After spending time on your mobile business idea and app design, the last thing in the world you probably want to worry about is doing more work on your mobile app. However, mobile app maintenance is just as, if not more important than app development itself. Keeping up with maintenance on your app might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it should be and we are here to show you how to do so.

In this article, we are going to review a few common reasons to perform mobile app maintenance, what it will cost, and some best practices for moving forward. Once you understand how to maintain your app, not only your retention rates will increase, but so will your success.

mobile app maintenance

Why do we need to perform mobile app maintenance?

While there used to be a time where you could create an app, put it on the app store, and leave it be. But times have changed and those apps that were left to be were deleted last year. In order to make sure that you don’t end up obsolete like these apps, monthly (or even weekly) mobile app maintenance is necessary.

Here are a few areas that might change after your app’s release and thus, will need maintenance.

  •      Hardware: As new mobile devices are released, apps that don’t keep up will become obsolete.
  •      Operating system: Every year, both Android and iOS release new operating systems and you need to make sure your app is up to date on the newest versions.
  •      Libraries: At this point, most mobile apps use third party libraries and dependencies that can change quickly. Your app will be broken unless you update your libraries or find a new way to store app data when these expire.
  •      Programming language: Apps will have to be updated based on changes to different programming languages (such as Objective C to Swift or Java to HTML5).
  •      Usage patterns: The long your app is in the hands of users, the more your app will mature. Occasionally you will need to update the UI to meet these new needs of your customers.
  •      Styles and designs: Just like usage patterns, your stles and designs need to change with the times. If you haven’t thought of this in a while, it probably means you are due for an update.
  •      Infrastructure: Any time the infrastructure on which your app is hosted changes, you will need to update your app. This most commonly happens when switching from self-hosting to a larger hosting platform.
  •      Security: Bugs and security holes can pop up at any time. Make sure that your programming team has the right measures in place to catch and fix problems as they arise.

Keep in mind that there is no set frequency that you should be updating any of these. Mobile app maintenance is primarily about making sure that nothing falls to the wayside, so just make sure that you have a plan for when you will review each part of your app.

One major reason to do this is that if your app goes without updates for more than 6 months, people will start to notice. Once you start getting bad reviews in the app store, things can turn sour fast. You can avoid this by having monthly meetings with your team about areas that require fixing up.

app update

The cost of app maintenance

Breaking down app costs can be difficult, as there are many different factors. However, here are a few ways to figure out your costs for mobile app maintenance.

Hosting costs

The backend costs of hosting are divided into two major sections. One is how many people are consuming content from your app. As more people come to your site, the costs of hosting will rise as well.

The other side of hosting is the human costs, people who can take care of creating and maintaining the backend. This again will scale as you continue to grow.

Monitoring and crash analytics

Like we mentioned earlier, monitoring usage patterns will help you to better understand your users. Take the data that you capture from monitoring how they interact with your app in order to constantly be tweaking things to be as functional as possible.

Along with this, it is also a good idea to set up tools that will alert you to crash reports in real life. A crashing app is a failing app so you need to be on top of this every step of the way.

Licenses

Many apps today are created with licensed technologies and sometimes these licenses expire or the company providing them goes out of business. When you are setting your budget, you should keep licensing costs in mind.

Marketing and promotion

Probably the largest area of your budget will be used on marketing and promotion of your app once it is in the store. Part of this is something called app store optimization, which is like search engine optimization, but for the app store. Your marketing department should be able to handle that, amongst these other areas that will require costs you should budget for.

  •      Content marketing
  •      In-app content creation
  •      Facebook and Adwords ads
  •      PR
  •      Microsite/landing page
  •      Email
  •      Guest blogging
  •      Contests and giveaways
  •      In-app and app store ads

Finding a mobile app maintenance team

Whether or not you opted to outsource app development, if you decide to look outside of your company for someone to perform your mobile app maintenance, there are certain characteristics you should consider. For instance, your team should ideally meet most (if not all) of these standards.

  •      Above average response time
  •      Ability to manage and store backups to avoid losing data
  •      Customer support, preferably a dedicated account manager

Above all, your maintenance team should be familiar with the software they are maintaining. You will want to choose someone that you can see yourself working in partnership with for the foreseeable future.

app development

Conclusion

The most important part of mobile app maintenance is fighting off bugs and keeping your app up-to-date. This requires constant vigilance and a system in place for addressing problems that arise, because they will. This may sound daunting now, but once the initial setup is in place, the hard part is over.

And remember, the companies that are best at mobile app maintenance are never talked about because everything works. If you are doing your job correctly, you may not get the recognition you expect, but your wallet will thank you for it later.

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