You may be searching for a way to increase your income or you may be looking for a way to easily improve your business’ income. Whatever your needs for securing an additional income stream, have you considered working with an app developer to create an app that will make you money?
With 81 percent of Americans owning a smartphone, why not tap into a market with unlimited potential and build a mobile app? Free or paid, your app can make you millions of dollars if you do it right.
Every day people download and use mobile apps. They use them for banking, shopping, socializing, or playing games. There is an incredibly large market waiting for your next big idea to come to life.
1. How to Think Up an App Idea
Interested in building a successful app that will help you make money? This article will help you to learn how to create an app and make money in seven easy steps.
While making an app requires you to take many steps, the most important step will be to decide what kind of app you want to make. Don’t start off with a profit-generating motive. You need to think of an idea that you are passionate about that might have the potential to make money.
In this step of the app making process, it is recommended that you make a list. You can make your list either on paper or in a digital format, like in a Google Docs document. If you are drawing a blank, we outline some ways for you to find an app idea below.
Improve an Existing App
If you’re excited to begin the process of designing your own mobile app and have sat down to make a list of ideas but are drawing a blank on what kind of app to build, don’t despair, we’ve got your back.
One method that you can use to create an app to make money is to look at apps that you currently use and think about what features they’re missing that would make them even more valuable to you.
If there is an app that you currently use daily, investigate it further. Think about the following questions:
- What do you (and others) enjoy about the app?
- What could be improved?
- Is there anything the app is missing?
- Does it “speak” to other apps?
Asking these sorts of questions can help you think of ways to improve an existing app to create a totally new one.
Once your creative juices have started flowing, it is a good idea to keep taking note of your app ideas. Some of the ways you can do this are to make a plain list of apps that improve on an existing app, make a word association map, and gather a “Think Tank” of your friends, family, roommates, and others.
The most important part of who should be involved with this “Think Tank” is that they will give you honest opinions and can also help to contribute to the list of ideas. This is how you can come up with completely new ideas that will help you build a business with your app.
Look to Solve Problems
If improving an existing app isn’t working for you, solving a problem can be a great idea to start a new business with your iOS or Android app. A key reason for an app’s existence is solving a problem.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you download apps?
- Do you download apps to alleviate boredom? Or to connect with new people?
- Are you in a bind to scan and send a document?
- What problems have you had recently that you wished there was an easy solution to?
- What is a problem a friend or family member has that might be easily solved with an app?
Jay-Z might have had “99 Problems” but your job is to reduce that number to one.
If your goal in creating an app to make money is to solve a problem, try generating a list of 99 different problems you are aware of in the world, and see if an app could easily remedy one or more of them.
This can help you to solve your problem of not having an app idea.
Plan Out Your App Idea
Once you have a list of ideas, you need to see if any of them are actually viable ideas for you to try out. Sometimes, an idea may seem great but once you get into developing the app, you begin to realize you’re making a clone of another app with no clear improvements.
To avoid this and other pitfalls that may come up when you get deep into the process of building an app to make money, you need to take some time to flesh out some of the most attractive or viable ideas. We suggest, taking the three most interesting app ideas and starting from there.
Some key things to consider when planning out your app and its features are:
- The time commitment to developing the app.
- Who will build the app?
- What budget do you need to add the key features?
- What kind of competition does your potential app have?
- Are there other apps on the market that do what your app does?
- What is your monetization strategy?
Lots to think about for sure. Let’s break it down into smaller chunks before it becomes overwhelming. After all, you have already generated your problem solvers.
2. Planning Out Your App Development Process
When planning to build your app, there are two options to consider. Those options depend greatly upon your answer to the question of how involved with the technical aspect of building your app. This will help you decide if you want to try and wireframe your app or hire an app development agency to build the wireframe for you.
If you are either unfamiliar or inexperienced in technical development and programming, it will be in your best interest to hire an app development agency. For those reading this who do have experience with programming or would like to have direct involvement in their apps, they can work through the following steps on their own.
Hire an App Development Agency
Leaning on the expertise of an app development agency can be the safest development option if you are either new to the app development process or would prefer a hands-off approach.
When you work with an app development agency to help you build a successful app, you don’t have to worry about finding programmers, graphic designers, or beta testers for your app. While you may end up spending more money on development than if you did it yourself, you will end up with a working product that benefits from their knowledge and experience.
Working with an app developer can be especially important for those of you who have decided to build a complex app. To make the process of finding an app developer that fits into your needs easier, try to gather quotes from a few different agencies and see what kind of designs they have done in the past by looking at their portfolio of work.
