Ready to get your app idea off the ground? Still thinking of how to make an app?
It’s not just large companies that profit from apps – according to a survey by Clutch, 29% of app developers were solo practitioners or part of a team of 2-4 people.
In 2021, global mobile app revenues reached over 365 billion U.S. dollars.
Making an app for the first time can seem daunting, but don’t worry — we’re here to guide you through every step.
So grab your coffee (or your favorite coding fuel) and get started! With patience, persistence, and a dash of creativity, you’ll be well on your way to creating the next big thing in the app store.
How To Make An App From Scratch In 2023
The core idea of building an app is “how to create an app that customers need.” Finding the answer to this is the key.
1. Come up with a solution to a problem
It’s essential to identify a problem that your app will solve. Is there a need in the market for a better way to track daily water intake? A more efficient way to plan a vacation? Whatever it is, make sure your app provides a unique solution to a problem that people are facing. It’s always to get started with scathing your own itch.
Example: “I want to create an app that helps people track their daily water intake. Many people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, leading to dehydration and other health issues. My app will allow users to set daily water intake goals, track their progress, and receive reminders to drink more water throughout the day.”
2. Clearly define your goals.
What do you want your app to achieve? Do you want to improve people’s daily lives, entertain them, or make them more productive? Defining your goals will help guide your app development process and ensure you stay on track.
Example: “The app aims to improve people’s daily hydration levels and overall health. I also want to make tracking water intake more convenient and enjoyable for users.”
3. Research first, others next.
Before you start building your app, it’s essential to research the market and see what similar apps already exist. This will help you identify gaps in the market and ensure that your app stands out from the competition.
Asking yourself questions will clarify how to move forward with your app ideas and help you set realistic goals.
Example: “I’ve researched and discovered that several apps on the market already allow users to track their water intake. However, many of these apps are complicated to use. I think there’s a gap in the market for a simpler, more user-friendly water tracking app.”
4. Sort out the features (Need vs. Want).
Now it’s time to start thinking about the features your app will have. It’s important to distinguish between “need” and “want” – make sure your app has all the essential elements it needs to solve the problem it was designed for, but also consider adding some additional “want” features to make it more appealing to users.
Example: “For the MVP of my app, I think the following components are essential (need):
- Set daily water intake goals
- Track daily water intake
- Receiving reminders to drink more water
I also think it would be nice to have the following additional features (want), but they’re not necessary:
- Customizable reminder intervals
- Integration with popular fitness apps
- Ability to add notes or explanations for unusual water intake on a given day (e.g., “Had a sweaty workout today”).”
5. Create a prototype and POC.
A prototype is a rough draft of your app that allows you to test your ideas and get feedback from potential users. A Proof of Concept (POC) is a small-scale trial that helps determine whether your app is viable and worth pursuing. Both will help you fine-tune your app and ensure it’s ready for the next step.
Example: “I’ve created a rough app draft using a prototyping tool like Figma or InVision. Now I will show it to a few friends and family members to get their feedback and see if any obvious issues need to be addressed. I’ll also use the prototype to create a POC, which I’ll test with a small group of users to see if the app is viable and worth pursuing.”
6. Decide on the development method.
Several app development ways include native, hybrid, and web app development. Each method has pros and cons, so choosing the one that best fits your needs and resources is essential.
Example: “After researching and consulting with a developer, I’ve decided to go with native mobile app development for my water tracking app. This will allow me to create a smooth, seamless experience for users and take advantage of the features offered by iOS and Android devices. I’ll use a language like Swift or Kotlin to build the app.”
7. Create measurable parameters.
To ensure that your app is successful, it’s important to set measurable parameters (also known as “metrics”) that will help you track your progress. These could include the number of downloads, user retention, or revenue generated.
Example: “To measure my app’s success, I’ll look at the following metrics:
- Number of downloads
- User retention rate (percentage of users who continue to use the app after the first week)
- Average daily active users
- Revenue generated from in-app purchases or advertisements.”
8. Build your MVP.
An MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is a stripped-down version of your app that includes only the most essential features. Building an MVP allows you to test your app’s viability and gather user feedback before committing to a full-scale development process.
Example: “I’m going to start by building the MVP of my app, which will include the essential features (setting daily water intake goals, tracking daily water intake, receiving reminders to drink more water). I’ll be working with a developer to bring my app to life, and I’ll also be using a project management tool like Asana or Trello to stay organized and on track.”
9. Test, Test, and again test
Before you release your app, you must test it to ensure it’s bug-free and user-friendly. This might involve enlisting the help of beta testers or using tools like A/B testing to fine-tune your app’s design and functionality.
