Last Updated on
April 25, 2024

How to Create an App in 10 Simple Steps (2024 Guide)

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Key takeaways:
  • App development is a long and detailed process, which we can break down into Research, Design and Development phases.
  • We'll lay out a 10-step outline to follow to create your own app.
  • If you already have a website you want to make an app for, you can build your mobile app with a hybrid development tool like MobiLoud.

This article will show you how to create an app in 2024.

This is a comprehensive guide to app development. Even if you're complete new to apps, by the end of this post you'll have a good understanding of what it takes to make your own mobile app.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • How to come up with app ideas, and how to refine and validate your idea.
  • The planning and research process.
  • The app design process.
  • Different ways to create an app, and which is the best app development method.
  • Building a team to make your app.
  • Testing and improving the first version of your app.
  • Launching your app and getting your first app users.

We’re fortunate to have the experience of launching 2,000+ apps in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. In that time, we’ve learned the ins and outs of the mobile app development process. We can show you how to make an app for mobile devices without spending unnecessary resources or making your project more complicated than it needs to be.

For a more focused look at creating apps for different platforms, check out our guides on How to Develop iOS Apps, and How to Create an Android App.

Three Phases of App Development

We can break the app development process down into three phases.

First is the research phase, which makes up steps 1-3. To make a successful app, you should not skip over this step too quickly. The research process will ensure you:

  • Have a worthwhile idea
  • Know who you’re creating the app for and why
  • Have a decent idea of what your app needs to do to be successful

From here we move on to steps 4-5, which is the design phase. Again, you shouldn’t pass through this too fast. This is where you can experiment and play around, without it costing you too much.

Your development team is going to follow your design specs. Don’t expect them to take an average design and turn it into something great. That’s not what developers do.

Development is the final stage. It’s generally the most expensive and time-consuming stage, so it’s vital you do all the prep work before you get here. Otherwise you risk wasting a lot of time and money for a substandard app.

It’s important to follow each phase in sequence. You need to do research before you can start to design, and you need to design before you can start building.

How to Make An App: a 10-Step Process to Follow

It can be a long and difficult process to build an app, particularly if you’re totally new to mobile app development.

Some years ago, building an app was definitely restricted to the realm of professional developers and funded companies with a huge amount of capital.

It can still be that way, depending on how you go about it. But there are much easier, cheaper and more efficient ways to develop mobile apps today. As we guide you through the process, we’ll share our advice on the best way to approach app development, making the best use of your resources, and allowing anyone to build an app, even with low technical knowledge and little budget.

There are ten steps to go through to develop an app. These steps are:

  1. Refine and validate your idea
  2. Define your goals
  3. Research your target market and audience
  4. Create a feature wishlist
  5. Design your app
  6. Create a development plan
  7. Build a team
  8. Build the first version of your app
  9. Test extensively
  10. Launch

Now, onto how to create an app.

1: Refine and Validate Your Idea

If you know you want to create an app, you’ll already have an idea in mind. But ideas need validation and refinement before you can be confident moving forward.

The point is to ensure your app idea is viable - that it can work, and that it will actually be useful.

Try to pick holes in your app idea. Come up with reasons it won’t work, and see if you can disprove these reasons. If possible, run it by other people and get their impression.

The more battle-tested your idea is, the better. But at the same time, don’t think you need to come up with the “perfect” idea. The success of an app more often comes down to execution, rather than a perfect idea.

Also, use this step to refine your idea, if necessary. For example, instead of just building a “news app”, make your idea more focused - such as a “Chicago area sports news app”.

Summary: it's important you have viable idea, which is not too broad. But don't stress over finding the "perfect" idea. It's better to have a good idea, executed perfectly.

2: Define Your Goals

Why are you creating the app? What do you want to achieve?

You need to know this before moving forward. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea what success means to you, and you won’t know what you’re working towards.

Are you making an app to solve a specific problem or a gap in the market? Do you already have a business, and the app is meant to serve your existing users or customers? Are you planning to make money from your app?

The answers to these questions will help shape the rest of the process. Your monetization plan, for example, will shape your app development budget. And if you know the problem you’re trying to solve, you’ll have a better idea about what features your app needs to have.

Summary: know what you want to achieve with your app, such as the problem you want to solve and what success is to you.

3: Research Your Target Market and Audience

Put the work into learning about your target market, and who your ideal users are.

This could be seen as an extension of the first step - in essence, you’re continuing to validate and refine your app idea.

