5 ways to build your own app without coding
Congratulations! You’ve decided your business needs an app to take it to the next level. Only one problem – you don’t know how to code. Luckily for you, this is no longer a barrier to mobile app development. It’s never been easier to build your own app without coding. And when you consider that in 2018 it’s predicted that 205.4 billion apps will be downloaded worldwide, there has never been a better time to think about expanding your business further into the mobile realm.
There are a lot of options available to help individuals with no technical experience build an app for their business or idea. Each differ with their own pros and cons, including issues such as cost and accessibility. In order to make the right choice for you and your business, you’ll need to truly understand your choices of how you can make your own app and how they fit into your business strategy.
Option 1: Create a mobile optimized website
Our first option isn’t actually a way to make your own app, but if you’re on a super strict budget interested in testing a new idea, it could be an option worth considering. While having a website is great, you need to make sure your company’s information is accessible on all devices. People are relying more and more on mobile devices compared to desktops and laptops for all sort of activities. Website traffic from mobile phones worldwide is up from 50.3% in 2017 to 52.2% in 2018, and this is expected to continue to increase. So if you don’t have a dedicated app for your business, you should at least have a responsive mobile website.
The main pro of a mobile optimized website is, of course, cost. You should already have a website, so as long as it’s responsive, you could add pages or features that test some of the ideas that you’d like to build into an app.
Of course, the major downside is that you won’t have a native mobile experience. Without a native app, users won’t have access to native features on their phones and your content wouldn’t be available to users unless they have access to the internet.
Both time on mobile websites and mobile apps is increasing every year, but for U.S. users in 2018 about 51 minutes a day was spent on mobile websites while 3 hours and 25 minutes was spent in mobile apps. From this standpoint, there’s a stronger case for an app, but if it’s simply not possible due to budget, a mobile site is an alternative. .
Option 2: Use a no-code app creation platform
No-code app builders generally use a drag and drop interface to allow you to build your own app in an intuitive way that requires no coding knowledge. You see similar products in website builders like Squarespace, where it’s easy for anyone to make a website. When you design apps with no-code app builders, like Hatch Apps, your are essential doing the same thing. We’ve previously gone into detail about the pros and cons of no-code app builders, but we’d like to highlight some overarching ones.
First pro: they are on the affordable side. No-code app creation platforms tend to be one of (if not THE) most affordable way to build an app for your company. They are definitely cheaper than hiring a developer and usually include hosting, analytics, and maintenance in their price. You can also develop your app faster and have it deployed for iOS, Android, and the web in days, not months. In addition, you can make the app yourself, allowing you to be the one in control. It also allows you can update your app on-the-go and push updates live immediately, meaning you don’t have to rely on someone else for every little change that needs to be made.
Downsides? No code app builders may offer limited features and functionality, so there may be some small sacrifices. Your app will function smoothly, but you might not be able to deck it out with all the bells and whistles on your first version. In fact, it might be a good idea to launch a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version of your app first. This means that the app is made very quickly so it can be sent out to users to get honest feedback in a short timeframe. After this is done, the app development and design can be revisited so you can then launch a full scale version of your app.
Option 3: Hire a freelance developer
Freelance developers are characterized as anyone who is self-employed and works independently for their clients, or someone who works as a contractor for multiple companies. We had a previous in-depth discussion about the pros and cons of hiring freelancers, but here are the most important points. First, they’re cheap(er). Since they work independently, the cost of creating an app goes down significantly, saving you in the money category. Second, you can find them easily. Today there are dedicated websites for connecting freelancers in different fields with clients. Third, they offer greater flexibility. A software development company usually works in the typical 9-5 schedule. In comparison, a freelancer sets their own schedule and can potentially get your app up and running more quickly than an agency.
There are some potential problems with hiring a freelancer. First, you run the risk of having them ghost you. Freelancers aren’t tied down to an acclaimed agency or business, so it’s possible that one day in the middle of your app development project, they just disappear onto the next project or job. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that it is a weighty risk. A freelancer could get a full time job or move on after your project is complete, and therefore aren’t obligated to keep helping you with app maintenance. They might do a fantastic job creating a fully functional app for you and your company, but without ongoing maintenance, you’ll have to fix the bugs yourself, or find someone else to do it. The issue with that is that most developers code a little differently, and it can be tough to maintain someone else’s codebase.
Option 4: Hire a full time developer
A full time mobile developer is a full time hire who work independently on mobile development project. A full time developer is someone who will make your own app while being committed to your vision for your app. They will also put in the extra hours to make sure your app is fully functioning and perfect for your company. This developer will also be a trusted resource who is tied to the success of your business.
It’s important to note that hiring a full time developer is probably one of your most expensive options. While you are only paying one person, you are paying for their expertise (the average mobile developer makes over $100,000 a year). The other thing is when you hire a full time developer, there is only one person responsible for your app. If you aren’t happy with their work or they are way behind schedule, there isn’t much you can do about it. While this is unlikely when hiring a professional developer, it’s still a risk to be aware of.
Option 5: Hire a software development agency
When confronted with the need for an app, a common solution is to leave it to the experts and hire a software development agency. This could be either a small or large firm of talented development professionals, designers and project managers who are working on a multitude of projects for their clients. There are a lot of pros to hiring a software development agency to build your app. They tend to be up-to-date with all the latest technologies and have teams of developers with different levels of experience and different skill sets. This can be a big benefit in the ever-changing realm of mobile app development. They are not likely to leave a project incomplete because their reputation is on the line. In addition, software development agencies think about the long-term relationship with their clients, giving you maintenance and support for your app even after it is launched.
The major con when hiring a software development agency is definitely the cost. Hiring a company will always be more expensive than hiring an individual. But to get all the benefits of hiring a software development agency, you are going to have to pay the price.
So, how should you make your app?
The question you probably have now is which option is the best for you and your business. Well, that’s for you to decide! You are now armed with the knowledge to make an educated decision (and if you want to learn even more, you can download our ebook about selecting the best software development solution). You know your business better than anyone else, therefore you need to assess what would be best given your brand, your finances, and what kind of app you want. If your top priority is to create a complex app attached to a custom or pre-built backend then maybe hiring a professional developer or a software development agency is the right move. Maybe you know a great freelancer that you’re certain will get the job done in a quick, professional way. Then hire them. Maybe you want to design apps yourself but have no coding experience? Then go with a no-code app builder. And lastly, if you have zero money to spend on an app, then make your mobile website as amazing and responsive as it can be.
There is no one-size fits all solution when you want to build your own app without coding; that’s why there are options for different preferences and budgets. Weigh your options and if you think a no-code app builder is right for you, then consider Hatch Apps for your no-code app platform. Schedule a 15-minute call with us today!