When an organization starts considering adding an app to their marketing strategy, the first question is often, “Can I build my own app?” It is an important question. There is a growing number of online app building services that claim that you can create your own app faster and for less money than hiring a professional developer or working with an app development firm. They claim that with no experience or coding skills you can get your app up and running in no time. But should you? Is it worth it to go with one of these “build-it-yourself” services, or would you be better off hiring a professional for your app development?
The question, “Can I build my own app?” is a good question but it may be the wrong question to start with. Making this decision first will limit your future possibilities and perhaps lead you to the wrong answer. A better first question is, “What do I want or need out of my app?” You can’t make the decision about how you will build your app until you have a clear picture of your needs. Simple apps that connect users to existing website content may be possible with a cheap or free build-your-own app service. On the other hand, apps that integrate with other software or offer specific features may require the services of an app developer. Take some time to develop the goals you have for your app. Then carefully consider exactly what features, integration, and tools your app will need to be successful. If you need help with this part of the process, you may be ready to decide to go with a professional developer.
Experienced app development firms have the expertise and experience to help with this part of the project. They can help you clarify your goals and help you decide on the features needed to reach them. If you have clarity on your goals and needed features, you can look at some of the offerings of “build-it-yourself” services to see if they can meet your needs. The more unique your app is, the more careful you will need to be in ensuring the DIY method will be sufficient. With a reputable developer, you can be confident that they can create something to meet the needs you have outlined.
In deciding between professional app development and building your own, you need to think seriously about your skills and available time. If you are considering assigning the project to a member of your team, you will need to do the same with them. Online app building platforms promote their service as quick and easy. If you are comfortable with technology and building a very simple app, you may find that to be true. However, when it comes to designing an app or working with any new piece of technology, things always take longer than expected. If you have trouble picking up new software and don’t have the time to invest in learning on your own, doing it yourself can become frustrating quickly.
“Build-it-yourself” app services usually promote themselves as being less expensive than choosing professional app development. But look carefully. Many of these services let you get started for little or no cost and then charge a monthly fee. These fees can look quite reasonable, but as the complexity of your app increases, the monthly fee usually goes up significantly. While that low upfront cost makes it seem like a far better deal, when you consider the monthly cost over the life of your app, you may realize that hiring someone for your mobile app development is not as expensive as you thought.
The short answer is, “Yes, you can.” However, you may want to seriously consider if it is the right choice for you. Start by thinking through your goals for the app, your skill-set, and the time you have available. Then, look carefully at the actual cost of your app over its lifetime. Then, you will be ready to answer the question for yourself. If you’d like to get an idea of how much it might cost to build your app, you can also check out our App Cost Calculator.