8 Secrets to Creating Successful Web Apps

By on April 18, 2012

Between the apps available through the Apple Store or the Android platform there is an app for just about everything. Creating a great app streamlines consumers to your business but you’ll need to be creative and put your customers first before your primary intention of marketing your brand. No one wants that spammy feel.  Customers aren’t going to want to download your advertisement, they want something of value and your marketing techniques should be consequential.

Of course you’ll still need to focus on the marketing aspect of your web app. Here are 8 secrets to creating a great web app that will benefit both you and your customers:

1. Define Success

The double-sided nature of building a web app requires a well devised plan. You’ll need to define and frame up what a successful web app will look like for you. This may seem overly simplistic but the primary step is to decide exactly what you’d like your app to do. What are your intentions? Are you looking to provide a free service that will pull in revenue from advertisers? Are you building brand recognition, or are you looking to build an app that will provide a service to customers for which they would be willing to pay? How will you know if you’ve built a successful app if you don’t first define what that success would entail?

2. Rigid Plans Fail

Just as any successful business plan must remain flexible in order to compete and grow, so must the planning and implementation of your web application. Developing a concept of an app and stubbornly sticking to it will likely make for an app failure. You’ll likely need to run testing on the app, get feedback from customers and make changes accordingly. The app isn’t intended to please you; hopefully the goal is to provide value to the customer and somehow reciprocate that value back to your business.

3. Define your Audience

This is one of the largest and most frequent mistakes in the web app development stage. You’ll be setting your app up for near certain failure if you don’t first consider to whom you’ll be marketing and what that market would like to see. As with any good marketing plan, define your audience, understand your niche and specialize to their needs.  You’ll drive yourself crazy attempting to build an app to suit everyone; plus you’ll end up with an app that will suit no one.

4. Focus on What You Do

Web application users are pretty savvy these days, they are quite aware that a game app brought to you by a car insurance company is likely to be less about the game than a commercial for the insurance company. Build an application relating to your particular field. If you’re a financial services company, build an app offering investment projection calculators. Stick to what you do best.

5. Research User Experience

This is the most important step in building your web application and unequivocally the most neglected. It’s best and less expensive to start your project with a solid concept than to spend extra time and money redesigning later. First, ask clients, friends and family if your abstract concept would appeal to them, then go from there.  What would they like to get from it? After you’ve laid the groundwork spend that extra bit of effort in testing and surveying users. You don’t want to lose users because your first few versions were rinky-dink attempts lacking value.

6. Good Design Pays

Appealing aesthetics and a design that works will be much more impactful than an app that lacks originality, crashes or freezes because you skimped on a cheaper design. Consider that your web app users are at least moderate tech enthusiasts and you’ll realistically lose credibility with an ugly app.

7. Think Mobility

Your app is meant to work on the go. Requiring users to click through multiple pages, making unnecessary navigation decisions and causing long load times because of too many flashy extras is going to kill your app. If your users want or need a wealth of information they should be able to visit your comprehensive website. If you force too much on the app it is destined to fail.

8. Plan for Updates

Some companies believe that once you’re launched the hard work is over. It is most definitely not. If you’re planning a one time shot at success you’ll be fine blasting an app and forgetting it but you can also forget your investment.  As new needs and glitches are identified you’ll have to have a provision for updates or you’ll be on the fast track to deletion and negative feedback.  Smartphone software updates also mean you’ll need to update, count on it.

The most important thing to remember in the development and design is to never rush the process.  Sure you don’t want to take so long that your idea becomes obsolete but you should pencil out enough time so that you can rest assured that your application will be something your customers will want to download. Offering an app that not only provides something of value but also offers a pleasant user experience will build customer confidence in your company as well as give you an edge over the competition.

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Adam Toren

About Adam Toren

Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.