In Part 1 , we discussed factors you need to consider when you set out to create a custom app for your business, as well as how these affect what method or tool you choose to get the job done. Today we are going to help you find a DIY App Development Tool that is a “best fit” for your needs.
When choosing a service to create your app, it’s a given that you want to keep costs down as much as possible but you still want to have an end-product that you can be proud of. With so many DIY app programs on the market (and more on the way) – all claiming to be the “best” and “easiest” to use – the process of choosing one can seem a bit daunting, especially if you are a busy entrepreneur with little “free” time for research. We reviewed dozens and dozens of articles and websites and put together a list of DIY App Programs that we consider worthy enough to receive our brand new “Go for Good Enough” Awards.
Programs were evaluated on these criteria:
And the Winners are (in alphabetical order) …
Bizness APPS – Bizness Apps was built from the ground up with small businesses in mind. From our ease of use to the features that we offer inside our apps – we are specifically designed for small businesses. Try for free. Because pricing starts at $29 month, Bizness Apps is likely to be a TOP solution for businesses on a budget when it comes to developing a quality app with room to expand.
KitApps – Forget about printing hundreds of copies of your event guide, only to reprint if something changes. Turn your guide into a mobile app in as little as 30 minutes. It’s always up-to-date and has all the features you need like a schedule, speaker list and much more. At the time of this article, KitApps provides a way to make apps that are designed for conferences and events but site says that other options such as real estate, restaurants and bars, schools and news organizations will be coming soon. Read our review of KitApps.
Magmito - From everyday people to small and mid-sized businesses, anybody can create apps with Magmito to promote products, events, services and more and publish, for as low as $4.99 per app. Magmito for Business – Create and publish an app, ad-free up to 50 pages for just $9.99. Includes one month of unlimited updates. To update your app after 30 days, pay $9.99 for each month you wish to make updates. OR, pay $99.99 for one year of unlimited app updates.
Mobile Roadie - Mobile Roadie is an app creator that allows anyone to create and manage their own iPhone app, Android app, iPad app or mobile website. Has a free trial. Compared to some of the others on this list, starting at $99 month, Mobile Roadie is a little more pricey – but if you want to develop a more advanced app with lots of features, it’s definitely worth looking into. You will recognize some of the names on their client list.
SwebApps – SwebApps is a way to build, track and update a native mobile application for your business or organization. It allows you to create an iPhone and/or Android application online. Once your app is available for download via the iTunes Store or Android Market, you can update your content in real time (at any time). Like Mobile Roadie, SwepApps is more expensive than some of the other winners (Basic has $399 development fee and monthly hosting charge of $29) but depending upon your needs, it might be the right solution.
TheAppBuilder – With TheAppBuilder you can build a simple to use, yet powerful App in minutes for your business, event, group, class, band, sport, guide or whatever you want! Anyone can create and distribute a web app instantly for FREE. If you wish to submit your App to the 4 major stores (Apple™ AppStore℠, Google Play™, Windows® Phone Marketplace and Windows® 8 Store) or distribute it privately within your organization you can choose one of their premium plans.
Tiggzi – Build real HTML5, jQuery Mobile mobile apps and hybrid apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone (with Apache Cordova/PhoneGap). As the builder is running in the cloud, there is nothing to install or download so it’s very easy to build your app. Has Free plan, bigger plans range from $15 to $50 per month/per user.
Special Recognition goes to…
Aisle Buyer for its Ground-Breaking Mobile Commerce Platform. Aisle Buyer (recently aquired by Intuit) provides businesses the ability to develop a very specialized type of app – one with FULL e-commerce features that can be used instead of traditional stationary cash registers. AisleBuyer’s platform and applications combine the best of e-commerce and in-store retail with the capabilities that mobile technology provides – empowering your store employees with the tools to assist shoppers without ever leaving their sides.
Appcelerator for creating Titanium, the leading mobile platform of choice for thousands of companies seizing the mobile opportunity. Although Appcelerator was not specifically designed for business, it is definitely one of the leading app development tools. Gartner Research called Appcelerator a “Visionary” in their recent Magic Quadrant Analysis of the rapidly growing market for mobile software platforms. Depending upon your experience and knowledge, Appcelerator may not be the best choice for you but it is worth taking a look at. Appcelerator offers plans (including a free one) and pricing to help you think big, start small, and scale according to your needs.
The Runners Up are…
Programs in this category are either relatively new (but show potential) or don’t have as many advanced features. All promote themselves as being geared towards businesses. For SMBs on a VERY strict budget (or who want to test their feet in the app world before making a big commitment), these tools may be the best place to start.
Honorable Mention goes to…
These tools all have great features and are leaders in the DIY app arena, but were not specifically designed with the needs of small businesses in mind. Depending what you want your app to do, one of these may be the direction you want to go.
Resources for Additional Research