For anyone who is looking to get into app development, cost is always a major concern. As developers continue to add new features and technologies to their apps, the cost of creating an app from scratch has increased, leaving many to wonder how to make an app on a budget.

As developers, we understand app development cost and where it is possible to reduce that cost wherever possible. In this article, we are going to review 6 painless steps that you can take to bring down the cost of development.

It is our hope that through this article you will be able to learn everything you need to know to develop within your means and bring your project to market. Let’s get started.

how to make an app

Step 1: Perform a needs analysis

The very first step in how to make an app on a budget is to perform a need analysis for your mobile business idea. In other words, how will your end-product address the needs of your human audience?

There are many different approaches to performing a needs analysis, but what is important is the results you find. A needs analysis will help unify a divided design team, but only if you let it. The opinion and needs of the end-user should outweigh those of the design team, so if you find yourself with a team that pushes back against this, make sure they understand why.

After all, the app development process is centered around delivering a solution to customers’ problems. If you don’t know what your customers’ problems are, how will you know what you are trying to solve? This is why you perform the needs analysis right away and then work form there.

Step 2: Evaluate platforms

The next step in the process is to decide which platform you want to build out your app for. This is where you will need to decide on hybrid vs. native app development and whether you will create an app for iOS, Android, or both.

When it comes to making an app on a budget, hybrid app development is aimed at being the cost-effective solution. However, should you decide to develop for only one platform, native development should still be considered as the need for hybrid won’t be there.

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Take some time to work with your development team and measure the budgets of native vs. hybrid and Android vs. iOS. Depending on your goals and what you want out of your app will decide which platform you choose to work with.  

how to make an app on a budget

Step 3: Decide on an approach

The next part of how to make an app on a budget is deciding the approach with which you will develop your app. Companies with small budgets likely don’t have the available funds to develop in-house, so outsourcing app development will probably make the most sense for your business financially.

This is not to say that developing in-house isn’t a good option. In-house development allows you to have someone on-site that can fix problems as they arise and work with you past the initial development.

However, outsourcing app development can open up more avenues by taking advantage of the team’s experience and expertise. Again, each business will have different needs that they hope to meet by developing an app, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Figure out which approach works best for you and then you can jump into the fun stuff.

Step 4: Choose your features

The next part of your app development will be where you choose the features you want to include in your app. Typically an increase in features translates to an increase in cost, so you’ll want to review the costs of each feature in order to make sure they are worth including. Features such as:

  • Ability to work offline.
  • Allow for user feedback within the app.
  • In-app purchasing.
  • Social networking capabilities.

This is also where you can examine UX design and see how much of your budget you should allocate to creating a straightforward user experience. Like we mentioned earlier, consumers are beginning to demand more out of their apps, so we recommend taking UX seriously as your users will likely respond better to that than other features you might not need.

Step 5: Submitting your app

When it comes to finally submitting your app to the different stores for distribution, cost shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle. For instance, it is currently only $25 to submit your app to the Google Play store, while it is $99 per year to have an app in Apple’s App Store. It is clear that the Android store is less expensive, but it may be that you didn’t develop for Android or it isn’t the right market for your customers.

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Basically, cost should not be your main concern here. Instead, you should look into the features of both stores to see which is best for your target audience and will have the most growth potential for your app. In the end, these will be a better indicator of if your app will perform than the cost of submitting the app.

Step 6: App marketing post-development

The final consideration and step to make an app on a budget is marketing post-development. After all, what good is an app if no one knows about it or uses it? This will be the time where you will calculate your customer acquisition cost and weight it against the different marketing techniques to find the right method to turn a profit.

Our advice here is simple: just because you made your app on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t make money with your app. By using the right marketing channels for your needs, you will be able to create a successful app that makes a return on your investment. However, instead of simply making a return, savvy developers will re-invest their extra money into making an even better app.

By following these 6 steps you will be all set to make a difference with your app without breaking the bank. So, what are you waiting for? Start your project today!