the app store. Brainstorming with your teammates is going to be more useful than you think.

Prepare a pitch

What is the purpose of your app? What does it plan to achieve in the vast marketplace? Write down your idea as a solid pitch which can impress even the best players in the industry.

The pitch is a short and concise summary of what your app is all about, and how it will change the world. You never know when you may get a chance to suddenly pitch your app’s idea, so better save the presentation on the cloud! Better still, have a prototype ready;

  1. Choose 1-3 main user stories (or the sequence of screens a user will see before achieving their goal) and design them.
  2. If you have some funds, you can hire a professional designer or an app design and development company to help you with the design. No funds? Use UI kits—they let you quickly design a user story by simply dragging and dropping design elements.
  3. Now prototypeit in InVision and you’re good to go.

Identify app goals

Which goals is your app trying to accomplish? This includes both business and personal goals. It can be a specific revenue target or a required number of downloads of the app on a platform.

Having clear cut goals is very important if you want results.  Goals and milestones also keep you focused on always performing at your best.  Setting analytics accounts is just as important as it keeps your growth contained and makes you focus on key areas where users will be most interested.

Identify target users

Who is going to use your app? How are you going to convince these people to use your app? Here are some valuable resources like Google Trends, Flurry and Quantcast to help you gather details about your target audience in the app world.

Identify app features:

Now that you have an idea, how are you going to present it to the world? Most people, who are making an app for the first time, can’t afford all of their preferred features, so you have to choose the most important ones. Decide what is absolutely necessary to run the app and what can be saved for later.

Jot down necessary instructions which will be shared with your developers so they can follow the proper route. Your developers need to be on the same page with you, if the app has to be as you envisioned. Once your developers fully understand the requirements of your app, you will see your vision materialize in the best possible way.

Chart out monetization measures

Making money with apps can happen in many ways. Some of the most common monetization strategies include ad placement within apps, in-app purchases, freemium designs and having a paid app. According to Statista:

Some of the most popular apps around the world, that also happen to be free for the user, include; Google Maps, Facebook Mobile App, YouTube, Twitter and Google+. Generally, such apps make their profits through advertising, sponsorship, the possibility for in app purchases or paid extensions or upgrades.

You can choose more than one of these ways to make money with your app. However, put some time and think about the best ways to go about it. You may even test several strategies to define which one is working best for your app.

Mark a platform

Choose a platform where you want your app to be shown – the great App Store vs Play store debate. You have to choose between either according to the nature and target market of your app. Every market has different needs and regulations which will guide your developmental process. This platform will also guide your target users, monetization strategy and help you budget the app. The sooner you lock this down, the better. Here are some platforms and the number of apps present on these platforms:

  • AppStore – 2 million
  • Google Play – 3 million
  • Amazon App Store – 600k+
  • Total number of app publishers – 968k (Google Play), 498k (App Store), 75k (Amazon AppStore)

Define devices

Today’s app user is accessing an app from a multitude of devices. There are phones of all sizes, screen resolutions of varying pixels and then there are wearables and other devices where apps are used. In the summer of 2018 the mobile app ecosystem, one of the biggest industries on this planet, will turn 10.

In order to create an app that can get popular, your screen resolution and device settings need to be sorted out. Standard devices like Apple, Windows and Android devices must be able to show the app to fit the screens. If that is tough for you, identify a target device the app is going to cover, like a mobile screen of a particular dimension.

Draft app design

Plan the design for your app and make pointers about the ideal user interface. It may be entirely out of your imagination or the interface of an app which inspired you the most. The design is what can make your app look amazing and it can also tarnish its reputation at the same time.

In the current trend, being simple and minimalistic with your app design is the best strategy to have. Every successful app nowadays is simple and loads within a few seconds. Don’t let heavy design elements slow down your wonderful app.

Identify development dynamics

Your app idea probably came to the world in a day, but now you have to invest the right resources to turn it into the next big thing. It’s all or nothing at this stage. Apps need to cover various stages before they are deemed fit to be released into the market. There is a design phase, a testing phase, and a programming phase. Screencasting and screenshots are extremely useful in this case.

