The following post is an article that I wrote for i.Business magazine. It is a magazine dedicated to Businesses that use Macs and other Apple products. I’m planning to turn this into a book with even greater detail. Tell me what you think.
I had just gotten off the phone with my best friend. He told me that he was receiving a check for over $11 Thousand Dollars from Apple. This was for only one month’s worth of sales on his first ever iPad/iPhone app. What had he done to market his new “product”? In short, nothing! He submitted it to the Apple iTunes app store. That was it! No advertising, no networking and no cold calling. It was then that I realized that the iTunes App Store was going to be as big an opportunity for distributing products and making money as eBay. There was only one big problem. Jim was a computer software developing genius and I was not. I didn’t know the first thing about developing apps. Sure, I had ideas on the kind of apps that I would use and that I thought would sell. But, I didn’t know the first thing about how to create Apps of any kind. That is when I decided to Google, “How to create apps with NO experience”. That led me down a road to a tool and technique that would allow me to create 15 apps in the next two months. And I repeat, with absolutely and positively no computer developing experience!
My first check from Apple was not nearly as impressive as my buddy Jim’s. It was for about $200. It was for the first two apps that I had created and that were now live in the iTunes App Store. It wasn’t much but it was still better than a swift kick to the face. I wasn’t discouraged considering that I had created them in only 2 hours each and the learning curve was only slightly longer. On the other hand my friend’s app took him and two others over 3 months to create. They were not seeing the money for their efforts for almost 6 months.
In my first month I only created 3 apps. Two of the apps were accepted immediately into the store but, the third was kicked because of trademark issues. The Apple store has set guidelines as to what constitutes an acceptable app. But they are easy to work with. It was in my second month that I got serious about creating a stream of income from my “2 hour apps”. I saw that I was making $50+ a week on a couple of $.99-1.99 apps that had only taken a few hours to make and I was getting faster. Pretty soon if it took 2 hours to make an app then I was moving slow. And in that 2 hours, they were already submitted to the App Store. At the end of my second month I had created at least 15 apps. I had also begun a business creating apps for online celebrities. I had a system for what worked, what would be approved and how to get 5 star reviews for my “2 hour Apps”. I was testing free apps with ads against the paid apps to see which made more money. I was a full-fledged Apple App Developer. In this article I will show you exactly how I did it.
The “tool” that I referred to earlier was Appmakr.com, a website developed by PointAbout a start-up company in none other than Silicon Valley, CA. PointAbout has high profile clients such as Disney and OnStar. They have created in Appmakr a fun and well-made website that allows you to create an app that will harness the iPhones ability to access the internet. Appmakr teaches you how to find RSS feeds from websites (i.e your business blog, YouTube Channel, Twitter, Facebook and/or Flickr account) and to aggregate them into a real, fully functional iPhone App.
One of their many useful features is AppDrop. When combined with an enterprise Apple Developer Account, it allows a business to create apps and email them to employees directly on their iPhones, without having to publish the apps on the iTunes App Store.
Appmakr’s tutorial videos are very easy to follow although if you run into a glitch you will have to submit an email to support and wait a few days for a response. However, I find that their FAQ section is becoming more encompassing.
The interface of the web site is excellent. There are easy to follow tabs that will take you the “developer” through the whole app making process. The process starts with selecting images for your icon and splash page and then moves on to choosing rss feeds to fill the content of your app. There are options for news blogs, picture galleries, html tabs (If you are familiar with that) and a messaging tab where the customer can send you direct feedback. Appmakr will display what your app looks like on an App Simulator on the right side of the page. It works very similar to an actual iPhone although some features will not display correctly unless you are testing them directly on your iPhone. The AppDrop feature allows you to email the test app to an email account that you are already accessing from your iPhone. You simply open the email; press the link that you find in the content of the message and it is a one step click to load it to your iPhone.
In order to use these features and test the app on your iPhone, or your employee’s iPhone, you will need open your own developer account with Apple. Appmakr will clearly take you through the process of setting up a developer account. The account cost’s 99 dollars and to submit the app yourself you will need a Mac computer. But, if you don’t have a Mac Appmakr will submit your app for you for only 30 dollars. You submit the request and they email you to set up a convenient time for you. I used this service for my first two apps before I went out a purchased my MacBook. The first two apps paid for the developer account and the 30 dollar service charge within the first month. If you want Appmakr to do the whole app for you then they offer that feature as well.
So if you want to build an app for your existing business or as a new enterprise click around Appmakr.com. Have fun with it. Within a few hours you will likely have an app that you can show off to your friends, make a few bucks on or use as a powerful tool for your business.
Hope that you enjoyed it and please comment.
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