10. Release your app
But before you jump into the release, take a look at these:
- Choose the right app store: Different app stores have different requirements and processes for submitting apps, so choosing the one that best fits your needs is essential. Consider factors like the target audience for your app, the fees associated with each store, and the level of support offered.
- Optimize your app listing: The app listing is what users see when they search for apps in the app store, so making it as compelling as possible is essential. Include a clear, descriptive title, a visually appealing icon, and a well-written description highlighting your app’s key features and benefits.
- Consider localization: If you plan to release your app in multiple countries or languages, it’s crucial to consider localization. This means adapting your app to fit each target market’s cultural and linguistic norms. This might involve translating your app’s text, adjusting currency and measurement units, or adapting your app’s design to fit local tastes.
What next after you have built the app — Post Release
You’ve made it through the app development process, and your app is finally live in the app store – congratulations! But the work doesn’t stop here.
The real fun (and sometimes frustration) begins in the post-launch phase.
Here are some tips to help ensure that your app succeeds in the long run.
Even though your app is live in the app store, people will still need to find it. You’ll need to do marketing to get the word out about your app and drive downloads. This could involve social media marketing, paid advertising, or influencer partnerships. Feel free to get creative and think outside the box when marketing your app.
- Partner with complementary businesses or organizations: Consider partnering with companies or organizations with a similar target audience. This could be a great way to cross-promote and tap into a new user base.
- Offer a promotion or limited-time offer: Consider offering a promotion or limited-time offer to incentivize users to download your app. This could be a discounted in-app purchase or a free trial period.
- Utilize email marketing: Consider using email marketing to promote your app if you have a list of email subscribers. This can be a great way to directly reach potential users and encourage them to download your app.
- Leverage user-generated content: Encourage users to share their experiences with your app on social media or other platforms. User-generated content can be a powerful marketing tool and help drive more app downloads.
2. Adding features iteratively.
Just because your app is live doesn’t mean it’s finished. How to upgrade an app is just as important as how to build an app. It’s important to continue adding new features and improvements over time to keep your app relevant and engaging for users.
This process is known as “iterative development.” Just prioritize the most critical features and listen to your users’ feedback to ensure you’re adding the right things.
Some feature people look for in an app are
- Personalization: Many users appreciate the ability to customize their app experience to fit their unique needs and preferences. Consider adding features like customizable notification settings, personalized recommendations, or the ability to create and save custom profiles.
- Convenience: Users often look for apps that make their lives easier and more convenient. Consider adding features like integration with other apps or services, automatic updates, or the ability to perform tasks offline.
- Security: With the increasing prevalence of data breaches and privacy concerns, users are more concerned than ever about the safety of their personal information. Ensure your app includes robust security measures to protect user data and keep users returning.
- Performance: Users expect apps to be fast and responsive, so it’s vital to regularly optimize your app’s performance and address any issues that may arise.
3. Following feedback and trends.
Your app is only as good as the feedback you receive from your users, so paying attention to what people say about your app is essential. Are there common complaints or suggestions? Are there specific features that users are requesting? Use this feedback to guide your development and make your app the best. It’s also a good idea to stay up-to-date on the latest app market trends to ensure your app remains competitive.
4. Maintenance and support.
As users start using your app, it’s crucial to have a plan to address any bugs or issues that may arise. Ensure you have a system for tracking and fixing problems as they arise, and be responsive to user feedback. A support system to help users with questions or problems is also a good idea.
5. Track KPIs.
To understand how well your app is performing and identify areas for improvement, it’s important to track key performance indicators (KPIs). These could include the number of downloads, user retention rate, average daily active users, and revenue generated. Use these KPIs to track your app’s progress over time and make informed decisions about what changes to make.
And there you have it – a step-by-step guide on how to make the app you dreamt of. We hope you found this guide helpful and that you’re working on creating the next big thing in the app store.
Remember to stay motivated, embrace your inner programmer humor (did you hear about the programmer who was afraid of zero? He’d rather null it out), and always be open to feedback. And if you’re stuck or need extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re always here to lend a helping hand.
Alain Glaeser, a seasoned software developer with 7 years of experience, has helped countless mobile app and SaaS startups build and scale their products. He has an excellent track record of developing software downloaded by millions, playing a vital role in helping founders secure multi-million dollar funding. Alain's expertise in building tech startups has proven invaluable to a non-technical entrepreneurs seeking to expand their knowledge base and gain a competitive edge in the industry.Read all of Alain Glaeser's articles