Chart out a timeline

Once you have identified the dynamics, chart out a timeline for the completion of your app. This development timeline is going to guide other activities like marketing and promotions. Your great app idea can’t materialize in a day, so make sure you devise a timeline and point out necessary steps you need to take and any roadblocks which may arise.

It is a good idea for future references that you make a timeline and grab screenshots and documentation when you have to come up with an update. Your developers need to be as thorough as possible. The time and date of launch depend on the type of app you are dealing with.

Normally, the development process takes 3 to 6 months and more for an app to materialize. You can chart out milestones to prompt the developers and keep other departments of your company updated as the development is underway.

Make a website

Your app idea needs a dedicated platform as a face for the online community. Nothing performs this job better than a website. A website is extremely useful for the promotion of your upcoming app because it is a hub of relevant information regarding your app and its dynamics.

As an app creator, online presence is a very important phase of the process. This website can be designed by the same developers who can be creative in describing what the upcoming app is going to deliver.

Every successful brand has a website which also has a community, a FAQs forum and other relevant pages that are necessary for its promotion.  Social media platforms also need to be up and running before your app hits the market.

YouTube is the next big thing for all the app developers because you can grab a chunk of the users who are curious about how-to tutorials and conversation about tech topics in a relevant niche. Another idea is to post the story of your app as it grows and nears completion, so people can keep up and download the app later.

Make a community

Before you launch your app, you can make a community of like-minded individuals who would like to talk about your app and related topics. It is a common practice by developers and it also helps other app developers who work in the same niche. Other than that, you can work with influential people in your niche to promote your app and talk about it in the community.

Quora is a great place to build such a community and it provides credibility to your app as well. You have to research about some of the big players in your industry and target them to get a testimonial or their thoughts about your upcoming app. It establishes your presence as a credible business in the market long before you come up with the actual thing. Once your app is nearing launch, you can hold a soft launch and target these influencers to try out the app features and provide their valuable feedback.

Write an app description

What if potential users are viewing app details on their browsers? You need to bring them in by writing an awesome app description which can be displayed on your website. The description needs to cover basic elements about your website like the reason why it was made and the issues it will address.

Be as creative as you can be in this description if you want more and more people to download your app. Want tips on writing the best app descriptions? Check out this tricky but useful formula.

Plan app security

App security and privacy concerns should be your top priority. Despite all the recent measures, app security continues to be a work in progress for the developer world, because new security threats arise every day.

You can’t lose a wonderful idea only because someone messed up with your interface. Organizations without a vulnerability management program often have a harder time detecting, assessing, prioritizing, and remediating security weaknesses compared to those that do have one. Yet a new report shows that only about one-half of all organizations have a formal vulnerability management program. Is your app going to deal with the sensitive information provided by the users? Plan how you are going to protect that information and what measures will you take to keep the database secure.

Talk to your app developer about app security in detail and figure out ways in which they can ensure data security on all your platforms. You also need to familiarize yourself with the current security trends in the mobile world and keep a tab on recent developments in the app world.

Chart out customer service plans

Apps on each and every platform require regular maintenance and users have continuous queries about the interface. Before you begin the development process, you need to lock down a customer service strategy so that you are clear on ways to provide help to your users. Will it be through social media? Will it be over email or in-app messenger? Make a decision before you build the app so it can be incorporated into the developmental process.

Don’t wait until the app’s launch to define how you are going to deal with customer service. A good app needs solid customer service so that more and more people keep it on their devices rather than getting disappointed and deleting it due to a lack of response from the developer. Studies also showed that anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of all downloaded apps are used once and then eventually deleted by users.

Last word

Patience, perseverance, and commitment to your goal – these habits are going to come in handy during the development phase. Before you launch your app, be prepared for any sudden roadblock and give it your best. Apps are now a commonplace commodity, and usage rates are growing rapidly.

Sometimes, the idea doesn’t turn out as you imagined, but you can always improve based on former mistakes. Keep the analytical tool handy so you know what to fix and when. For more tips and tricks, visit our resource center for beginners and experts.

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