Wireframing Your Mobile App
Once you have chosen your app and made your decision to either work with an app development agency or to work on it yourself, the next step is to wireframe your app.
If you are working with a qualified app development agency, wireframing your app will be one of the first things they do as they develop your mobile app.
Should you decide to work on your app yourself, you are well-advised to begin your process with a wireframe. A wireframe is a screen blueprint that outlines how your app will generally look and work.
Wireframing can be done using a variety of applications either on or offline. Here is a list of some wireframing programs you might be interested in using to build your app to make money:
When you wireframe your app, you will be making sketches either digitally or by hand; although, most wireframes are now made digitally using an app like the ones we mentioned above.
When you make your wireframe, it can be designed to move around the different screens of the app. You can make the buttons work to take you to the various sections that will need to be built into your app.
As you wireframe your app, start to think about the color scheme of your app. Most of the popular apps on the market have a consistent design and color scheme throughout and you want to be sure that your app keeps up with this trend for success.
Rework Your Wireframe As Needed
Keep in mind that when you are wireframing you should be thinking about how user-friendly the experience is for all of your intended users. It is relatively easy at this point in the app development process to rework your app’s design and functionality.
Another thing to think about when you design your app is making it accessible. While much of the focus in recent years has been on making websites ADA accessible, apps should also be made accessible to people with disabilities. Read up on accessible design features and add them to your wireframe.
By ensuring that your wireframe works as well as possible for all of your users, you are sure to build an app that will be successful and receive many downloads making you the money you’ve been dreaming of for some time.
3. How to Design an App
Now that you have completed the idea generation and wireframed your app, it is time to bring it to life. When it comes to designing your app, you have three options. You can use a DIY app builder, design the app yourself, or hire a graphic designer.
Use a DIY App Builder
While you may think that building an app with a DIY app builder is cost-efficient, it often lacks the increased personalization options needed to build a successful app. If you want your app to look like it rolled off an assembly line, you can use an app builder.
Using an app builder will allow you to choose design elements with templates. You can customize the colors and fonts of the templates; however, they are often incapable of being fully customized to your unique style and design.
Design Your App Yourself
If you happen to have experience in graphic design or app building, you can attempt to design the app yourself. This can be time-consuming to do and if you have another job or other pressing commitments, it can take more time than you have available.
However, if you do decide to design the app yourself, you can use one or more of the following design tools:
- UI Stencils
- Axure RP
- Adobe XD
- Origami Studio
Hire a Graphic Designer
It’s dangerous to go alone, take a graphic designer with you to help. If you want your app to be successful and make you money, it’s best to hire a graphic designer that has knowledge and experience. They can help guide you through your graphic design plans to a design that not only has your unique personality but also appeals to your end-user.
Building an app can cost a lot of money and if you want to make money from your app you need to make sure that it looks good. With more people using mobile apps today than ever before, you need to make sure that your app not only works well but is appealing to the eye.
4. How to Develop the Backend of Your App
The backend of an app is the unseen workings that drive functionality. It communicates data to make it possible for a click of a button to make one page open instead of another. Without a properly working backend, your app will not work properly.
Pick Your App Development Framework and Languages
When planning how to approach the development of the back end of your app, there are many options for programming languages and frameworks. Frameworks are existing libraries of code that are used to make an App work, while programming languages are used to write instructions for the code about when to activate.
Programming Languages and Frameworks
- React Native
- Phone Gap
Consider Your Web Server
Apps do not exist in a void of nothingness. All apps are hosted on a web server. Web servers store the information from the App, provide a location for processing the data, and ultimately deliver the experience of the App to the end-user.
Web Servers for Back End App Development
Pick Your Apps Database Management System
In addition to web servers, your App will require the use of a Database Management System. A Database Management System allows users to access the data saved by your App, sort through the data, and modify.
These systems are the connection between the data and the end-user. A Database Management System is what allows you to access and sort through the photos you take on your phone. The below list is a few of many Database Management Systems available.
Database Management Systems for Back End App Development
- Oracle Berkley DB
Pick a Microservice Platform for Your App
If your app is dependent upon APIs and other small self-contained processes, you may need a microservice architecture for your mobile app. There are many different microservice platforms that you can use, they help to make the build, design and testing of your app easier to do and more streamlined.
Microservice Platforms for Back End App Development
- WildFly Swarm
- Spring Boot
Choose a Local Development Environment to Test Your App
A local development environment is an integral part of your app development journey. Local development environments are also sometimes called local development platforms. These environments allow you to set up a test server that enables you to perform testing. By testing your app in this way you can ensure that it is stable and working before going live.
