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Navigating the ocean of mobile apps might feel like an intimidating voyage, especially when you’re about to submit your own mobile application. It’s not just about creating a stellar app and hoping for the best. There’s an entire ecosystem you need to consider to ensure your Android or iOS app doesn’t just sail into the app world but also thrives there. This is where pre-launch preparation emerges as a vital beacon of guidance.

This process involves careful planning, a thorough understanding of guidelines, targeted marketing, and more. It’s related to charting your course on a map before you set sail – you’d rather spend time understanding the terrain than risk drifting aimlessly or encountering unforeseen obstacles.

In essence, this post is designed to prepare you for everything you’ll need to consider before your app takes its first breath in the App Store. So, brace yourself as we embark on this exciting journey together.

1. App Development and Beta Testing

Building an application is not just about making it look good or equipping it with cutting-edge tech. It needs to offer a seamless, user-friendly experience to every user aboard.

That’s why app development should keep the end user’s needs in mind, with a clean design, intuitive navigation, and compelling features. Remember, the quality of your app will significantly impact its reviews and ratings, directly influencing your app’s ranking and visibility in the App Store.

Once your app’s first draft (version) is ready, it’s time to test the waters with beta testing. Consider this a dry run, or a series of sea trials for your ship, assessing its readiness before the actual voyage. Through beta testing, you can involve a controlled group of users to explore your app in real-world scenarios. Their feedback can help you identify any hitches or bugs that must be addressed.

Another benefit of beta testing is that it provides an opportunity to receive valuable input on usability and user experience. Different users may interact with your app in diverse ways, uncovering issues or opportunities for improvement that you might have yet to consider.

Both development and beta testing are iterative processes. It’s all about refining and improving. Don’t be disheartened if your first beta test reveals room for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your app.

2. App Store Optimization (ASO)

Just as an experienced sailor uses a compass to navigate the sea, an app developer utilizes App Store Optimization (ASO) to find their way through the crowded waters of the App Store. ASO is a systematic process designed to increase your app’s visibility within the app store. It’s similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but specifically tailored for the unique requirements of app marketplaces.

How does keyword research enhance your ASO strategy?

Firstly, keyword research is fundamental to effective ASO. It involves identifying the terms potential users are most likely to use when searching for an app like yours. These keywords should be thoughtfully incorporated into your app’s title and description, enabling your app to appear in relevant search results. But remember, while it’s crucial to include keywords, it’s equally important to create a title and description that are engaging and succinctly convey what your app does.

However, ASO doesn’t stop at keywords. The category you choose for your app also has a significant role in its visibility. Choose the most relevant category for your app, but also consider the level of competition within that category. Sometimes, a slightly less obvious category might have less competition, giving your app a better chance of standing out. You can also read Applover’s blog post on the App Store Optimization tips if you want to learn more about ASO strategies.

How to create an effective app title and description?

Creating a compelling app title and description combines art and science. It’s a small canvas, yet it’s one of the most powerful tools you have for attracting potential users. It serves two crucial functions – to captivate users’ attention and to improve your App Store search ranking.

  • App Title: Your app’s title is its first impression, the name associated with its functionality, quality, and value. Therefore, it should be concise, relevant, and memorable. A good practice has a title that describes your app’s core function or value proposition. For instance, if you have a meditation app, including the word ‘meditate’ or ‘mindfulness’ could help users quickly grasp what your app is about. Also, including a keyword in the title can significantly help with ASO.
  • App Description: An adequate app description, on the other hand, is like a compelling narrative that highlights the main features of your app, its benefits, and why it stands out in the sea of similar apps. Start your description with a powerful sentence summarizing what your app does and why it’s valuable. This is important because the App Store only shows the first few lines of the description before a user clicks ‘more’ to read the rest. The rest of your description should focus on your app’s unique features and benefits, presented in an easy-to-read format.

3. Creating a Compelling App Icon and Screenshots

Venturing into the world of mobile apps is not only about developing an outstanding product. It’s also about presenting it in a way that stands out in the crowd of the App Store. Your app icon and screenshots are like the flagship banner of your app, visually conveying its essence and value.

What are the best practices for designing app icons and screenshots?

Your app icon is your brand’s visual ambassador. It’s the first visual element users interact with, making it essential to create a design that’s eye-catching and encapsulates your app’s essence. A well-designed icon can spark interest, create an emotional connection, and invite potential users to explore further.

The key to a compelling app icon is simplicity. It should be clean, uncluttered, and easily recognizable in small sizes. Use colors that resonate with your brand and make your icon pop on the App Store. Iconography should be relevant and indicative of your app’s functionality. Remember, the icon needs to stand out on various backgrounds (as users have different theme preferences) and alongside competitor apps.

