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Looking to dive into mobile apps - Suggestions plz!

Discussion in 'New Markets' started by seoguy81, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. seoguy81

    seoguy81 Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    I looked around on BHW but couldn't find a proper thread on mobile app developments. (In case I missed any, i'd appreciate if you could guide me to the appropriate thread). This post is specifically for those who have experience in building or managing mobile apps.

    Anyways, for the year ahead i'm looking at trying out building some mobile apps. I have the idea in place and targeting a very niche market.

    Can you guide me to the following:
    1. Is there a guide/pdf or a forum thread that I can start off with to learn more about app development
    2. What are the start up costs for a mobile app (ex. for websites we know that there are domain/hosting/design costs, etc.) I know that iTunes and Android require some fees, but are there other monthly costs
    3. How does advertising work with mobile apps? Is it similar to adsense? What about apple apps that serve ads? Any criteria for signing up for the apps? How are payments made?
    4. What is the average cost of getting an app developed?
    5. Is there a list of what to do and what not to do when building a mobile app?
    6. When I ask for quotes from a developer, what things should I consider? Just developing the app? Do they also do a thorough testing to detect any bugs?

    Thanks a lot in advance and once again sorry that I couldn't find the info myself.
     
  2. seoguy81

    seoguy81 Senior Member

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  3. Shadow Mike

    Shadow Mike Newbie

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    Hi!

    I am glad you bring up the App development subject because I couldn't find almost anything about that!

    All my experience comes from trial and error from having developed over 100+ apps in different niches, trying different monetization techniques, with some cons and pros.

    1. Is there a guide/pdf or a forum thread that I can start off with to learn more about app development

    I would recommend to follow these steps in order to create an app:
    • Think about what you want to do - what is the main purpose of the app ?
    • Research market
    • What are the main functionalities that will have ?
    • Wireframes
    Let's suppose I want to create a SIMPLE CALCULATOR APP. Maybe because I have seen a gap that I could fulfil somehow (for example, maybe some old phones didn't have a calculator app in Android 1.0) so I think it's going to be a good idea, or maybe because the ones that there are in the market are too complicated or provide something different (maybe something like an elemental school calculator, with just the functionalities needed).

    Once you have your idea, before doing anything else you should check the different app markets to see if the app that you want to make is saturated, your idea is special enough or if you need to pivot to create something else. Maybe your app idea is not so unique as you though. Maybe somebody else is crushing it with your idea! Maybe nobody has tried your idea before! You can always try to check the APP GRAVEYARD if you are out of ideas. Anyway, for the good of the example let's suppose that the market research has been good or you are providing something really special / unique / differential trait in your app that can make people use it.

    Let's now think about the functionalities that this app will most likely have - we want our users to ADD / SUBTRACT / MULTIPLY / DIVIDE a number. The result will be displayed once we press the RESULT ("=") button and we will reset all operations and numbers on CLEAR.

    So far we should write down that we have 6 main functionalities. We want to write down how the app works for two main reasons : we want to keep it as logical and simple as possible for other people to understand how it should work and to prevent future arguments with the programmers (if you're coding it yourself, you can ignore this second motive).

    We want to write down also a small flow of how the app should go - a use case. In the simple calculator app example could be something like :

    1. User opens the app and sees the keyboard with the prompt screen
    2. Users enters first number
    3. User enters operation
    4. User enters second number
    5. User presses the result key.
    Why is it important? You need to check the flow of how your app will work to both verify that there are no inconsistency and no circular redundancies.

    Once you have all your ideas clear and seems that everything is solid, you should start wireframing your whole concept, that is getting a notebook and start drawing how you are imaging your app - what would the user see as soon as you open the app, and when pressing every button. Using arrows and notes is the way to go!

    I personally always go with designing everything on paper and then if I need to hire anyone or communicate my idea I translate my idea to a mockup software (although some people uses powerpoints or .doc files) so I can send it to whoever needs to see the design.

    2. What are the start up costs for a mobile app (ex. for websites we know that there are domain/hosting/design costs, etc.) I know that iTunes and Android require some fees, but are there other monthly costs

    Depends entirely of how your app is going to be! For example, if you create a standalone app with no database connection (all the information is in the app itself) you won't need to rent hosting, neither domain. An Apple Developer account costs like 99USD / year and an Android Developer costs like 25USD / lifetime.

    Depending on your app needs you might need to get a different kind of server, but in my case, I have all my connected apps in a shared hosting, which costs me like 120 USD / year and I have 3 main .com domains for that ( each ~ 13 USD / year) so as far as I make my own websites and I have no design cost for that I spend in my app maintenance about 159 USD / year, which is not that much.

    3. How does advertising work with mobile apps? Is it similar to adsense? What about apple apps that serve ads? Any criteria for signing up for the apps? How are payments made?

    I have used only two main ad networks with my mobile apps - one being admob and the other being mobfox (which I used for monetize adult themed app, before they banned all them from the store! ). Signing up in both of them is easy and there was no problem. You can use most of these ad networks to serve both iOS and Android. Payments on Admob used to be through PayPal but now I can only receive them in my bank account, maybe it's something that only happens in Europe and in the US you can still receive your payments through PayPal.

    4. What is the average cost of getting an app developed?


    That's a tricky question. How much does a car costs? If you go to get a car at a Porsche car deal store it will cost a lot more than if you go to get a Seat. That's one of the reasons writing all the functionalities is so important, so the developer can get an appropriate quotation and estimate the timmings that the whole project will take to complete. Some things that I would considerer here too is how many different operating systems are you targeting, if you want the code to be done in a native language or in a hybrid language, and so on.