You want to understand exactly who you’re building the app for, what their problems are, and what kind of solution they want/need.

There are many things you can do to conduct market research, such as:

  • Asking questions via surveys or focus groups
  • Interviewing potential users (people you think will benefit from your app)
  • Reading through forums, content, etc from your target market
  • Looking at competing apps, their marketing copy and their user reviews

If you’re building an app for your existing business (such as a mobile app for your website), talk to your users and ask them what they want in an app.

If you can, interview or gather information from users of other apps in your target market. This will give you a great idea of what they like and dislike about existing solutions.

You’ll also want to look at these competitors to see what they’re doing, what they’re not, and try to find somewhere that your app can provide an edge.

Summary: research your target market and question ideal users to understand how your app will provide an edge.

4: Create a Feature Wishlist

Using the information you’ve gathered from your target users and existing solutions, brainstorm the key features and functionality you want in your app.

These should all work towards the main goal of your app - the problem it’s meant to solve.

You’ll come away with a master list of features - a wishlist of sorts. This might include push notifications, GPS functionality, and shopping cart integration, for example.

Expand on each, and briefly describe how you expect these features to work in your app.

Once you’ve got this, you’ll want to prune the list. With each, consider if it’s really necessary.

You’ll find it easier and cheaper to launch the fewer features you have. Each feature adds complexity to your app and makes it harder to create an app that’s smooth and easy to use. More features also mean a higher cost and a longer development process.

You want your app to provide value - but try and do it with just a few core features.

Summary: draft up a list of desired features, and prune it down to just what's necessary.

5: Design Your App

Now you’re ready to move onto more of a concrete plan to design your mobile app.

A lot of things go into this stage. Don’t be tempted to skip ahead and start developing your app too soon. Fixing problems in the design process is a lot cheaper than fixing them after development has begun.

Let’s break down a few sub-steps involved in the planning and design part of the app-building process.

User Interface (UI)

Your user interface, or UI, is the visual side of your app. The UI includes color schemes, icons and fonts, and the layout of each app screen.

Start with a rough sketch. It doesn’t need to be something that would hang in the Louvre. You just need an idea of how it’s laid out and which elements go where.

Next, you can evolve your sketch into a wireframe. You’ll create a more detailed design than your initial sketch, but still focusing primarily on layout and flow instead of visual brilliance. Tools like Balsamiq, Figma, and Adobe XD are great for this.

A screen-by-screen wireframe for a mobile app [Source]

Eventually, you can give your wireframes to a professional designer to create a more detailed and visually pleasing design with coherent use of colors, typography, and spacing.

User Experience (UX)

Alongside UI design is your app’s UX, or user experience.

User experience is how people interact with your app. It’s the functionality, usability, and general feel of navigating around your app and getting value from it.

User experience might be what happens when someone clicks on a button or when they fill in a form incorrectly, or how they get to a particular screen or feature.

These are all things you should plan. The UX design process often involves creating a storyboard that plots a user’s journey through the app.

A storyboard, showing the UX journey, step-by-step [Source]

It’s something you’ll work into your wireframe as well, which is why you should design your UX concurrently with your UI.

Good UX design ensures that users have a smooth time using your app and that it is intuitive for people to take advantage of your key features.

Monetization Plan

Assuming you plan to make money from your app, how will you do it? Are you going to show ads? Sell subscriptions? Sell products or enable in-app purchases?

You should think about this at an early stage. If you don’t plan to monetize your app right away but may in the future, create a rough plan in the pre-development phase.

This way, you can plan it into your UI/UX and not have to awkwardly redesign the app later to fit your new monetization strategy.

Optional: Create an MVP

If you want to go one step further in the planning process, you can design a “Minimum Viable Product” or MVP.

Unlike a mockup or storyboard, this is a working prototype of your app. It won’t have the complete functionality of your end product and may be rough around the edges, but it will better show how your app will look and feel.

You can create a working MVP reasonably quickly using a no-code app builder. These tools give you a drag-and-drop editor and pre-coded blocks that you can use to put together your app screens and create a working prototype.

If you choose to build an MVP, it will lengthen the time it takes to launch. But it will help you iron out any issues and fine-tune your plan before you start the expensive development process.

Summary: plan and design everything before you start development, including UI, UX, desired features, and how you're going to monetize your app. You can even build a functioning MVP to get a better idea of how your app will turn out.

6: Create a Development Plan

Now we’re ready to start thinking about practical steps of how to develop your app.

You’re going to decide:

  • Which platform(s) to build for.
  • The development method you’re going to use to build your app.

This will have a big impact on the cost of your app, time to launch, cost and difficulty to maintain, and more. So pay close attention.

Platforms: Web, Android, iOS

First, what platform(s) do you want to create an app for?

The primary options are:

  • Web app
  • iOS (iPhone) app
  • Android app

(there are others, such as Windows apps, Samsung apps, etc, but they make up such a small share of the market they’re not really worth talking about)

Though you can save money, and make your project a bit simpler by building for just one platform, in 2023 you really need to be on all three - web, Android and iOS - for several reasons:

Android and iOS collectively make up more than 99% of the overall mobile OS market share.

You want a web presence, as the web is generally the best way to capture new users (from Google search or social media, for example).

It’s easier than ever to build multi-channel apps, without building a unique code base for each.

If you have a unique use case - let’s say you want to build an app for internal use in your company, and all your company devices are Android - it might make sense to keep costs down and only build on one platform.

But most who read this should do all three. This will give you full coverage of your target market and maximum potential for growth.

Development Methods

After settling on which operating system to build for, decide how you’re going to build your app.

There are five methods to choose from:

  • Native development
  • Cross-platform frameworks
  • Hybrid frameworks
  • Hybrid app builders
  • Drag-and-drop app builders

In our opinion, a hybrid app builder like MobiLoud is the best option, by far, for 95% of cases. To help you understand why, and make a decision for yourself, let’s expand on each method now.

Native Development

Native development means coding apps in the programming language native to a particular operating system.

For Android apps, this is generally Java or Kotlin. For iOS apps, it’s Objective-C or Swift.

The advantages of developing native apps are that you can design your app specifically for a particular operating system and have full access to all device features.

The downside is higher cost and complexity. It’s long and expensive to develop and deploy native apps. On average, you’re looking at somewhere between $20,000-$150,000 and 6+ months of development time.

You’ll need to multiply this cost by two if you want to develop apps for Android and iOS since each requires its own build.

It’s also complicated to keep everything consistent across each platform and to deal with multiple development teams.

Decide whether you really need to build native apps or not. There’s a cheaper option in most cases, which will be just as effective.

Cross-Platform Frameworks

You can reduce time and cost using a cross-platform programming language like React Native.

Cross-platform frameworks allow your code to run on multiple operating systems with one code base. With this, you can basically cut your development cost and time in half.

It still takes a specialized team to build cross-platform apps, so it will not be cheap. But it is much cheaper to build for both iOS and Android, since you only need to build once.

Hybrid Frameworks

Hybrid frameworks, similar to cross-platform, allow you to build mobile apps that work on multiple platforms, from one code base.

The difference between hybrid and cross-platform is that hybrid apps share code between mobile and web. The hybrid development process involves using mobile UI libraries to create the front-end of a mobile app, while using web code (e.g. a website or web app) as the backend.

Hybrid development is quicker and cheaper still than native or cross-platform, particularly if you're already starting with an active website. Though you will still need to hire someone with knowledge in one of these frameworks, such as Ionic (the average Ionic developer salary is $127,000 per year, or $62 per hour).

Hybrid App Builders

You can also build hybrid apps using a specialized app builder like MobiLoud.

MobiLoud lets you create a hybrid app, much like you would with a framework like Ionic. However, you don't need to hire any developers or write any code to do it.

It's part app builder, part service. You configure your app settings and a few UI elements, then the MobiLoud team builds it for you.

Your app content is displayed using webviews, which are live, interactive browser windows within your app.

The Only & Sons app is an example of a hybrid webview app built with MobiLoud.

Assuming you've already built your app or site for the web, this lets you go live on all three major platforms for very little work, and maintain it all from just one code base. The difference in cost, time and knowledge needed compared to building with native, cross-platform or hybrid frameworks is remarkable.

Click here to view real examples of mobile apps built using MobiLoud.

Drag-and-Drop App Builders

A significant change in the app development landscape in 2023 is the introduction of no-code app builders. These tools let anyone create an app, without writing code.

We mentioned these tools briefly earlier when discussing building an MVP. An app builder is much cheaper than coding an app, and accessible to anyone, regardless of whether you know what a string or array is.

However, you have to accept that you can do much less with these tools than with a coded app. This means reduced functionality and performance. Unless your app idea is extremely simple, you might be unable to pull it off within the limits of what an app builder offers.

We recommend using these tools only if you want to build a live prototype or MVP. You can use this prototype as an example to pass on to your development team, which builds a fully-fledged native app.

What's the Best Way to Build an App in 2024?

In 2024, the best way to build an app is to build on the web first, then build an app with a solution like MobiLoud.

If you already have a website or web app, you're sorted. Otherwise you can look into the many options to build web apps or websites, such as:

  • Web programming languages and frameworks like Rails, React, Laravel, Node.js, Vue.js.
  • Web app builders.
  • Content Management Systems (e.g. WordPress, Shopify).
  • No-code website builders(e.g. Webflow, Bubble, Squarespace).

All these are much easier and cheaper than hiring mobile developers, or building with mobile app frameworks.

Build for the web first, test it, then add Android and iPhone apps with little to no effort or work, and minimal cost.

You only want to consider something else if you're a large company with a big budget, building a mobile-first product. If you build natively, you're looking at spending hundreds of thousands, or even millions, over the life of the app.

If this is the case, it's still generally best to build cross-platform or hybrid. There is very little reason to bring on the extra cost and complexity of building separate iOS and Android apps today.

Even today's biggest companies today prefer to go hybrid or cross-platform. Burger King, BMW and eBay are some of the most high-profile examples of hybrid apps. While Meta, Microsoft and Shopify all build cross-platform apps with React Native.

Summary: we don't recommend building natively. You'll build faster, get a product that's accessible by virtually anyone and have all the benefits of native, without the cost and lack of flexibility, with a hybrid app.

7: Build a Team

Once you know which platform and framework to use for your app, you can work on the practical steps to build it.

If you’re coding your app in a native, cross-platform, or hybrid programming language, this means hiring developers on a freelance/contract basis or in permanent positions. 

Note: when you create an app, you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to maintain and update your app. You’ll need to keep developers on staff or hire freelancers for routine updates, bug fixes, and new feature additions. Factor this into your equation when creating your development plan and choosing how to develop your app.

You’ll also need to hire a project manager. A project manager keeps tabs on your development team(s) and keeps the project on spec, time, and budget.

The more complex your app will be, the bigger your team. 

Your plan will also include setting up a budget and deadline. This is important - without clear benchmarks to aim for, your project will spiral out of control in terms of money and time.

At this step, you might also find out that the whole thing will cost far too much and/or take too long the way you planned. By finding out before you start development, you can trace back through the previous steps and adjust your plan to bring down the cost.

In this case, you might cut out a couple of “nice to have” but ultimately unnecessary features or choose to go with a hybrid app instead of two separate native apps.

Hiring Developers

There are many places you can go online to find and hire developers.

You can look at freelance marketplaces like Upwork and developer-specific marketplaces like Codementor and Crew

Some of these platforms can be hit and miss, so it’s vital to thoroughly vet any potential hire and get an idea of what kind of work they’ve done in the past.

LinkedIn is another place you can look. Also, if you have a network of online business contacts, see if you can get any referrals for mobile app developers. Hiring from your network will often deliver more trustworthy people than you’ll get on freelance marketplaces.

App Development Agencies

Instead of hiring everyone yourself, you may hire an app development agency to handle everything to do with your project.

This is more straightforward, as you don’t need to worry about finding and vetting developers or managing the day-to-day. It’s out of your hands, with a team with experience in mobile app development.

The lack of control is also a downside, though. You must ensure you clearly communicate what you want from your app.

It also tends to cost a lot of money, at least for an app development company with a good track record. So you’ve got to decide whether the hands-off approach is worth what it will cost you.

Alternative: Choosing an App Builder

If you’re using an app development platform instead of hiring developers, you’ll need to decide on your tool of choice.

There are many tools out there, some incredibly cheap. But if you want to build a successful app, the race to the bottom is not worth it. You don’t want to be penny-pinching over $100-$200 per month if it results in a much lower-quality app.

When choosing an app builder, consider the functionality you can build with each tool. Check examples of real apps made with these tools. Check reviews from past users, taking into account, in particular, the level of support you’re going to get.

Many of these tools offer virtually no support, which may leave you in a bind if you run into something you can’t fix yourself.

The price should be an afterthought as long as it’s not exorbitant. Support, usability, and functionality are more important.

Summary: hiring developers gives you the most control, but is extremely expensive and complicated. For the most affordable way to create an app, use MobiLoud.

8: Build the First Version of Your App

Once you’ve planned everything out, set a clear budget, and set a deadline for completion, you can start building.

The development process usually involves two parts - building the front end and back end.

The front end is the user-facing side. This is the visual side of your app, how it looks and feels to use.

Back-end development is the behind-the-scenes code that allows your app to run in a particular environment (e.g., Android operating system). This might also include building Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, to connect your apps with other tools or apps or with your website (if you want to link your app and website).

You’ll likely have different people working on the front-end and back-end simultaneously and teams working on Android and iOS simultaneously (if applicable). This will keep your time to market at a minimum (though still expect this to take a long time - 3 months at the absolute least).

This section is the shortest in our article but the longest in real-time. That’s why it’s so important to do all your due diligence before actual development starts. Otherwise, you’ll spend a ton of money on expensive developers for an app that wasn’t what you imagined.

Summary: good planning and design should leave little for you to do in the actual development process.

9: Test Extensively

You’ll feel like you’ve hit a significant milestone when the first version of your app is shipped. It is a big milestone - but this is not the end.

Once the app is ready, test it extensively. If there are any bugs, usability issues, or things you’re not happy with, you want to identify and fix these before you launch your app to the public.

Ideally, you’ll test it during development to immediately pick up and fix problems. But you’ll only get the full picture once the full build is complete.

It may not be the end of the world if an issue makes it into your launch version. But, depending on the severity of the problem, it can lead to bad reviews and word of mouth and get your app off to a rocky start.

For large-scale projects, you can hire a dedicated QA (quality assurance) team to thoroughly test for anything that could go wrong.

For smaller projects, you can do this testing yourself or have a team member handle it.

If you uncover any bugs, problems, or things you feel need to be changed, get them fixed before launch.

Summary: testing is a key part of developing an app. Make sure you test thoroughly, and fix any problems before you launch.

10: Launch

After testing and fixing any issues that come up in testing, you’re free to launch.

🥳

There’s no set formula you have to follow for an app launch. It can be a big deal, or more of a soft launch.

But if your app is designed for public users (i.e., not a private in-house app), you should definitely publish it in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

App stores are the best way to get new users and a great show of legitimacy for your app and your business.

If you plan to launch on the app stores, get familiar with the Google and Apple App Store Guidelines before you start development. You don’t want to find that your app is not compliant after it’s already been built.

Once you’re on the app stores, optimize your listings for app store SEO and craft a compelling app store listing to maximize downloads.

If it’s essential to start making revenue from your app, develop a more extensive launch plan. This could include:

  • Building a website for your app (if you don’t have one already)
  • Email marketing
  • Creating an affiliate/referral program
  • Press releases
  • Paid social media ads
  • Influencer marketing

The core of your launch plan will revolve around app store optimization. But there’s a lot more you can do to stimulate early user acquisition.

Summary: launching on the app stores is the most important part of your launch. If you're spending a lot of money to build your app, spend more time on your launch plan to start generating revenue faster.

Post-Launch

Once you’ve launched your app, the project is finally finished… right?

Not exactly. You shouldn't just drop everything and assume that nothing more needs to be done.

You’ll get the best feedback from real users, once people start downloading and using your app. You want to do all you can to incentivize user feedback and use it to improve your app.

Enable ratings prompts within your app to automatically ask users to leave a rating/review in the app stores. This is not only good for internal use, but each positive rating helps you get more new users from the app stores.

If people create an account in your app, you can email these users to ask for feedback.

As you get more user feedback, you’ll learn many things you can improve in your app. This is one reason why the true cost of an app is more than just hiring developers. You’ll end up constantly updating and improving your app after launch, for which you need to pay developers (preferably ones familiar with your code).

How to Convert an Existing Website into a Mobile App

Most of this guide has been looking at what to do if you’re building an app from scratch and not converting an existing web app or website to an Android/iOS app.

If this is the case, you can approach it a bit differently. Let’s say you have an ecommerce website, an online community, or a media site you want to convert into a mobile app.

MobiLoud is the best way to do this. You’ll turn your website into a hybrid app, reusing a lot of the code from your website in your mobile app.

MobiLoud takes your website and turns it into an app. It's great for apps with user-generated content, like above.

You could go the native or cross-platform development route, hiring developers, hiring a project manager, and having your development team connect your apps’ back-end to your website.

