Do you really need an app for that?

I’m not going to rain on your app parade…but I do want you to think about that shiny new app you’ve had your eye on. The business down the road just spent major bucks on one and you saw them marketing it in your community. Everyone’s downloading it right?? It’s the cool thing to do.

But wait. Let’s think about this more. I want to give you 4 reasons why you don’t need one. Yes, you most likely really don’t need one. At the same time, if these 4 reasons don’t apply to you…it’s 4 reasons why you might need one. Funny how that goes right?

For the sake of being clear, I believe that for the majority of businesses investing the time and money in an app is not needed. Some people will definitely disagree with my assessment on this subject, but from my own investigation, it appears that a majority of these people have a personal investment in building and selling apps. It’s the equivalent of going to a car dealership and asking, “Do you think I really need a new car?” Of course, you do.

Take a moment to think about the apps you use on a daily basis. For me personally, they fall into three categories…social media, news, and games in that order. Each of these has one thing in common, money. You either purchased the app, or you’re the product, i.e. you’ve downloaded a free app in exchange for advertising.

1.    Your site is responsive, right?

Hopefully, your site is already built to be responsive. If it is, it’s mobile ready. If someone is on their phone they have the ability to access your site and whatever you need them to see.

In fact, back on April 21, 2015, Google began rewarding sites that are built to be responsive via their search algorithm. Don’t know if your site meets these guidelines? Google provided a nice tool to check it out:

2.    You need a purpose

Every site has a purpose. Some are replacements for old yellow page ads. Some are used to promote events. Some are all about resourcing people with useful information. Some have all of the above.

What purpose would your app serve that your site doesn’t already accomplish? Why would someone continue to revisit it? Basically, what’s the compelling reason to download your app and then use it regularly? If you can answer those questions, then build an app. Most can’t. 

3.    App development costs

Apps aren’t free. To build your app you will have to most likely work with a company that knows how to build apps. I can’t tell you specifically how much this will cost…a lot depends on how custom it will need to be. I’ve seen template-based apps start at $50 a month. Some have upfront fees on top of that.

Will your app only be built for Apple devices or will you go after all the devices? They don’t speak the same language and have different specifications, aka. extra costs!

4.    Ongoing app maintenance

In addition to your website, you will also now have to maintain your app. It will need information updated to it. You weren’t thinking you could just throw it out there and never worry about it again, were you? Think about the time investment. Also what happens every time a larger interface comes out? Do you have to go back in and redesign the app?

Now that I’ve stated my four reasons why you don’t need an app, do you have any examples of cases where I am wrong? I’d love to hear some stories that could change my mind.

Maybe you’ve developed an app and saw zero return on investment. Share that story too so we can help others to save a few bucks!

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