Some Local Development Environments for Your App
- Android Studio
How to Develop Your App’s Front End
The front end of your mobile app is the part of your app that is typically interacted with by the end-users. The front end is supported by the back end work and allows for seamless integration with the processes that your back end performs.
When you develop the front end of your app, you should ensure that this part of the app is visually appealing and works well with the other development that you performed. What is great about front end app development is that this is part of the process that usually allows you to be more creative and show your personality.
How to Pick Front End Frameworks and Programming Languages
Front-end or client-side app development requires you to interact with a few key languages and frameworks. These programming languages and frameworks are necessary to ensure that your app works for your customers exactly as you would expect it to.
This is the part of the development process that requires a creative mind that will help you to create something that is dynamic and attractive to your users. Often, the front end of the app will be created in the same languages that the back end was programmed in making this easier for developers.
Front End Programming Languages and Frameworks
- React Native
Test the User Experience Yourself
After you have completed both the back and front end environments of your website, it is time to do a pretest of your mobile app. This pretest is not the same as testing your app. It is simply a preliminary test that you can perform yourself or with your development team to refine your app before beta testing.
This process of pretesting your app will help you to see what needs to be fixed before you invest time and money into your beta test. Fixing up these issues before beta testing will ensure that your beta testers get an app that works as close to the final app as possible.
6. How to Test Your App
The sixth step for how to create an app and make money is to take the time and effort required to beta test your app. While beta testing is a built-in feature of working with an app development agency, those who choose to build their app on their own often forget this step much to their own detriment.
Beta testing an app is important because it helps you to see any big issues that are in desperate need of improvement. It can also help you to see if your front end and back end environments work well with one another. So whatever you do, don’t skip this step or your app won’t be successful.
Try Your App on Multiple Devices
The largest reason to test your app on multiple devices is to ensure that it works the same way across platforms. Having an app that functions the same way regardless of if it is used on a computer, tablet, or phone will go a long way in having users want to use it and spreading the word to their friends about it.
Give Your App to People to Test
You should work with an app development agency to develop your mobile app because they have a built-in team of beta testers ready to use your app and give you feedback. However, if you choose to undertake your own app development process, it can be important to find a group of people willing to beta test your app for you.
If you have a large group of friends that have been helping you out on your app development journey, you can easily ask them to help you with beta testing your mobile app. Remember you need a team of at least five to 10 people to do a sufficient test. However, you should try and get more than that to ensure that you get a clue of how your app works on a variety of devices and with a variety of users.
Get Feedback and Revise
After your friends, or the mobile app development agency’s group of beta testers, have tried out the app for a few days or more, it’s time to ask them for feedback on your mobile app. While it can be intimidating to do so, you need to ask them to be as brutally honest as possible. The more honest the feedback, the better the final version will become.
To attain enough feedback to improve your mobile app, you can create a questionnaire that asks them specific questions that you may have. For example, you may be concerned about the overall design, function, accessibility, or enjoyment of the app. By asking these questions, you can improve your app to become the best version possible.
Once you have made adjustments to your app and possibly gone through another round of beta testing, you are ready to launch your app to the public to help solve problems (including boredom). With your sleek, well-developed app you are now ready to make money.
7. How to Create an App and Make Money
After you’ve completed your app, you are now ready to start turning a profit. While there are many ways to monetize an app, we will go through the six most popular ways to make money with an app.
The six most profitable ways to make money with an app are by creating a paid app, making people pay a subscription fee to access important services, instituting in-app purchases, using advertising revenue, including affiliate marketing, or by combining some of these methods.
How to Make Money With a Paid App
One option you can choose to use to make money with your app is by creating a paid app. While this option may seem attractive, keep in mind that only 3.5 percent of Google Play Store apps and 7.7 percent of Apple App store apps are paid apps.
Some reasons, why you might consider creating a paid app, are that you don’t want to deal with the hassle of instituting advertisements into your app or that you don’t want to inundate your user with ads to pay for your app.
You can also choose to offer users a lite and paid version of your app where the lite version works with limited or paired down options for your users with the option to upgrade to the paid version for more functionality. This can be a healthy medium option for you to take when you are trying to make money off of your app.
Make a Subscription App
Did you know that in 2019, 96 of the top 100 grossing mobile apps included a subscription option? Subscriptions can be a great way to make money on your mobile app depending upon the features that it includes.
