Creating an app for Facebook can be very lucrative, if it’s done the right way. Being successful at creating apps is a matter of creating content fit for the market and providing quality, well-designed products at a good value. App creation can be an overwhelming process on your first attempt, but following this guide will help you create your first app with ease.
What Will Your App Do?
The first step is to decide what topic you want to make the app about. It’s best to pick a topic that you’re interested in and familiar with. For instance, if you enjoy travel, fishing, and cooking, you may consider making an app based one of those topics. That way you’ll have a better idea of what kinds of products already exist for fans of that topic, and you’ll have an idea of what those people are interested in buying.
Your topic should also be somewhat dependent on the market, and should be general. Even if you love cricket, it may be that not many people in the world would buy an app based on cricket. Find the point where your skills and interests intersect with what’s interesting to the world.
Data-mining and Product Research
Once you have a topic, it’s time to research the app store to see what already exists. Check to see what apps there are on your topic. See which ones are popular and which ones sell the most copies. Try to figure out what makes an app successful. Use these ideas to build on your own app concept.
Seeing how many apps there are on a topic can be informative. If there are very few apps, it may be that the topic is not popular. If there are already a lot of apps, your competition will be tough. Either of these findings mean you should consider choosing a new topic. If there are a reasonable number of apps on your chosen topic, and they seem to be doing fairly well, then you’re on the right track.
Outline, Double Check, and Details
The hardest part of producing an app is often the design. This is the phase where you will need to specify, in detail, what will happen on each page of your app. The more details you can produce at this stage, the less you will have to worry about when it comes to actually programming the app.
A good way to go about the design is to create an outline first. List all of the features that you want to have, and any key details pertaining to the app. Once you have a basic plan or outline for your app, it is a good idea to have someone else look over it and double check your ideas. A good person to do this is someone who is interested in the topic of your app. As they look over your design, ask them to tell you if anything doesn’t make sense. If they feel that something is missing or that your app could be more attractive with some additional feature, ask them to let you know. If they have any good ideas, add them to your app outline. Once you have double checked your outline, you can create a detailed version of your app design.
Some programmers choose to outsource the design process to a more creative mind. You could hire someone to design the app in detail based on your basic concept, and then you can program and sell it. Resources for finding people to help you design your app include elance.com, odesk.com, and guru.com. Each of these sites has plenty of freelance workers; you can post an ad and then choose the worker who you feel is most qualified for your project.
Finally, you are able to sit down and program the app. This process may take a while, but it’s the biggest step towards getting your app on the market. Allow yourself plenty of time to make sure that your app is functional and fits into the requirements of Facebook’s interface. The last thing you would want is bad reviews to start your app’s debut in the Facebook store.
If you’ve never developed an app before, or if you don’t feel like starting any time soon, there are numerous firms that you can hire (from freelancers to large agencies) who work around the clock building great apps.
Test the App
Once you have a working prototype of the app, it’s time to start testing the app. The obvious first person to test the app would be you. You are the one who knows what the app is supposed to look like, so you can easily spot and correct mistakes in the app. However, this is not enough. Other people don’t think like you do; they may follow a different path through the pages of the app, leading them to errors and blank spots that you hadn’t anticipated. You need a few people to test the app and write down any errors that they find in the app. These people could be employees, friends, or family members.
Next, you will need to test the app on a group of people that is interested in your product’s topic.
You can find them through family and friends, blog followers, or by offering a small payment for testers on ad sites such as craigslist. You will have your first chance to see how people are going to react to the product you have designed. Have people write their general feedback about your app. In specific, have them list features they liked/disliked, and anything extra that they wish the app had included.
Based on the comments you receive from your test marketers, you need to answer a few questions. Was the feedback generally positive? Do you feel that your app is going to be successful as is? What are some ways that you can make your app more successful? What was some of the most common negative feedback, and how could you fix it? Based on your answers, go back and tweak your app to make it more appealing to your customers.
The feedback you receive is also helpful for another reason: marketing cues. If there were some words that people used about your app several times, then you may have found a selling point of your app. Make sure to mention this item in your app’s description.
Hit the Marketplace
Once you have revised your app based on your test market’s feedback, then you are ready to distribute your app through Facebook. The process for submitting an app is straightforward, and it can be found on Facebook’s website. You will be able to chose the text, pictures, and description for your app; spend some time on these.
Your biggest concern once you submit the app will be marketing. Do what you can to get the word out about your app, whether it be through blog posts, ad banners, craigslist ads, or social media campaigns. Not everyone will choose to buy, but the more traffic you can generate to your app’s page, the more often it will show up in search results.
Now that you have gone through the process of conceiving, designing, and producing an app, you’re ready to start seeing the money roll in. Hopefully your app is successful, and you will be motivated to continue making more apps and adding even more content to the app store.