Do you have a promising idea for an app? Great! Now that you can build an app without code (🤯), there is literally no better time to get started. No-code tools make app building easier, faster, and more economical than ever before.
After that slice of good news, it might be tempting to roll up your sleeves and start building right away, but hold on! A good idea is just the first step. We need to give that idea some legs so that your app building efforts yield the best possible results.
Even if you don’t plan on building an app without code and instead coding one from scratch, the following applies to app-makers of all kinds, including you!
Let’s get thinking!
1. What are your app’s key features?
What problems are you looking to solve? (I’m hungry and need to order food! I’m new to the city and want to meet some interesting people! What should I do for my anniversary date!?)
Is your app helping connect people that could benefit from a community? (that’s something that fitness apps often do!) Is it making an otherwise mildly-annoying task easier? (easy recipes, life hacks, or some other life-saving piece of advice.)
You can start by listing out a couple of unique selling points that make your app special. Don’t know what your unique selling points are? Try this: If you could brag about your app, what would you say first?
Pro-tip: We recommend keeping the key features to 1-2 at max so your app is focused and easy to use. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to nail those basics down like a pro, check out this article by Adalo co-founder, David Adkin.
2. Who is the app for?
Your target audience is the group of people that your app is built for. Your app doesn’t need to appeal to the masses, in fact we have tons of amazing Adalo apps that have been built for a specific group of people to help them achieve a specific goal – think employees in a mid-sized company voting on where the monthly team outings should be, or a group of professors at a university exchanging ideas about how they can improve their experience. When you understand your target audience, their pain points, and needs; you’re more likely to build an app to actually help solve that. Cue long-time customers!
Generally speaking, your mobile app target audience can be split into segments across four categories.
1. Geography: Is your target audience specific to a city, region, or even more specifically, a closed community? (e.g. parents from your children’s school, or people at your gym)
2. Demography: What does the age range look like for your target audience? You may also want to consider their gender, and marital status if those criteria are relevant.
3. Social metrics: What type of background would your target audience come from in terms of education, income level, or profession?
4. Behavioral metrics: What are their values? What habits do they have, and why? What are their preferences?
The answers to these questions will help you come up with an appealing short description of your app’s core solution. This will convey the main goal of your app to help you communicate the value to others.
Here’s a fine example of a #MadeinAdalo app that was razor-sharp with its focus on their target audience and has built a community of over 20,000 women. Moonifest by Sam Shaibani guides you to set intentions and manifest them with the energy of the moon.
3. What does your competition look like?
Are there other apps like yours in the market already? 👀 What are they doing right? What could you be doing better? (hint, hint: this is how you differentiate yourself!) Maybe you know the answers to these questions already, but if you don’t – here’s how you can find out. Use Google Trends and type in ‘Best [insert your app idea here] app’, or ‘App for [your app idea here]’ and see what shows up. You can customize this by geography in case you’re looking for something a little more local.
You could also check out the app store and see what shows up in your category. Read their app reviews, and see what your potential audience is saying. This will paint a picture of what other apps are offering users, their shortcomings and where they have been successful.
4. Do you have a user journey in mind?
Wait, but what is a user journey?! Glad you asked! A user journey is the term used to describe how your users interact with your app. Very simply, it's the path your users take to receive value from your app. When you follow your users around (metaphorically and virtually, of course) you’ll know what they’re looking for and how you can help them find it quick!
Think through which features are key to solving your user’s problems, and see if those features are seamless and easy to find, and use. Your goal is to create a smooth and intuitive flow of action for your users.
Remember that what you, as the maker, find easy or obvious, may not be the same for your user. *Enter your user journey.* If you want to know more about this, here's a blog post on building authentic products – it's one of our favorites!
5. Do you want to launch on Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, or have a Web App?
Both app stores have wide audiences, ensuring good visibility for an app – so how do you choose?
The general consensus is that getting an app approved by the Apple App Store can be harder than on the Google PlayStore (we’re looking at you, Apple! 😒). Apps have a lower chance of being rejected on the Android app market.
While Google is home to a bigger market than Apple globally, the Apple App Store brings more monetization opportunities for app developers. Apple App Store users are usually more comfortable paying for an app compared to those on Google Play Store.
Alternatively, you might consider the option to build your own web app or PWA – they’re basically the best of both worlds: apps that can live on your mobile homescreen, but don’t need to be downloaded from the app store.
6. Do you have any plans for app monetization?
Mobile app monetization is exactly what it sounds like: a way to make that money, honey! Many app developers and makers choose to monetize later on in the journey, so you may not need to figure this out right from the start. But if you’re curious, here are a few popular ways to monetize an app:
1. Paid apps: Asking your users to pay a price upfront is the oldest monetization strategy – stand at the door, collect your money, and that’s it! But this can be a turn off for users that aren’t accustomed to paying for apps, or aren’t convinced about the value of your app yet.
2. In-app purchases: If you choose not to charge your users upfront, there are opportunities to do so in the future. In-app purchases are particularly successful on gaming apps, dating platforms, and similar categories. These apps that follow a ‘freemium’ model allow users to purchase a more enhanced experience once they’re already in the door.
3. In-app advertising: Out of all the ways to monetize an app, in-app advertising is definitely the most popular. You can maintain a pretty good level of control, opting for ad formations that aren’t too disruptive, choosing the format, type of ad, and publisher of your choice.
“In the long run, curiosity-driven research just works better. Real breakthroughs come from people focusing on what they’re excited about.” Geoffrey Hinton, a psychologist and artificial intelligence-pioneer held on to this belief, and so do we.
While you can’t underscore the importance of doing your homework, don’t lose fire for your amazing app along the way. If you’ve found an idea that you’re excited about, and you have the opportunity to create apps for free, then chase it!
We’ve got your back. 🙌