Launching your first mobile app is a huge learning experience, and there are many things that I didn’t learn from watching videos or reading tutorials online. These are the top 10 things I wish I knew before I launched my first mobile app.
1. Expect Your Development Costs To Double Compared To Initial Estimates
When I drew up my budget, I naively thought that while there would be some wiggle room, I could keep my costs under a certain number. There were so many unexpected costs that if I had no other options but to stick to my initial estimate, I would have had to give up on my project altogether.
2. Your App Won’t Be An Instant Success (Probably)
It takes a lot of work to make an app successful. You will need to do a lot of market research, and plan to put in many hours of work after your initial launch. Don’t expect to release your app, sit back, and have instant success. You should be planning to work hard in the months after your launch in order for your app to succeed.
3. Learn About Marketing
Your marketing will make or break your app. In order for an app to be successful, you will need to have a strong marketing strategy for before, during, and after your app’s launch. Learn what the competition is doing and create a marketing plan that you think will be able to reach people in a more meaningful and engaging way. Your marketing strategy needs to be something that you put a lot of time and thought into.
4. Work With Test-Users The Entire Way
You will need to work with test users before, during, and after the launch of your app. You should never release new updates without first having beta testers try them out. Releasing a feature that is buggy or difficult to use can cause many of your users to delete your app.
5. Don’t Develop What You Want, Develop What The Users Want
While you may have a vision for what you would consider the perfect app to solve a problem, you also need to take into consideration what your users want. If you consistently ignore the feedback from your audience, you will consistently miss out on opportunities for growth. You should be engaging your users on social media and elsewhere so that you know exactly what they want, especially when it comes to updates and new features. And here’s the important part. You need to execute and deliver on what users want. A great example of this is when users in the Zutobi app expressed confusion about pedestrian crossings in the UK , so our team immediately published content and a module to help users understand the topic.
6. Develop An App That Can Handle Growth
If you want your app to grow, you should have a plan in place for that growth to happen. When you’re developing your app, prepare for explosive growth, but plan for growth to mirror real life; it typically occurs in spurts. Preparing for the most potential growth allows you to implement those plans when you gain users, allowing you to expand without having the issues that typically happen.
7. The Real Work Comes Post-Launch
When you are finally ready for launch, you feel like all of your hard work is about to come to fruition, and you are going to release your product to the world. In reality, most of the work happens post-launch when you have a new mobile app. Marketing and cultivating users takes a lot of work and a lot of manhours. Not to mention updating, fixing bugs and releasing new features. App stores prominently show when an app was last updated and it’s updated history. For your app to have continued success, users need to see that your application is up to date and continuously improved on.
8. Launching An App Won’t Take A Few Months, Expect To Work On It Much Longer
Launching an app takes a surprisingly long time. You will need to begin your marketing strategy well before your launch date, and after your launch, you will need to continue to keep your app relevant. To make a successful app can sometimes involve years of work. If you are hoping to create and launch an app all within a few months, you are probably going to be disappointed.
9. Knowledge Is King From Start To Finish
Before you even begin creating your app, you need to be an expert in your field. If you know your audience and target market inside and out, you’ll be able to create a product that is better than the competition’s. Knowledge will keep you on the cutting edge, so always continue to learn and stay up-to-date on subjects pertaining to your app.
10. Have Fun Along The Way
I got burnt out when developing my first mobile app and almost gave up on it. It’s important to allow yourself some time for having fun. Don’t forget the reason why you started developing your app in the first place.
Hopefully my top ten things I wish I knew before launching my mobile app has given you some insight so that you are able to better plan the launch of your own app. While creating and launching a new app isn’t easy, it has been an incredibly rewarding process.