There are many benefits to choosing a subscription model for your mobile app. Not only does using a subscription allow users to download the app for free with the option of upgrading on a monthly basis to include enhanced features, but it also allows you to offer multiple pricing options. The third benefit to subscription-based app revenue is that it helps you receive repeat payment from the same customers as long as your app remains viable.
Choosing a subscription model for your app can be hard to develop, work with an app development agency to ensure that you set up your subscription appropriately.
Make an App with In-App Purchases
You can make your app free and include upgrades like free in-app currency to buy things like filters, character upgrades, or other features. When you do this, you will be instituting in-app purchases as your monetization method.
In-app purchases are extremely lucrative, it’s estimated that in-app purchases have generated over $50 Billion in revenue from apps in 2020 and that number is only expected to rise. If you want to cash in on this big windfall for app developers, you should try creating a free app with in-app purchases.
Using in-app purchases as your monetization model can give you the following benefits. First, they are highly lucrative and can be used for in-app consumables. Second, these in-app purchases can even be subscription-based or set up to auto-renew for repeating income from your users.
Make an App with Advertising
Another way that you can build an app and make money from it is by building in in-app advertisements. While many customers find in-app advertisements annoying, if you keep them minimal enough to be unintrusive, you can easily make a lot of money with your app.
By using in-app advertising you allow your user to use the full features of the app without any paywalls. However, depending on your app’s content ads may be intrusive and can sometimes upset the design of your app.
Make an Affiliate Marketing App
Affiliate marketing is a process where you earn a commission on a company’s products by promoting them to the people that use your mobile app. With mobile app affiliate marketing, you stand to be part of the 35 percent of affiliate marketers that make over $20,000 a year.
While it is true that affiliate marketing may be a harder way to make money from your app, it can be a good idea to include affiliate marketing as one of many ways that your app makes money.
Monetize Your App in Multiple Ways
If your goal is to maximize your potential earnings, the best option you can choose is to combine some of the previously listed options. You can include ads in your app and offer to remove them as part of an in-app purchase.
You can also add different features to your app and allow people to purchase each of them individually for a fee or subscribe to access all the features whenever they want. These are some of the tactics that many of the big names in apps have chosen.
By choosing multiple monetization options, you ensure that your app will make money no matter what your end-user chooses. Leading you to success.
How to List Your App On the Google Play Store
Google Play is the location most Android users go to download their mobile Apps. In order to put your App in the Google Play Store, you must first become a Google Play Developer.
Become a Google Play Developer
To become a Google Play Developer, you have to pay a one-time fee of $25.00. This will allow you to add your App to the Google Play Store and give you access to a variety of tools including their marketing resources. Marketing resources include advanced analytics that can help you see how well your app is doing.
List Your App on the Google Play Store
In order to list your App on the Google Play store once you are a developer, you will need to fill in information about the App to the Store, such as if it is free to download the app, as well as the app’s content rating. After you have submitted all the information required, your content will be double-checked by Google to verify it is appropriate for the age you have indicated.
If you chose to work with an app development agency, they can help you better navigate this process from the beginning to ensure that you don’t waste time developing an app that Google will never accept.
Does Google Take a Cut of Your App’s Earnings?
Yes. The Google Play Store takes 30 percent of all apps and in-app purchases, as well as 30 percent of subscription revenue for the first 12 months. After the first 12 months, Google’s subscription revenue cut drops to 15 percent of the subscription cost.
How to List Your App on the Apple App Store
Apple has a large user base as well, so if you are looking to maximize your audience, it is good to list your App on the Apple App Store as well. Again, you will have to become a recognized developer, but the potential returns are worth it.
Sign Up for the Apple Developer Program
The Apple Developer Program comes with a number of benefits, such as access to analytics, and the ability to create extensions for Safari. However, the price of the program is higher than Google. To be an Apple Developer, you will need to pay a yearly fee of $99.
List Your App on the App Store
The Apple App Store will require information on your app before a listing can be created but additionally will review your App to ensure it adheres to guidelines listed in the App Store. If your ultimate goal is to submit apps to the Apple App Store, you should review the guidelines and process in detail to plan accordingly.
This is where working with an experienced app development agency helps. They can guide you from the beginning of the process to ensure that your app fits the often stringent guidelines of Apple’s App Store.
Does Apple Take a Cut of Your App’s Earnings?
The Apple App Store takes the same cut of your earnings as Google: 30 percent of the App/In-App purchases, and 30 percent of the first 12 months of subscription revenue which drops to 15 percent afterward.
If you are looking to build monetary success with an app these tips will help you on your journey. For the best chance of success, hire Idea Maker to make the app of your dreams today.