How to choose an app builder?
Written on Monday 6 January 2014
Do I really need an app?
I’m saying that because creating and maintaining an app can become very expensive. Upon this subject, just a few weeks ago, we wrote an article about “How much it costs to create an app”. Read it to have a clear vision of app building expenses, and also of the difference between working with an agency or with an app builder.
Build or Buy?
With these numbers in mind, it's up to you to decide if you want to hire a developer or an agency, learn to code yourself or choose an app builder. As you can imagine, learning to code doesn't come easy and takes time. So, unless you wish to add this skill to your resume, you might want to focus your attention on the second option.
With lots of choices, take the time to do some research. Do not overlook this step, you will make up for "lost" time thanks to the time these development tools save. There are app builders for all sorts of requirements. Some platforms even specialize in specific types of apps and it’s up to you to choose the best one for your needs.
Once you have identified good options, compare them according to these parameters:
To ensure high quality for your product, design matters but also, simplicity of use, seamless integration with social networks, multi-platform options, CMS and a set of engaging features to choose from. These are all elements your app builder should have to start with.
And now, let's take a closer look at each one of them.
- The Design
GoodBarber offers more than 50 beautiful inspirations, all 100% customizable. You can edit the templates, the navigation mode, colors, fonts, etc., for every section of your app, so as to choose the best design to make your content shine.
- Simplicity of use
Think about the user experience too. Using the app must be easy not only for you, but for users as well. The best way to know if the app builder provides a good user experience is to download one of their apps and play with it for a little while. Do you like how it looks, how it feels? If you don’t, why would your users?
GoodBarber puts a strong focus on providing its subscribers with a back office that is as intuitive as possible. If you would like to view and download some of the Beautiful Apps made with our platform, you can start by downloading the GoodBarber News app or visit our Showcases section.
GoodBarber boasts a powerful CMS. With our built-in mCMS you can create articles, post videos, photos, advertise upcoming events, all directly from your back office. This is the perfect tool for those who don’t have any third party solution to publish content, and want to create their own app from scratch, with an all-in-one solution. You can also use it to offer exclusive content, available only for the users of your app (by password protecting it, with our Authentication Add-On).
- Sharing features
GoodBarber apps come with social sharing features, a rating pop-up... What's more, you can add a "Submit" section to retrieve User Generated Content (text, videos and pictures). With UGC, users become contributors instead of only readers.
- Push notifications
GoodBarber lets you filter and target your users by time zone, country, language, etc. You can also schedule push notifications, personalize ring tones and a lot more. With these options and detailed statistics, you can craft relevant messages and generate more conversions. We provide you will all the tools necessary to make smarter notifications.
- Applications platform
Native apps are very advantageous because they can access the phone's capabilities, they deliver more fluidity, speed, interactivity, allow for a more refined design and an overall incomparable user experience. On the other hand, HTML5 web apps work on all devices, and allow for more market penetration. The best is thus to have both, if you can ;)
That being said, it is also better to have your app on both platforms, iPhone and Android. The best advantage of app builders is definitely that, with many of them, you create you app once, for a fraction of the price of custom development, and have it available for both OS.
GoodBarber provides you with the iOS, Android and HTML 5 version of your app. You can use the web app for a mobile version of your website, linking it to your own domain. For tablets, the iPad version is included with our Advanced plan.
- Analytic Tools
With GoodBarber, analytics are directly available in your back office. Our analytics will tell you who your users are. You can also plug external analytics services, like Google Analytics and Flurry.
Besides, some app builders offer the opportunity to enable advertising inside the app, with external ad network or internal servers, to circulate your own campaigns. Just check if the app builder takes a percentage off the revenue generated by your app.
GoodBarber integrates the SDKs of admob, MobPartner, Swelen, MobFox and more. You can use also our internal ad server to display your own ads, splash screens and banners. The revenue is yours 100%. You also publish your app to the stores with your own developer accounts.
- Cost efficiency
App builders can publish your app under their company's name or let you publish it in your name. Some offer different types of plans, monthly or yearly. Some also offer free plans, but be careful because, usually, with this type of pricing strategy, features are very limited and mandatory ads can be displayed inside your app.
One more thing, if the great advantage of app builders is that you do not need a team of experts to make your app evolve in time, make sure that you can modify your app after its initial submission, without having to pay for each submitted update.
GoodBarber offers 3 simple plans: STANDARD, FULL and ADVANCED, with monthly or yearly subscriptions. Apps are always published under your name. Updates are included. Beautiful Apps made with GoodBarber are also free of ads, it's your choice to enable some or not, with an external ad network or using the internal GoodBarber ad server. Our free trial period lasts 30 days. You can create your app, and start to pay only when you are ready to publish it.
Is your app builder doing everything for you?
If an app builder wants to offer a complete service, it most likely also has a blog. If you are creating an app for the first time, chances are you will also want to learn about the potentiality of using an app, beyond its creation. Blogs of app builders should help their clients (with features' tutorials for example), but also serve as a resource for a larger audience, with general advice such how to market your app, monetize it, engage users, etc.
The GoodBarber team is here to answer all your questions and in several languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish). In the back office the initial steps are clearly identified, plus, you can find a detailed online help to assist you with the set up of all the sections and features. You can also follow the GoodBarber blog, on desktop or mobile (download the GoodBarber News App → on the App Store or Google Play), and keep up with our updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram.
You are now ready to jump in the app builder world, and find your sidekick! The time has come to create your Beautiful App! :)
Before getting started, we also answer a lot of questions in our Apps for Beginners ebook: How to Define Your Concept. It's a free resource to help you get started. You can download it below ⬇️
PS: if you have some difficulty understanding app creation terminology, we've got you covered with our dictionaries, a very useful addition to our starter guide ;) :
- Native app, mCMS, plugin... Find these definitions in our App Developer's Dictionary Volume 1 : General Terms.
- App icon, header, launch screen... Find the definition for these technical terms in our App Developer's Dictionary Volume 2 : Creating the App.