What are the steps to BuildAnApp?
- First, the user completes the various fields in the "Quick Start" tabs. Once these tabs have been populated, the user clicks on "Create Application." At this point, they will have the ability to edit the application's content, change styles, add or remove pages from their application, or publish their application as-is.
- If the user chooses to make further changes to their app, they will be directed to pages where they can populate the content for each page in their app or upload a custom background image. (This background image will also be used as the icon for the app.) The user can preview the application throughout the process of populating the content.
- When the creator is satisfied with the application, they enter the e-mail addresses of the people they would like to notify about the availability of the application and click the publish button. BuildAnApp then sends an e-mail with links for Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile downloads to users/e-mails they entered and also submits the application to the app stores the content creator selects (iPhone app store is necessary to distribute iPhone apps).
Why would a small business want to develop a smartphone application?
Consider the rise of the Internet back in the 90s. Many small businesses struggled to understand the benefits of having a Web site to promote their business. And even if they did understand the value, they didn’t know how to go about creating a Web site or what content to propagate the site with. Today, mobile is becoming the de-facto communication engagement tool which presents significant business opportunities.
While many small businesses and organizations understand the value that smartphones offer to engage directly with key audiences, they have been largely excluded from the smartphone application development space due to lack of resources (i.e. IT staff or development expertise and constrained budgets) with no viable option to deliver a mobile application to their target audiences.
BuildAnApp offers an affordable, simple Web-based solution that provides users the ability to easily create, distribute and manage smartphone applications without any development knowledge.
- Community organizations: Say you’re the director of a Little League organization. With BuildAnApp the director of the league could easily develop a smartphone application that lists game schedules, maps of playing fields, contact lists, etc. so busy parents can easily access game times and location information right at their fingertips. No more digging though e-mails or trying to access a Web site while on-the-go.
- Another example could be a neighborhood chamber of commerce looking to create an application that includes a comprehensive list of local stores, restaurants, community events, city map and other information for those who either live in the town or looking to re-locate or visit the town.
- Small businesses: Say you’re the owner of a regional chain of children’s toy stores. You could create and distribute a smartphone application to remind customers about your store locations, hours and special offers or sales for that busy mom looking to pick up a last-minute birthday gift for their child’s classmate in between chauffeuring them to soccer practice and swim lessons.
- Another example could be the owner of a yoga studio who wants to create an application that offers the latest class descriptions, times, instructor information, pricing, guest policy, etc. to that on-the-go customer who decides to drop into a yoga class at the last minute.
- Another user scenario could include a wholesaler. You’re the owner of a BBQ ribs company and you want to keep your sales force up-to-date on your company’s specials and inventory. You could build a smartphone application that enables you to push out relevant sales information to your employees working in the field who need the latest information in a single click.
- Independent Web site designers: A small, independent Web site developer could use BuildAnApp to offer value added services by developing a smartphone application for new and existing clients.
How much does it cost?
Creating your app with BuildAnApp is very cost-effective. You can decide how much you would like to spend as we only charge a small up-front fee to create your app, and then optional fees for posting to the Apple App Store and/or making changes to your app in the future. Click here to see our pricing.
How do the end users get the apps?
For Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile platforms, the end-user gets an e-mail, opens the e-mail on the device, clicks on a link and the app installs right then over the air. iPhone users will find and download the app in the iPhone App Store. Users with any platform that has a web browser can click on the mobile browser link in the email and view the app.
So, if I create an app using this service, it’s immediately available and distributed to Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile users?
Yes, in about one minute or less to users for whom you already have e-mail addresses.
Tips for Apple App Store Submissions
After an application is created and the AppStore submission fee has been paid, the application is packaged up and sent to Apple's AppStore for review and posting. We will submit the app using your Apple developer ID which you must provide to us at the time of publication. To register for an Apple Developer account and for the iOS developer program visit http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/. You must pay Apple's $99 annual fee and we must have your login information in order to publish your app on your behalf. We will only keep it on file until your app has been approved and posted. This process can take anywhere from two to four weeks, and entry into Apple's AppStore is entirely at Apple's discretion. Here are some guidelines that will improve your application's chances of being accepted by Apple:
- Don't be Too Promotional: Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will most likely be rejected.
- Be Useful to Your Audience and the Broader iPhone Community: Apple and your audience are probably not interested in an app that includes only a schedule, or only news, or only contact information. However, if you combine those three items and add a map, an RSS feed from expert resources, a list of "how to" tips, links to videos and/or links to a Facebook or Twitter page, now you have something that is more interesting and useful. It's not just abuot the quantity or the kind of information; it's a combination of both that make the app acceptable for posting to the App Store.
- Be Genuine: If you're a coffee shop owner, you probably have a passion for fair trade coffee and/or your neighborhood. Share that passion in your app with news, feeds, and other info. Your customers will appreciate it, and even people who don't drink coffee will appreciate it. Additionally, this will improve your chances of getting your app in the App Store. The same tips apply for all types of companies or organizations. Share great content and show a passion that extends beyond yourself and your organization.
- Be Original: The more unique your app, the more compelling it will be. Put content in it that is not found elsewhere: App-Only Coupons, Schedules, Community Information, Tips, etc.—information that is more useful "in your hand."
- Be Humble: We know you're excited about the potential for having your app in the App Store and for the opportunities to reach new people that accompany this (that's exactly why we created this service.) Try to make the app about more than just you or your business. This may sound similar to the point above, but "vanity apps", "app store spam", or "business card apps" will not be approved by Apple. (We will not submit apps of this nature to Apple for that reason.)
- Be an "App", Not Just a Webpage for the Phone: Apps, by definition, should utilize the robust functionality of the iPhone. So, include pages such as "Click to Contact," "Maps," "Social Media," and "Menus." Include dynamic content and plan to update your app frequently.
- Be Patient: Acceptance to the App Store requires judgement made by human beings at Apple, so while we can offer guidelines on how to make an app that Apple will accept, they are only guidelines, not rules. If, for any reason, your app is rejected, we'll work with you and Apple in an effort to get the app approved. It may become obvious that Apple won't approve your app based on the content and/or functionality. As such, we will resubmit your app once for free, and a second time for an additional $49.99. We will not resubmit apps a third time.
When will my App be available through the App Store?
Submission to the Apple App Store and approval takes between two and four weeks. There is no guarantee that your app will be approved. If your app is approved and posted to the Apple App Store, BuildAnApp will send an e-mail, including a link to the app, to the creator of that app.
How does the content on the application get updated?
When the content creator makes changes to the content, the next time the user opens the application, it checks for updates and pulls the update over-the-air.
Most often this is a very “light” update of the content. Even if it involves graphics, images, etc. it will be a fairly quick update because BuildAnApp doesn’t re-install the whole application, just the items that have been changed.
Could someone use BuildAnApp to create an application and submit to the Apple App Store in order to sell it and make money off of it?
At this time, apps created using BuildAnApp cannot be sold for a fee through the app stores. This is something that we may support in the future.