Screenshots are the line and sinker if the app icon is the hook. They offer a visual narrative of your app’s user interface, features, and benefits. Even though they’re called ‘screenshots,’ consider them as promotional graphics where you can highlight the best features of your app.

The App Store allows you to upload up to 10 screenshots, but the first 3 are the most critical, as users will see these without swiping through. Each screenshot needs to fit one of the screen resolutions defined by the App Store. Ensure these initial screenshots showcase your app’s most valuable and differentiating features. Overlaying short captions on these screenshots to describe what’s happening is good.

Your screenshots should be clean, well-structured, and tell a story. They should lead the user on a journey, showcasing how your app will look on their device and what it can do for them.

4. Preparing Your App’s Metadata

While the creative elements of your app – such as its icon, title, and screenshots – catch the user’s eye, the app metadata serves as the underlying information infrastructure that plays a crucial role in ASO. It encompasses the technical aspects of your app listing that help the App Store algorithm categorize your app and serve it to the right audience.

  • Keywords: One of the primary metadata elements is the keywords section. It’s a 100-character field where you input terms relevant to your app. The keywords you choose should reflect what a user might enter when searching for an app like yours. It’s important to note that this field should be treated differently than how you incorporate keywords in your app title and description—this is not a place for sentences. Use only single words or concise phrases separated by commas, and avoid wasting space on conjunctions or prepositions.
  • App Category: Selecting the correct category for your app is another crucial metadata decision. The category should be relevant to your app’s core functionality. It helps users find your app when browsing the App Store and impacts the competition your app will face. Sometimes, considering a secondary, less competitive category is worth considering if your app can logically fit into.
  • Privacy Policy: A link to your app’s privacy policy is mandatory on the App Store. This document must detail what user data your app collects, how it’s used, and how it’s protected. Maintaining transparency with your users is crucial, as it builds trust and helps comply with global privacy regulations.
  • App Preview and Promotional Text: The App Preview and promotional text allow you to showcase additional app elements. The App Preview is a short video that showcases your app’s user experience. At the same time, the promotional text field (up to 170 characters) is an opportunity to share exciting news about your app, like new features, promotions, or updates.

5. Setting up Pricing and Availability

One of the pivotal decisions before launching your app into the App Store involves setting up its pricing and determining its availability. These decisions need to be made strategically, considering several factors, such as your target audience, competition, and monetization strategy.

What are the different pricing models for apps?

Your app could be free, paid, or fall into the freemium model, where the app is free to download with optional in-app purchases or subscriptions. If you opt for a paid app, you must strike a balance between generating revenue and offering value that justifies the cost to the user. It’s essential to study your competitors, understand the pricing norms in your category, and assess the unique value your app provides.

Free apps or freemium apps often attract more downloads initially, giving you a more extensive user base. However, it’s essential to have a robust monetization strategy to generate revenue from in-app purchases, ads, or subscriptions.

How to set up regional availability for your app?

You can choose the territories where your app will be available on the App Store. Making your app available worldwide might be tempting, but it’s essential to consider factors like localization, marketing strategy, and support capabilities.

If your app content isn’t localized, users in certain regions might not fully engage with it. Or, if you’re planning a phased marketing approach, you should limit availability to specific territories initially. Consider these aspects and choose the geographical availability of your app wisely.

Furthermore, you need to set the release date for your app. You can opt for automatic release as soon as the App Store Review approves your app, or you can manually release it on a specific date to align with your marketing plans.

6. Localizing Your New App

The most apparent aspect of localization is language. Ensuring your app supports the languages of your target markets is a fundamental step. This applies to your app’s interface and metadata, including the app name, description, and keywords. However, translation should be done thoughtfully, considering the context, local slang, and cultural nuances to maintain the essence and functionality of your app.

If your app involves transactions or displays measurements, adapting to local currency and units is essential. Displaying prices in a user’s local currency or measurements in familiar units can significantly improve user experience and engagement. Also, if your application is in English, you can select all the countries using that language (besides the USA, there’s also the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia).

Localizing your app helps to expand its reach, boost downloads, and improve user satisfaction. It shows respect for your users’ languages and cultures, ultimately driving global success for your app. But remember, localization is not a one-time effort; it’s an ongoing process that evolves with your new app and its user base.


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Getting ready to submit your app for review

Navigating the journey from app development to launching on the App Store is a multi-faceted process, much like preparing a ship to embark on a voyage. It involves much more than just creating an innovative and functional app. It’s about crafting a captivating title and description, designing an eye-catching icon, developing intriguing screenshots, and optimizing every piece of metadata.  You can also discuss the app’s publication with your mobile app development partner.

If you’re ready to publish your mobile application in the world, here are guides that will help you step-by-step: