A June study by Nielsen found that more than 60 percent of mobile users in the United States owned a smartphone. People not only use their phones to surf the web and communicate with friends, but are conducting business that just a few years ago was reserved for notebooks and desktop computers. It is now more important than ever for businesses to optimize their websites for mobile technology.
While creating a mobile version of your website is a good start, an app is the most comprehensive way to ensure maximum exposure to potential customers. An app moves faster than a mobile website and can sync with other features on the phone. The problem is that most small business owners don’t have the technological wherewithal to code an app themselves. It isn’t as difficult as one might imagine, but also not as simple as printing business cards online. The following will help steer you in the right direction.
There are several WordPress-esque programs out there that can help you build your own app from scratch without breaking the bank. BuildAnApp.com is one of the more affordable options available for what you actually get. It allows you to build an app compatible with Android, iOS and Blackberry platforms. The standard package, including getting your app published in the Apple App Store, will cost under $250. The professional package goes for around $800.
AppMakr.com is specifically for those who want to build an app for iPhones. The most basic version is free, while their premium package is $79 (excluding the cost of publication in the App store). Forbes called Conduit one of the simplest mobile app builders on the web. Tiggzi, SwebApps and Codiqa are also a few other options you can check out before deciding which direction to go.
Hire A Freelancer
Your business may need something more than just a cookie-cutter app that gives you a mobile presence. A freelance coder can build an app to the exact specifications you instruct for a flat or hourly fee. Odesk.com is a great resource to finding freelance app developers. You can view the profiles of available freelancers that will show their qualifications, work samples and rates. GetAppQuotes.com allows business owners to post the parameters as to what they want for an app, and freelancers will bid on the work. Rent-acoder.com and Elance offer similar services.
Hire A Permanent Technology Ace
If your business relies solely on the web to turn a profit, you may need to hire a developer for a full or part-time position. The most difficult part of bringing on this new employee will be finding the right person for your needs. Spend as much time as necessary (weeks or even months) vetting your potential IT guru). During the interview, make certain to put candidates through a tech test so they can display their ability to solve problems that are sure to arise.
It is no longer optional for bottom line businesses owners to have a presence on the mobile web. Whether simple or complex, every day your small business goes without a mobile app is another day of lost revenues.
Dan is a freelance business and marketing consultant with a dedicated passion for helping small to medium size organizations reach their business goals and connect with their target audience. In his free time, Dan enjoys spending time with his family and taking trips across the globe to establish new connections and network with like minded individuals. Follow him on Twitter @SharpestDan.