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Mobile App Market: How you throw the net where the fish is

This is a follow up to the previous article, Mobile App Market: Joining the gold rush. In this article we will be giving some tips on how you can make relevant apps and possibly start making some cash.

Your first major project


Why are we giving these tips – because there is more to benefiting from the mobile app market than the mere creation of an app. The app that will most likely generate you money has to be new, innovative and relevant to a targeted market. You want people to download it, there is therefore a need to undertake a preliminary research to make sure that a good number of people will want your app. Next you need to go over optimum ways of creating your app, by optimum I mean affordable and time efficient. After you have created the app you need to upload it onto the appropriate application store or a number of them. Lastly you need good marketing for your app, there are already a lot of apps out there make sure people know about yours.

Market Research

While it is all good to start working on a project that really excites you, you however need to research on the relevancy of the app you are imagining. Do people want it? Are they already looking for it? If not, then the app might not generate you much income.

One way to go about this is using Google Trends to find out what people are search for. Then go to app stores and find the number of apps that match those searches. Your choice of app should be the type that is found least in the app stores but with functionality that is most searched for on search engines.

Naming your App

It is all good to name your app after your name, TinasheMbare app, however it is not likely that many people are searching for that name on Google, unless you are famous. A wiser way of naming your app will be using Google Trends and identifying keywords/phrases that people are using for searches. Then name your app using those keywords/phrase. If the keyphrase is too long then you will just have to include the keyphrase in the description of your app.

Let’s say a thousand people are searching for African delicious recipes. You can name your app “Afrilicious” app and in your description say “A real guide that helps you prepare the best of African delicious recipes” . That will likely improve your app’s Google search ranking when people search for African delicious recipes. Again look in the app stores before going ahead with any name.

Similar apps

Research on similar apps with roughly the same functionality as what you are aiming to achieve, most likely they will be there. Studying their download statistics will give you a rough idea of how much people will be interested in your app’s concept. You can use Top App Charts. If similar apps are adequately famous, then work on how you can make yours better. This is either by giving your app more features to make it fancier, or in some instances, less features to make your app lighter and compatible with lower-tech phones e.g. feature phones.

Project planning: Requirements analysis

Requirements analysis just means research and come up with what exactly you want to achieve.

Let’s say you want to create the Afrilicious app, an app which guides a chef on preparing African dishes, roughly part of your requirements list would be:

  1. The app must run on Windows phone, Android and Blackberry
  2. The app should be able to time and tell the chef when to add ingredients e.g. if recipe is sadza, output: heat water… wait for 10 mins… buzz and output: Add mealie meal
  3. The app should have a nutrients content calculator and thus be able to suggest the best African recipes based on specified number of calories, time to prepare and available ingredients
  4. The app should communicate with the server and download recipe updates when new ones are available.

Of course your list will be a whole lot longer and more precise than mine. Such a list will guide you (the developer) through the creation of the mobile app to ensure that your end-result will be exactly what you intended. There tends to be a lot of compromise and deviation during development if you don’t make your requirements list clear-cut.

Developing the app

This is the part where you develop your app based on your requirements list.

Registering with an application store


After your app has been created your next step is to upload it to an app store. There are a number of application stores on the internet. To name some major ones:

  1. Google Play
  2. App Store
  3. Nokia Ovi Store
  4. Windows Phone Store
  5. Blackberry App World
  6. Samsung apps

Factors to consider when choosing an app store

The first factor to consider is popularity. This of course determines how often your app will get downloaded. The fact that your app is made for a Samsung phone does not automatically mean the Samsung app store is the best store for you. A closer look may actually reveal that the majority of Samsung owners actually download their apps from Google Play, just saying.

Another factor to consider is the cost associated with each store. Stores have different charges on registration and commission. Google Play’s registration for instance costs $25 and Google charges 30% commission on every app download, Microsoft and Apple charge an annual fee of $99 and both also charge a commission of 30% on every download. To register on Google Play therefore, you need a VISA or MasterCard account with at least $25 chargeable from it.

Third party stores

Third party stores are also a good way to enhance your app’s exposure. Examples of them are:

  1. Amazon App Store
  2. Getjar
  3. Opera Mobile Store
  4. PocketGear
  5. Cellmania

Third party app stores basically link to the main app stores like Windows Store and Google Play. A good number of people download their mobile apps from third party stores. In-fact some of the third party store are even more popular that the app stores themselves, for instance GetJar has been said to be the second-most-popular app store after the Apple Store, to date Getjar has 1 billion downloads.



Lastly I would like to put a quote from a friend, “If you want to make money, go out there and find a problem, come up with a solution for it and sell the solution.

If you have any questions feel free to post a comment

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