Unless you need very specific new features in your mobile apps, this is a huge waste of money.

Creating a hybrid app is significantly cheaper, faster, and more straightforward. The end result will be more or less the same as what you’d get from a team of native app developers working for 3-6 months, charging exorbitant hourly rates.

"I was incredibly surprised. I saw no difference in terms of quality or functionality in our app and an app built from the ground up, that could have cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
- Gear2Go's Gavin McGarry found that their hybrid app did everything they wanted from a native app, but cheaper.

Let’s look at how to create an app with MobiLoud.

How to Build an App for Your Website with MobiLoud

Going from “I want to create an app” to “I’m ready to launch my own app” is much shorter if you’ve already built it for the web.

You have an idea. You’ll have some notion of your target market and other solutions on the market. A lot of the planning and design is behind you, unless you want the app to do something drastically different to your website.

All that’s left is to develop your app, and basically create a shell around your web code, allowing it to run on mobile devices.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Schedule a free demo to discuss your needs, and get a preview of what your website will look like as an app.
  2. Double check that the mobile version of your website is fully optimized and ready for conversion into an app.
  3. Sign up for MobiLoud, then give the ok to our team to put your app together. We take care of all the coding for you, all you have to do is wait a couple of weeks for the first build.
  4. Once the first build is ready, test the app on your own devices, and come back to us with any feedback or change requests.
  5. Pass it back to our team, who compile the final build. Once that's ready, we'll handle the app store publishing process (we've done this for 2000+ apps, and can guarantee approval for your app store listings).

With MobiLoud, you'll have a dashboard where you can configure your app-specific UI, and app-specific settings like push notification tags (handy for segmenting users and sending personalized push notifications).

You can use this to configure and preview your app before handing it off to us, or simply let us do all the work for you.

This is far cheaper and easier than dealing with freelance developers or an app development agency. Your app can be live in the app stores in less than a month, for an investment of less than $1000 up front.

Check out this video for a closer look at the process of developing an app with MobiLoud:

Post App Launch with MobiLoud

MobiLoud also handles app updates and maintenance, possibly the most valuable part of developing an app this way.

Consider the cost and hassle of updating, maintaining, or making changes to your app after launch if you hire a development team to code your apps (either in native or cross-platform frameworks).

You’ll inevitably need to make updates. That means you’ll either need to:

  • Keep mobile developers on staff permanently/on retainer or;
  • Bring in freelancers or an app development agency anytime you need to make updates.

If it’s the first option, that’s a huge addition in overhead to your business.

If it’s the second, you run the risk of long delays or having to deal with developers unfamiliar with your app, if the people who initially coded your app aren’t available when you need them.

MobiLoud makes this so much simpler. A manageable monthly fee (much lower than a retainer you’d be paying for a mobile developer) gives you support and maintenance just a message or a call away.

This could save you tens of thousands of dollars a year and ensure your app doesn’t become stale or buggy because you can’t afford, or don’t get around to, updating it.

"A custom native app is half a million to a million a year to maintain. MobiLoud gives us a very inexpensive alternative."
- Rainbow Shops' David Cost on how they saved hundreds of thousands in overhead by using MobiLoud.

Why Hybrid is Better than Native in 2024

There’s little question that hybrid is best if you already have a website or web app to work with.

It's just so much quicker and easier to reuse what you've already built for the web, instead of trying to build an app from scratch that recreates your website.

It also lets you manage everything from one place, and make updates to your app or your app's content, without paying expensive mobile developers.

These benefits also apply, in most cases, if you want to make an app and don't already have a website.

Let’s say you want to make a fitness app (planning workouts, nutrition, etc), a local travel guide app, a language learning app, or a restaurant app (menu, ordering, checkout, etc). Or insert your own idea.

With the level of hybrid app technology available today, many companies (big and small) find it easier to build for the web first, and then build an app using hybrid app technologies.

Why?

  • It’s easier and cheaper to build the initial version of your app. You can build it yourself using WordPress or a more interactive site builder like Squarespace, Wix, Bubble, or Webflow and play around to get the look and feel right.
  • You can launch your app for the web first, get feedback, improve it, and get it right before spending a lot of money to build an app for mobile.
  • Creating an app will be much cheaper, faster, and more straightforward using MobiLoud than hiring and managing a development team.
  • Post-launch is also simpler. You won’t need to pay developers whenever you want to update your app. You manage everything from your web app/site and make changes there. MobiLoud is there to handle mobile-specific updates.
  • When you launch, you’ll also have a website rather than just a mobile app, allowing you to pick up new users from Google search.

