5 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make when Developing Apps for the Web
More and more companies are developing web apps as a means of engaging with their customers. They tend to be developed for one of three reasons; to improve customer experience, to boost sales, or to be more competitive than others in the same market.
What is a web app?
A web app is a simplified version of your website which focuses on the main processes and actions carried out by your users. It is used within a web browser, unlike a mobile app which is downloaded onto your device.
Why does my business need a web app?
Web apps have shown better results than websites when it comes to sales growth and customer engagement.
Developing a web app means that you have an additional channel to make sales. It will provide simplicity for your customers to complete transactions, but also open the opportunity for a new platform where you can provide personalized advertising and upselling.
It will provide you with the chance to directly engage with anyone who has downloaded your app and allow you to send push notifications of deals and bonuses, encouraging a transaction further.
More often than not, users will be coming to your website to complete one of a few actions. By providing them with a web app, allows them to create these actions more efficiently. It also means you have the ability to save details and make personalizations, again making the journey easier for the user.
This simplistic view will help improve customer engagement (providing you get it right) as it takes the stress away from what they are trying to complete. Furthermore, the ability to send push notifications and alerts to users, means you will be getting your messaging in front of them more repetitively so your brand is not forgotten.
So, we have established why your business would benefit from having a web app, but there are a number of common mistakes that are made during the development process which can cause it to flop.
With so much competition in the web app market, it is essential to make your app perfect otherwise your customers may just go elsewhere. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common mistakes made when developing an app for the web…
Simply recreating your website
The purpose of creating a web app is to simplify what you have on your website to allow your users to easily perform the core actions they would usually take on your website. For example, an e-commerce website app needs to let people browse, select and pay in as few steps as possible, whereas an online banking app will need to allow users to transfer money and view statements.
All too often, when deciding to create a web app, companies end up creating a carbon copy of their existing website. Not only does this make using the app redundant, but it can also lead to a lot of bugs and technical issues. In web app development, less is more!
Therefore, before taking the first step it is important to carry out some research, determine what actions your users perform most on your website, clearly define the purpose of your app and map the user journey accordingly.
This will provide you with a clear picture of what to include once you begin the design and development stages.
Over complication of UI
When developing a web app, it is important to ensure your branding stays consistent across all platforms. But, a web app also needs to be simple.
Too often when developing an app for the web, companies make their user interface too complicated. Too many animations, too many options, too many ads…
Once again, this is where your previous research will come into play. By determining the most common actions your users take on your website, you can ensure you provide the options they will be looking for. Preventing them from becoming overwhelmed and thus improving customer satisfaction.
Offering fewer options is not only beneficial for the user but for your company too. The fewer options you offer, the more you can guide your users down the actions funnel you want them to take.
For example, if you give them the option to proceed to cart or continue shopping, they can only go down one of two routes. Start adding in additional ads and non-revenue options such as blogs, they may be taken away from the sales process altogether.
Furthermore, over-complication or excess design throughout the app can increase the load speed of each section. Load speed is continuing to grow in importance, meaning that the slower your app is, the more it will affect the customer experience.
The last thing to consider with regards to customer satisfaction and user experience is the registration process. It is common for most web apps to allow users to register their details and remain signed in so that their preferences are saved.
This is ideal but also where many apps fall down with regards to user experience. When designing the registration process, it is essential to keep the process as simple as possible and only collect the information you really need.
Users have become increasingly security-aware when providing their information online. To keep the user experience as positive as possible, asking only top-line information that will allow you to better your engagement with them.
Poor marketing strategy
The next biggest mistake refers to the process of developing an app for the web as opposed to the physical development itself. Too often, companies spend all of their time and focus on creating their apps, that they forget to consider how they are going to get their app in front of potential customers.
This lack of marketing strategy is often paired with believing the app will market itself due to your existing brand, or simply be found within the app stores. But with over 100,000 apps being released each month, the sheer competition speaks for itself as to why this process doesn’t work.
