When making an app, one of the most obvious things you’re going to need is a website. One of everyone’s first concerns when making an app is asking, “What does it take to make a website?”
Actually, having a website isn’t even technically necessary. Your app already has a page on the internet - your iTunes landing page - and you could just provide that URL whenever people ask to view your app online.
But making a website for your app is free and easy, and has a lot of benefits…
- Giving you something to promote while your app is in development
- Giving you a place to build a newsletter and audience from
- Giving your social media somewhere to link
- Giving people something to share on social networks
…So it’s worth the couple hours it takes.
Another question is “when should I build my app’s website?” The right time to build a website for your app is right now. Even if your app is nothing more than an idea, having a landing page and an eMail collection field allows you to begin building an audience as quickly as possible. Even if you’re not sure you even want to make your app, building a quick and free website can help you gauge whether or not you want to move forward with the idea.
Building Your Website
Before you can make an informed choice on how to build your website, you need to know what your website must have. It should contain everything someone would need to know to make the purchasing decision (or the decision to publicize) and functions like support or about the company should be far less obvious. Your website must have….
- A big, obvious 'Buy On The App Store' or ‘Available Soon on the App Store’ button.
- An email collection field, to collect people’s emails for your newsletter.
- Some good reviews from people scrolling across the website (if you have reviews yet).
- A section where you include press endorsements of your app. This would be one-liners from any blog posts or newspaper articles your app was in.
- If you have screenshots, they should be large and everywhere.
- A support link or customer support portal, so customers can contact you and resolve problems.
Your website’s goal, if your app doesn’t have a website component, is just to be a big online poster for your app.
There are three services you can build your app’s website with:
1. LaunchRock FREE
2. SquareSpace, $99/yr
3. WordPress (prices vary)
No matter what you select to build your website with, you need to hook your website up to Google Analytics. They provide statistics and tracking information about your website, so you can analyze the kind of people coming to your website and what they’re doing while they’re there. This is information that in the future can help you develop and market your app effectively. (If you can’t measure what you’re doing, you can’t pick the most effective marketing methods).
Customer support quality is the difference between a lot of positive reviews and a lot of negative reviews. You need to get an efficient support system in place in order to secure positive reviews. Irate users with problems, when they get great service, can transform into the happiest and most satisfied users. After you work with an unsatisfied customer over customer support, make sure to ask them to leave a review of your app as the final step of the support process if the interaction was positive.
Your website (and an email link from iTunes) will be how your users access your customer support. You need to have a customer support system set up as early as possible, so that you can effectively handle your customer support requests.
The easiest route is to pop your personal email on the website and iTunes listing, but this is not what you want to do. If your app hits any measure of success, your personal email will be inundated with complaining users’ emails. Imagine trying to go about your regular life when your email is clogged with complaints.
The second easiest route is to create a free email with gmail such as firstname.lastname@example.org, but this isn’t much better. While it separates your email accounts (good!), it doesn’t have any tools to organize or handle mass amounts of emails (bad).
There are websites and services out there which create whole solutions around handling customer support emails, which will track data, links, individual customers, time it took you to respond, and every other imaginable metric. That way, you can stay on top of what’s happening in your customer support.
These also plug in with free website builders, since all you have to do is include a link to your UserVoice at the bottom of your website under “contact us” or “customer support” - no technical expertise required to install. The best part is every one of these services has a free plan level.
Once you have a website, you can use it to grow your release wait-list and market your app.