How to Make an App 

When making an app, it is important to consider the following factors: budget for your app, the type you need, your industry, and more. From development methods to app-specific features to marketing strategies, this guide will cover those factors and list the necessary steps in creating a mobile application. 

how do i make an app

How to Create an App

Before even moving to the first stage of how to make an application, your company must focus on the components of pre-application development. 

Pre-Application Development 

Define Goals 

There is so much freedom in creating an app from scratch. Defining goals will provide the company and its team with a sense of direction from start to finish. SMART goals is a goal-making process to create that outline. By nailing down the components of SMART goals, the overall, long-term vision for the app will become much clearer. All SMART goals should be: 

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Attainable  
  • Realistic 
  • Timely

Please note that the final set of objectives don’t necessarily have to be restricted to a monetary return on investment. Rather, the goals can specialize in other-related key performance indicators (KPI) like the amount of users or focus on what problems the app is aimed to solve. To achieve the latter target, it requires market research. 

Market Research 

If the app is meant to be a solution to a consumer problem, it is more efficient to pinpoint the scope of the problem and then create a solution for it than to create a solution to then try to fit it in a problem that might not even exist in the first place to be solved. More importantly, which consumer base has this issue? Who is the solution serving? By identifying buyer personas, the target audience can be narrowed down. 

Whether through personal interviews or brief surveys, companies sometimes directly contact these users directly to understand their relationship with the problem better. From there, they can plan a better approach to optimizing a solution. There might be already pre-existing servers available for rent that tackle the same issue.  

On the same note, market research involves analyzing the competitors. Especially if the app would be in a competitive industry, aspiring app developers can know the qualities and characteristics that successful apps already have. On app stores, customers explicitly share what they enjoy and dislike about the same apps in their ratings and reviews. The direct feedback offers insights on what top qualities, characteristics, and improvements should be considered in making the app.   


Essentially, the wireframe of the app is the layout with core interface components. With an outline, design mockups can be sketched which further encourages what different pages – such as the main screens and navigation – can look like. Within the wireframe, the developers can create a tech specification, or “tech spec,” for the internal structure and function of the app. 

Graphic Design 

In consideration of the visual components of the app, there are established app design templates. If the visuals are produced from scratch, it is recommended to hire a professional graphic designer, as the role is very different from a web developer. 

make an app

How to Develop an App

The first official stage of how to make an app is choosing a development method

Development Methods 

Native Development

The native development method is the most time and costly. However, building an app from scratch offers the full scope of producing it to exactly what the company wants. 

The native development method requires low-level coding. Different software, such as iOS and Android, requires different coding languages. Unless the founder is a technical person, you can hire a specialized developer to take over coding. On the same note, a designated team should help out the process. For example, a lead web developer can create the base infrastructure for hosting data. A quality control specialist and a project manager can keep the project in check.

Hybrid App Development 

The hybrid app development process is a worthy alternative to the native development method. While the costs can become similar, the common coding language of JavaScript allows for the app to be created once and plugged into iOS and Android. 

While a hybrid app does not require as much coding as the native process, it would still require some moderate web development skills. 

Rapid App Development  

In retrospect to the previously mentioned procedure methods, the rapid app development requires less technical abilities and costs, making it a popular choice among non-technical beginners.  

Depending on how resourceful the tool is, the efficiency allows for businesses to enter the market faster. Commonly, the pre-existing tools can be used to create the interface and the tech spec. 

Cookie Cutter Apps 

Similar to the rapid app method, cookie cutter apps enable companies to also join the market quickly.  

Similar to how website makers provide base websites that are customized to the user’s liking, cookie cutter apps are base apps that are customized to the developer’s liking. The text, colors, digital graphics, images, and even features can be personalized. 

No coding, technical skills, or expertise is required to make an application, within the provided foundation. While it is ideal for low budgets, cookie cutter apps are not great for business ventures because the company can not expand much unless they switch to another development method that has more coding opportunities.  

how to develop an app

Make an App 

The next stage? Make the actual application! Aside from coding, there are some other steps to do simultaneously. 

Measure Progress

With the context that there are many components that go into developing an application, tasks can get lost or overlooked. When you are in the development phase, set mini goals to track the overall progress of your development. A project development system or manager can be hired to oversee this very duty.  


A minimum viable product, more commonly known as a MVP, is the core, or “minimum,” structure of a product that still offers something – the “viable” portion – to customers. In other words, the MVP is a product with all the basic, necessary components to perform its intended purpose for customers. 

A MVP is important to monitor as there is generally a wide range of freedoms in the development processes. Without a narrowed focus, businesses can get lost and mis-allocate their efforts. In other words, without a sense of direction, developers could focus energy on a not-so-important aspect of the application, which ultimately costs money and time.  

Quality Assurance 

For quality assurance purposes, you need to test your application before its official launch. Test your product before official launch and see how it performs on different devices. Especially if you coded it from scratch, where there can be unintended errors or the coding doesn’t translate as expected. 

Having a soft launch to test run with actual users also brings up opportunities to get real feedback on user experience. 


After everything has been revised, it’s time to officially launch your app! When submitting to all the different application stores, make sure to read through their guidelines to sign and submit the necessary paperwork. 


While the post-launch is the aftermath, the work is not necessarily over. Now it’s time to get the app in the hands of the users. Just because it’s a great app, that doesn’t necessarily mean people will use it; they need to know about it first. This can be achieved through media strategies

Focus on Outreach 

Hire a marketing team to run the different strategies in marketing the app. Generally, prospects can be guided to the website or social media outreach to learn more about the app. These media components can be established way ahead of time, before any launches. 

These channels can garner potential customers and build followers with an established interest so that when the app does official launch, there is already a user base.  

how to create an app

App Store Optimization (ASO) 

Even within the app store, the app’s information can be optimized to appear more frequently in searches. Whether it’s a highly competitive industry or a very niche field, the increased visibility helps with more downloads. It’s similar to optimizing the search engine but in the scope of an app store. 

Relevant Keywords 

Use relevant keywords based on singular terms or phrases. However, please note to be strategic in using buzzwords. Using non-related keywords, also known as keyword stuffing, would send red flags and actually degrade the app’s ranking on the app store. 

Title and Description

The title and description are the key components for first impressions. Generally, the title has 25 characters maximum, as anything over that letter count would be cut off in search results. So keep it concise and catchy. Similarly, the maximum for the description is 250 characters before users would have to click “read more.”  

Companies can also search to see how their test title and descriptions compare to their competitors. 


When prospects click through an app store search result, they’ll see a more in-depth explanation of what the application does. Display pictures of the interface and unique features among the page. 

With related graphic icons, screenshots, and aesthetic colors, the visuals can set apart one app from the rest. 

More Feedback

Remember creating those KPIs goals from earlier? Marketing KPIs can also be created to measure how customers are receiving outreach strategies. 

Similar to collecting feedback from the test batch of users, a feedback system should be established for the official application. Expand beyond marketing analytics and reviews on app stores and online pages by directly contacting customers. Businesses can ask for feedback on what works and what can be improved. With this insight, they’ll have a clearer idea on what and how to revise the actual app and improve the overall MVP. 

If you need help building your own application, SEO Design Chicago provides application development services.

how to make an app

FAQs about Creating an App:

  • How do you make an app step by step?
  • What is a cookie cutter app?
  • Can I build my own app?
  • How do I help people find my app?
  • How hard is it to create an app?

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