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App-lause: Earning Money from Apps

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Smartphones and tablets have become so common these days that it’s hard to imagine getting on with life without them. With our dependence on these devices comes our increasing dependence on apps – apps that entertain us, apps that improve our productivity, and apps that help cultivate creativity. In fact, we can go as far as saying that smartphones and tablets wouldn’t be as awesome as they are now without the mini-software. And since practically everyone (grandmothers included) are using these things now, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine that the app market can give you major returns in the form of cash.

Of course, it’s not that simple. First of all, just think of the sheer number of apps that are already in the market. The competition, in other words, is really fierce. You have to find a way to make your app stand out. The other thing you have to think about is the price – remember all the apps you’ve ever uploaded onto your favorite devices. How many of them did you actually willingly pay for? And how many of them cost you more than a dollar or so?

So here’s the thing about app market – there’s certainly a lot of demand for apps, but on top of the extreme competition is the complete lack of willingness to pay for most of the apps. What people love about apps, apparently, is that they get a lot of value for very little money. Given all this, is it possible to earn money from making and releasing apps?

Yes. You just need to note the following:

Choose your app platform wisely

You should know by now that creating an app requires you to take into consideration the mobile operating system they’ll be working with. At the moment, there are four major operating systems at play for the mobile market – iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows 8. Of the four, two are completely dominating the industry and are going head to head – iOS and Android. While some may argue that iOS is still the best platform for making money off apps, Android can sometimes make it much easier for you to profit through apps.

If you want to maximize your influence, it’s better for you to create an app that can run on all these operating systems so you can tap into a larger chunk of mobile users. At the very least, make a version for iOS and a version for Android. But if you have a specialized app, you need to remember that iOS market is considered a reliable resource for “enterprise” apps while Android users tend to be more drawn to casual apps.

Know your monetization strategy

Before you even get into creating your app, you have to ask yourself how you’d like to make money off your app. Do you want to get it from the number of installs of the app? Or are you thinking about letting advertisers in on the deal? What about deploying a light version and a full version for your app? These are the things that you have to think about before you start selling your application. Of course, you can also say that your monetization strategy relies heavily on the kind of app that you’re selling and what it actually does.

For example, if your app is meant to be accessed on a regular basis (because they keep users up-to-date with information like status updates, news, and the like), then it might be better to make your app dirt cheap, if not free, and rely on advertisers. Meanwhile, advertising is perhaps a bad idea when it comes to creativity and game apps so it’s best that you make your money off of extras like hints or Easter eggs in this case. Otherwise, if your app is used for business and hardcore productivity, you can risk charging them with a solid, upfront fee.

If you do enough research, you can figure out the best way to make money off of your idea for an app. If you do things just right, you can keep making money off of just one app for several years.