The approach I am going to take here – based entirely on experience – is to neglect non-Apple platforms. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t include Android and even Windows in your app strategy. However, for making money, the iOS app store still remains king. Based on my experience as a four year veteran of the app store wars, the best way to move forward is to establish an Apple oriented business first. Then create Android versions of your apps and consider entering the Windows app store. With that in mind, lets see what tools we need.
You may or may not be a developer yourself, but even if you hire someone to create the apps for you, it’s very important to have a device to test out the apps on. In addition, you’re going to need a device to explore other apps in the store for market research. You’re going to want to download apps, use them, and think about how to improve on them while using them on your device, not just looking at pictures on websites and cooking up ideas. So if you’re serious about running an app business and don’t have an iPhone, get one as soon as possible.
Some “appreneurs” recommend only developing iPhone apps, but that’s foolish. Neglecting the iPad world means neglecting tens of millions of other users that want apps for their iPads. You are going to want an iPad in addition to an iPhone so that you can evaluate the user experience on the iPad as well, and do research in the app store on iPad only apps. You may, for specific applications, also want to develop iPad only apps. The tablet market is exploding so why neglect it? Thinking iPhone only is backward, limited thinking.
A Mac computer is required to develop apps for the app store and submit them to the app store so Apple can sell them for you. So that you’re not missing any pieces I recommend getting a recent model Mac of some kind for your business. This is a business – so you should go all in on the Apple ecosystem. While some people like doing their research on an iPhone, a Mac computer makes this much easier. The iTunes app for the Mac computer makes browsing and searching easier, and its also easier to go back and forth between the app store and websites used for research like appshopper.com.
In a future chapter we discuss why you should include making and selling Mac apps as part of your business – so there’s another reason to get a Mac. There are many options available, even if you just get a Mac mini or a Macbook Air, you’re doing the right thing.
Chances are most readers are not computer software developers. So, you’re going to need to hire developers. If you live in the US, Australia, Canada, or Europe, software developers in your local country are going to be too expensive, and if you can avoid it why get tangled up with nasty things like payroll taxes. That means you’re probably going to be hiring developers overseas, like from China, India, or Russia. A good developer is going to want to interact with you. So make sure you have Skype installed on your computer for the occasional meeting so you can keep tabs on what they are doing.
Simply put, Apple requires one. For low-cost, easy to use hosting, sign up at Bluehost.com. You will need to have a website where users can contact you for technical support that you submit with each of your apps. Many developers don’t put much effort into the website, for now you can just create a single page with an email address that people can use to contact you to ask questions or get technical support.
Generally, blogs are tedious. But consider writing one where you update your fans about apps your developing and releasing. Write articles about great features in your apps and plans for future apps (that you’re willing to reveal of course). If a blog is successful, its a good way to bring in some free web traffic and hence publicity for your apps that you gather outside the appstore.
These days, many people are making money from “freemium”. They post free apps in the store that serve ads. I’m not as much of a fan of this, because I’m more interested in giving customers value (and customers will pay for value) than I am trying to scam them into clicking on ads with a free game. Nonetheless, this approach does offer an opportunity to bring some money in. So as part of your prep for building a successful app business sign up. The best services are applovin.com and revmob.com. Like everything in the app store, the ad world is fast changing. When I first started with it I was making $4,000 a month from one app only using revmob. Now revmob doesn’t generate nearly as much, but applovin works pretty well. By the time you read this things might be totally different so do your research.