How To Develop A Successful App: From Idea to Going Live

There is a combined total of over 2.6 million apps currently available in the two largest app stores—iTunes and Google Play— and with only the minority of apps generating the majority of downloads, it wouldn’t be unfair if you assumed that attracting and retaining app users is a difficult task.

However, success does not necessarily mean your app needs to be a global phenomenon, in fact with a smart digital publishing strategy behind you, your app can help increase brand awareness, content discoverability, and subscription and advertising revenue.

Why do I need an app?

In order to encourage the widest possible demographic of readers, it is important to offer them different channels for consuming your content. While a responsive mobile site is a definite must for any business with an online presence, many customers may prefer the easy offline access provided by an app. This is a great option for people who want to read your content anytime, anywhere without needing to worry about being connected to the internet. In terms of discoverability, your apps will be available to download from globally recognised and frequented online stores, making it much easier to attract new readers browsing for content. When an app is downloaded to a device it will remain accessible from the home screen, which means that your brand will be able to visibly occupy space on your customer’s device!

When considering your options

Your app should serve your existing online customers as well as attracting new ones. So when looking for a bundled app and online solution for your content, it is important to seek out software that allows you to upload once and publish to all platforms. This will minimise any double handling and will allow your online flipbook’s settings and customisations to translate seamlessly across platforms.  When concerning paid content, your app should make it easy for your existing subscribers to access the equivalent content that they have already purchased online, while still offering prospective new subscribers the simplicity of purchasing content in-app.

Planning and production

Create engaging content. This is probably a no-brainer but it is definitely worth mentioning. Make it worth their while to download your app by creating vibrant, informative, and/or entertaining content, and then making sure that it is presented appropriately to your customers through a smart design and user-friendly app functionality.

Try and make your app available through as many different channels as possible to ensure you are reaching a diverse audience. The Apple and Google Play App Stores are excellent starting places, but if you want to really go above and beyond then do not neglect niche marketplaces, such as the Amazon App Store. Don’t be discouraged by the comparatively low number of apps these smaller app stores have for offer as this will work in your favour! With less apps cluttering up the store your app has a greater chance of being discovered by readers looking for fresh, new content.

We always say that mobility is of key importance when we’re asked how to develop a successful app. Allowing certain content and functionality to be made available offline will cater to an increasingly active market. People want to be able to read your content when they are on the train to work without worrying about Wi-Fi connections or internet reception issues.

Ensure that your app is upfront and informative on its listing page to help readers with their decision to download your app. With a plethora of content at their fingertips, users want to know if downloading your app will be worth their time and (possibly) money. List all important information pertaining to the app (such as the content users will receive, update frequency, purchase amount, bonus features, etc) and choose screenshots and supporting graphics that portray the full experience of your app. Avoid adding any misleading information as this may result in a slew of uninstalls which will adversely affect your app’s ranking in the app stores.

Don’t assume Apple Newsstand is always the best option. Despite being a buzzword amongst publishers since its release, there is nothing inherently advantageous about publishing your app to Newsstand, as opposed to creating a standalone app. Take the time to research the pros and cons of submitting to Newsstand and weigh these up against your epublishing strategy. Remember that once an app is submitted to Newsstand, it cannot be reassigned as a standalone app!

Once it goes live

Back your app up with a solid marketing plan. This is crucial for making sure that your app does not quickly slip into obscurity once it is released. This is one of the biggest failures we sometimes see with new apps. No matter how functional the app or high quality the content is, if you do not put the effort into making sure people can discover your app then you will struggle to receive a return on your digital investment.

Make it easy for your users to share and “like” your app on social media so that its discoverability can propagate, finding new readers and new markets that you may not have otherwise targeted. Post links to your app across all social media and social networking platforms, and encourage others to do the same. Remember that the more incoming links to your app listing page, the greater the chance you have of your app ranking higher in the search results.

Maintenance is crucial, so monitor user feedback and ratings and address any app issues or bugs as soon as they arise to ensure your app is always of the highest quality. Also, don’t forget to communicate with your users by offering friendly and informative support. Remember that making sure your readers are happy with the service that you provide is the easiest and most efficient method of retaining customers long into the future.

If you’ve ever wanted to build an app for your publication, business, blog, product or service, but the complexity and technobabbles put you off, Realview can help!