Getting on the right app track

By Clare Bagshaw

If you're wanting to ride the web app tidal wave and have considered some ways of making money from an app, it is time to recognise and negate some of the more obvious reasons why web apps can fail so you can make sure yours is successful.

Six tips to make sure you're on the right app track

  1. Differentiate your app
    There are a multitude of web apps out there. Users are becoming choosier and are tending more and more to only use software that personally benefits them every step of the way.

    Make sure you tick this box. Clearly understand what it is you are offering to which target market and differentiate it from what is already out there.

  2. Don't try to do too much
    If an app claims to be able to solve a multitude of problems, chances are it does a half baked job of all of them (a-la "Jack of all trades Master of none").

    Don’t fall into the trap of claiming to be able to solve the problems of the world. You are much better off focussing on one problem and offering users a tangible solution that works.

  3. Be flexible to your users wants
    Don’t expect users to come running to your exciting new app. Actually, quite the opposite is more likely! Users have an overwhelming choice on their hands when it comes to web apps. It is vital that you have a good understanding of your target users and keep your approach flexible so you can tweak your app to meet their evolving wants.

    Consider incorporating a feedback mechanism in your app, so your users can contact you with comments on your offering which you can use to make your app more useful and appealing. Others will be doing this so make sure you are not left behind your competition. 

  4. Make sure you sell your web app the right way
    To compete with the huge amount of web apps out there you will need a savvy marketing campaign to show users that your app will meet their needs.

    Consider differentiating your app from the pack by relating the benefits it will provide your user to a bigger picture. 

  5. A small barrier to entry can minimise problem users
    While offering a web app with absolutely no barrier to entry can quickly result in a large user base you need to consider whether you necessarily want all these users.

    If there is no barrier to use you may attract some unsavoury characters. This can be easily negated however, through having a small, but real barrier to entry. For example asking users to reveal their identity will immediately sieve some potential problems from the pack. 

  6. Improve people’s lives – then worry about the money
    While earning from your web app may well be your ultimate goal, make sure you don’t make short term monetary decisions which could damage the longevity of your app.

    To safeguard your reputation and your users’ loyalty you need to offer on-going solutions.

Interestingly, charging users a nominal fee for your web app can help you develop a deeper relationship with them, but only if you are offering them something they can see value in. Their investment in your app will probably mean they will spend more time using it with an ultimate interest in its survival, while you benefit from the revenue.

The Upshot

If you approach the development of a web app with a good understanding of the competition out there and the risks involved you have a greater chance of creating an app that will survive and actually make you money.

Be realistic as to the difficulties you will face and follow a few of the simple steps above to make sure your app is successful.