sepAmidst the link building panic and constant talk about SEO and rankings, we still have mobile to think about and work with. While having a mobile presence is incredibly important, more and more companies are beginning to dabble in app creation for their business. This is a creative way to offer another outlet for you to help connect with your audience and offer value. For many companies, this is a way to break ahead of the competition.

Why Creating an App Is Important for Your Business in 2014

The biggest reason that a company would want to create their own app is because of the always-increasing use of mobile phones around the world. In fact, according to Smart Insights, a Nielsen report shows consumer preference for mobile apps, which account for 89% of media time in mobile. Having an app is just another way to get your company out there for mobile users. Having a well optimized website is a great start, but an app could be just what you need to take your business to the next level.

Of course, you have to make sure that you're creating an app that your audience will really want to use. This includes doing a little bit of planning and trouble-shooting before actually building the app and putting it out to the app store. A few steps to follow:

  • Understand your audience, what message you want to send, and what you want your app to achieve with users. I recommend checking out other apps in your industry to see how they are setup. Use your own knowledge as well to come up with something you would actually want to use on your phone.
  • Build and optimize the app. Most companies use tools to build an app. More on this in the next section.
  • Put the app out to the app store for people to start downloading. In order to do this you need to create a distribution certificate, profile, validate your app, and then submit. It can seem pretty involved, so I recommend following the steps found here.

When it comes to price, I recommend giving your app away for free unless it is incredibly intricate. Once your app becomes a little bit more popular and you add more features, you may want to consider a paid or premium version. As a small business, though, its best to get your app out there first to gain that visibility and popularity.

Tools to Help You Create an App for Your Company

Most companies choose to use some sort of tool to help them build an app. This is the easiest way to get started as well as submit your app to the app store for developers or small business owners at any level. In other words, with many of these tools you don't need to be too comfortable with HTML5 or coding.

Below are some of the most popular tools for creating an app:

  • AdMob. This is a platform by Google, so what's unique about this is how it integrates with other Google features such as Google Analytics. It helps you monetize your app as well as promote it once its live.
  • TheAppBuilder. This tool offers a few different structures to help you build your app and customize it to your liking. If you choose, TheAppBuilder will help provide you with training to make sure you don't miss a beat.
  • Appcelerator Titanium. This tools is better used for developers who have a little bit of HTML5 and Javascript understanding. The tool uses native controls, so its easy to pick up if you have this knowledge prior to creating the app.

Google also just announced two new tools powered by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to help you grow your mobile app business. The first deals with analytics becoming a larger part of AdMob, and the second discusses new content experiments with GTM. You can check out the announcement for more detail.

What about App Optimization?

App optimization is incredibly important because it will help bring your app to the top of the app store. The app store has search algorithms just like any search engine, so you want to be able to keep up with any updates and optimize your app the best you can. This will involve a lot of management and different tools, a few popular tools including the App Store Optimization Keyword Volume Estimator, AppCod.es, and Flurry. Things such as keywords also play a role in app store optimization, so you always need to be thinking about what people may type in to search for your app.

I wrote a more detailed article on app store optimization (ASO) that you can check out here on Search Engine Journal.

Has your company created an app? What is your app about, and have you found it to be a positive move for your company? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: census.gov

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, one of the leading SEO companies in the United States.

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