    5. Is there a list of what to do and what not to do when building a mobile app?

    You should always check the terms of use of each store. I have had many apps banned over time for targeting niches that they didn't considered in the beginning. Checking the design guidelines will also save you a lot of time. For example, I have had an app removed once from the App Store because it had an "Exit" button, which doesn't complies with Apple guidelines as they want iOS to close the program by itself (when an App is inactive for X minutes). Other than that I would say that the Sky is the limit. If you can imagine it, it can be done!

    6. When I ask for quotes from a developer, what things should I consider? Just developing the app? Do they also do a thorough testing to detect any bugs?

    I normally get asked to do one of these three main things when I'm asked to create an app:

    1. Create everything from Scratch - given an idea, develop all functionalities, wireframes, designs and coding til the release
    2. Code - The idea is done and the designs are done so they give me the design assets and I structure and program everything the way it should go
    3. Hack - Given a program, create new functionalities and code tweaks to change the behaviour of how things are working.
    If you are going to outsource the creation of the app, even if the person in charge of creating everything offers you to do the TESTING, as a product owner you should ALWAYS check that everything is being coded as it should, and that the feeling of the interface and the general looks of the app is nice. The more complicated a program is, the more bugs are most likely to appear, it is your job to try to detect them as soon as possible and communicate them to your developer, otherwise if you have finished your deal, they might charge you for fixing the bugs in the future.

    I hope this helps you a little!

    Cheers!
     
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  4. seoguy81

    seoguy81 Senior Member

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    Thank you. The information is very valuable for a beginner to apps.

    I'm looking at a 3-month time frame to build the app. So can I just apply for the accounts now, pay and leave them alone and then use it after the app has been uploaded? Are there any renewal fees?

    Yes, there will be database connection with information shared in real time. Will this significantly increase my costs? Shared hosting is ok to use (cpanel hosting) ?

    Will there be maintenance costs? For ex: i see apps like FB etc, keep updating every few days. Is this something that needs to be done for all apps?

    When I meant pricing, i was referring to this. Are there significant cost differences between doing everything from scratch or do just the coding bit (I can get done with the basic idea/purpose, design screens functionality)?

    You mention hack. Is it possible to reverse engineer an existing app (and will it be cheaper?) I.E: Take an existing app, tweak it + add new features and then release it?

    Thanks once again for sharing your inputs.
     
  5. Shadow Mike

    Shadow Mike Newbie

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    If you're targeting Android and iOS you will only have renewal fees for iOS, so you could just open the account when you want to release the app. If you have a shared hosting for some of your websites you probably won't have any problem with adding a database to use for your app, if your project grows a lot, you might have to considerer moving everything to an e2c server to maximize load times and such, but for my apps I haven't had to do so yet (about 10K different connections daily with 1-4 database accesses in each connection). Using a cpanel hosting will be okay :) . Just make sure that your shared hosting plan don't have a bandwidth limit or a limited amount of data for you to transfer monthly.

    For the maintenance costs, if you have your developer account and the payments of that account are up to date, you don't have to pay anything to publish an update for your app. I have had apps which haven't been updated for YEARS, so no, it's not something mandatory, although it's always nice to update the app to have a better reception with the users, for example if someone complains that the app crashes when pressing a button after performing a certain action, try to look into it. In the app world you need to listen to your audience, although you don't always need to do what they want you to do, is your app after all !

    The thing here is the amount of time that you have available, and knowledge. In one hand, if you can design how the flow of the app should work (which should be easy as you're creating in your mind how everything must work), functionalities (this can be a little tricky, but if you can draw your sketches and put notes on how every interactable button should work will be a nice exercise, for you to make everything work smoothly and to transfer this knowledge to the person in charge of developing) and all relevant points you will save time and meetings with your developer (if you're not coding it yourself). If you need others to do the thinking and designs for you (databases, flow, wireframes) you will have to be clear in all points to communicate as precisely as possible to have no misunderstanding at all. Think that when talking with others although we might be talking about the same concept (an app, a car, a cat, whatever) we might be thinking in two different things completely!!

    You should get a price reduction if you can provide everything and you have your idea clear. Sometimes I have rejected clients because they didn't really know what they wanted to do, and that is just a nightmare, both for the owner and the developer, as there are normally misunderstanding. You can always the devs to create a basic design from the screen functionalities / sketches / wireframes but a designer normally knows better how to put things in place or what colors use. Think about it like using bootstrap when creating a website instead of a personalized design.

    About hacking, here I was talking more about modifying the behaviour instead of decompiling the app and recompile it with changes. It is possible to do so but there are normally some security measures (and ethical issues too) but some people get a good extra income just by doing that. If the code is protected it can be most costly to reverse engineer an app that doing it from scratch :D, but if you have a nice source code and you need modifications it will absolutely be cheaper than creating it from scratch.

    Cheers!
     
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  6. razzdazzle

    razzdazzle Junior Member

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    I'd recommend getting started with an App Building software like http://UltimateAppMaker.com

    This is what I use, and started by converting my affiliate sites into Apps and then eventually using their templates and launching a bunch of free Games with Admob ads inside. It's seriously the easiest money I've ever made!
     
  7. pacefer3

    pacefer3 BANNED BANNED

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    Shadow Mike, wow great information!!!
     
  8. Shadow Mike

    Shadow Mike Newbie

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    I'm glad you find it useful!

    Cheers!
     
  9. thesyndicate

    thesyndicate Regular Member

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    Very good thread
     
  10. Akinyande ayo

    Akinyande ayo Regular Member

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    I've been on search for app development thread too. I'm into app reviews and you can check www.wiFicallingiPhone.com out
     
  11. cobraspit

    cobraspit Registered Member

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    You can check out a place call appgyser. You use the to build an Mollie app and it's free.