When deciding to create a web app, you should also put in place a clear marketing plan. Who will you be marketing it to? Are they existing customers or potential customers? How is it best to reach them?
Marketing a web app can still be done by leveraging the various other channels you would use to market your website or products. For example, social media, paid advertising, coverage in relevant blogs and magazines.
You may also find it beneficial to market it on your existing website with banners and demo videos. This way you can leverage your website's existing marketing to gain further traction.
Lack of Cost Consideration
Making an app isn’t cheap, and when you take into account that only 1% of apps go on to make money, it is possible that your investment may result in a loss. When deciding to develop an app, many companies do so with the intent of making further revenue from this additional customer channel.
The important thing to remember is that there is a huge amount of monetary investment required before your app is likely to start making money, even if it is one of the 1% successful ones.
Furthermore, web app development is not an infinite process. So even once your app has gone live and being used, you are still likely to have to deposit further investment along the way.
Let’s look into each of these separately.
When developing an app for the web, there are a number of outgoing costs you will need to pay before your app is even ready to go live. These include;
Design and Development Costs
Providing you are not a web app developer yourself, it is likely you will have to pay for a third-party company to carry out both of these on your behalf. It is essential that you do not go skipping costs on this as a badly developed web app will fail straight off the bat.
Further to this, you will have the technical costs of servers and hosting to ensure that your app runs fast and efficiently.
As discussed, it is essential to have a sufficient marketing strategy in place prior to launching your app. But as with any aspects of your business, this will require some percentage of the marketing budget.
When determining whether or not to develop a web app you should consider what marketing budget you will be able to allocate to marketing your app, and will provide sufficient coverage.
Once your app is up and running, however, the investment doesn’t just stop. Both the marketing costs and server/hosting costs will need to continue on an ongoing basis to ensure your app remains functioning and gaining new users.
But there are new costs to consider;
It is no secret that technology is a fast-changing industry, with software updates and new hardware devices available almost daily. As a result, your web app is going to require ongoing development work to ensure that it is compatible with any new technology platform which enters the market. If not, your web app will become outdated, will experience bugs and your customer experience will deteriorate.
This obviously comes with it, ongoing maintenance development costs, and on the odd occasion design also.
As with staying up to date on the technological functioning of your app, you also need to make sure you remain responsive to changes in your user behavior, needs, and trends. This requires time to analyze this crucial data and UX design costs to make sure that your app is adapted accordingly.
Again if you are unable to implement these design and development changes in the house, it will require paying third-party fees.
As you can see, there are many costs you wouldn’t necessarily consider on the face of it when deciding to create a new web app. It is important to be aware of these hidden costs and make sure that you are financially prepared so that your development doesn’t get stopped in its tracks due to budget constraints.
Lack of analytics implementation
As with websites, when it comes to ensuring the ongoing success of your web app, data is key. But all too often, companies launching new web apps do not implement enough analytics tracking to prepare for the future.
When launching an app, most will ensure that they are tracking the number of downloads that take place - After all, it’s hardly a success if no one downloads it. But if the number of downloads skyrockets, does it still mean your web app has been successful?
With our more complex analytics tracking in place, you will be unable to monitor how many of those who downloaded your app is actually using your app on a regular basis or if they even use it at all.
Being able to track customer retention via your app is essential when determining the level of success its release has been.
Furthermore, you can use your data to determine how your customers are using your app. This will allow you to identify any common issues across users, and identify the most profitable actions they take.
As the company, you can then tweak your app to rectify any issues you have identified as a means to improve the user experience.
By understanding the most profitable actions taken within your app, you can also streamline the user journey in the hope to encourage more users down this route and therefore, increase your profit further.
Lastly, implementing additional tracking will allow you to gather more information about your users and personalize their experience accordingly.
Whilst there are many things to consider when developing an app for your business, it doesn’t mean it is impossible and can actually be very successful. The Key is to carefully contemplate every step of the process individually, paying particular attention to those in the early development stages, and always keep your audience at the center of every decision you make.
Guest Blogging Team
Published on: February 10, 2021
Last updated on: April 27, 2021