My last "3 Common App Mistakes" post was not the last, so here we go with a few more common app development mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Your app isn't making money
The Problem: Your app is out on the market - and it has been for a few months, but it's not generating any money...
The Mistake: You likely either didn't build a monetization strategy as part of the app's design, or are not marketing and promoting your app. With a Cost Per Install (CPI) of about $1.20 to $1.60 - marketing budgets need to go hand in hand with how to monetize your app.
The Solution: Think about both marketing and monetization from the beginning - in the concept stage. How many users do you need? How are you going to reach them? How much is that going to cost? How are you going to track your performance? Decide on a monetization strategy, whether it's: ad-supported, freemium, paid, paidmium - there are plenty to choose from, and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Remember that launching your app is often one of the last steps in user acquisition.
2. Your app is a pain to maintain
The Problem: Your app looks great, it performs well, and even includes some great content. But wait - you need to update its compatibility for the latest round of smartphones, or you need to update that hard-coded phone number...
The Mistake: One possibility is that the app was poorly-coded to begin with; resulting in a great deal of difficulty in updating it. Think of this like trying to change the layout of a room built on poor foundation. Another possibility, is that all your great content was hard-coded into the app, with no way to easily update it through say - a web browser.
The Solution: First, ensure you're working with a reputable, experienced and qualified app developer. While it may seem tempting to work with cheaper off-shore companies for example (at a median cost of 20-30% that of those in North America), it can be more difficult to guarantee the quality of the outcome. Good quality code is like a maze that includes direction signs. You can still get through without them, but it's made far easier. Second, keep in mind your requirements for updating content, if need be. Make sure you include a suitable way of doing so - ideally, through a web-based Content Management System (CMS). Even something as simple and open-source as Wordpress or Drupal can do the trick in some cases.
3. Users aren't taking advantage of feature XYZ
The Problem: Users aren't taking advantage of the awesome calendar option in your app, signing up for the newsletter, or even using the awesome voice-to-text search option you included!
The Mistake: One of two things likely happened. Either (1) you used the "build it and they will come" mentality I mentioned in a previous post, or you implemented features that were not right for the problem you were trying to solve. Often what happens is people mistakenly assume that a feature will result in a benefit, when often - it needs to be approached the other way around: what benefit are you trying to provide - and what feature will work best to deliver it?
The Solution: Before moving ahead with how your app should function, take a moment to think about what problems or pains you're trying to solve for your users. This will often lead you to then ask yourself what the best way of solving those problems is. What does your target demographic look like? How will they interact with your app? What kind of features are they used to? Their profile will sometimes represent the opportunity to implement that killer feature you've been waiting to implement. Other times, it will mean a more generic solution you may have seen in other apps before is appropriate. In the end, it's all about your users - and what is best for them.
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