This process generally works out to be faster and cheaper than building a native or cross-platform app from scratch. It's easier and cheaper to maintain as well.

"It was so amazing as a small business owner to be able to offer an app without going into debt, without having to get investors.”
- Train the Mind founder Jake Gracia on his experience building an app with MobiLoud.

How to Create a Hybrid App From Scratch: Step by Step

Here’s a quick rundown on how to build a hybrid app from scratch:

  1. Come up with an app idea.
  2. Research and plan what you want from your app.
  3. Build your app for the web (specifically, focus on mobile optimization).
  4. Test it, find some beta users to try your app on the web and give feedback.
  5. Sign up for MobiLoud and convert your site to a mobile app, as above.

This requires little to no coding knowledge. The little you do need to know is just web development, which is much easier to learn than coding for mobile apps.

Depending on the type of app you want to build, you may need to hire a developer to help with some of the functionality. But developers specializing in web development are far cheaper and more accessible than mobile coders.

With the time and cost savings from using MobiLoud instead of traditional app development methods, you can afford to be loose with your time and money in building your web app and still come in well within your budget and desired time frame.

How to Build a Mobile App in 2024: FAQs

Here we’ll answer some basic questions about making a mobile app.

How much does it cost to build an app?

The cost to build an app is often in the range of $20,000 to $150,000. This difference is due to the big difference between the development time needed for various apps, depending on the number of features and complexity required.

Check out this post for more on the cost of building an app.

Can I create an app for free?

In 2023, you can create apps just about for free. If you know how to code, you can develop an app for just the cost of your time. If not, you can use a no-code platform to build your own app, which can come at a marginal cost.

How long does it take to create an app?

The time it takes to create an app, as with the cost, depends on the size and complexity of the project. A simple app with relatively few features can take as little as 1-2 months to build. A more feature-rich app is likely to take 6-9 months.

How difficult is it to make an app?

Coding an app is very difficult and takes a long time, even for experienced mobile developers. The specialized nature of app development is why mobile app developers are so costly.

It is much easier to make an app in 2023 with the introduction of no-code and low-code tools. The ability to drag and drop pre-coded elements in a visual builder has dramatically lowered the learning curve necessary to launch an app.

What coding language is used for apps?

You'll most commonly see Android apps using Java or Kotlin and iOS (Apple) apps using Swift or Objective-C. Others include cross-platform frameworks like React Native and hybrid app frameworks like Ionic.

Can a beginner make an app?

Today, it’s relatively straightforward for beginners to make an app, using no-code app builders. However, the apps you can make with these tools are pretty basic. To build a more complex or powerful app, you’ll need experience in app development.

What skills do I need to create my own app?

Depending on the method you choose to build your app, you may need programming skills, particularly knowledge of a mobile app development framework.

Besides this, you will need some design skills or at least be able to recognize good and bad design practices.

You’ll also need the ability to conduct market research and understand how to develop an idea that solves a problem or a gap in your target market.

Can I create a mobile app without coding?

Yes, you can build an app without code by using a no-code app builder. The different types of app builder software available includes visual app builders like Bubble and Glide and managed app-building platforms like MobiLoud, which enable you to convert existing websites or web apps into like-native mobile apps. These tools allow you to create apps and get your brand into the Google Play Store and Apple App Store even if you don't know the first thing about coding.

Examples of apps you can build in MobiLoud

Wrapping Up

Creating an app can be the best decision you have ever made. Whether it’s for your existing business or you’re starting a new enterprise from square one, apps are more popular than ever.

90% of our mobile time is spent using apps. And with mobile taking more overall market share from desktop every day, the opportunity in the mobile app space will only keep going up.

The other good news is that it’s more accessible than ever to create an app in 2024. Native development is still difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. But we have alternatives today, such as:

  • Cross-platform languages
  • Hybrid app tools
  • Template-based app builders

Tools like MobiLoud offer the best “bang for your buck” if you want to make an app. Just build for the web, which is a quicker and easier way to make an app, and convert your app to mobile apps using this straightforward app builder.

This is the most efficient and cost-effective way to build an app in 2024. If you want an example of what’s possible, check out these examples, or schedule a free demo to see how it works.

Native, web or hybrid app?
Understand the key differences to make the right choice for your business.
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