It seems like today there’s an app for everything. Many small businesses can benefit from the use of a mobile app, and see the value in creating their own apps, but having a strong foundation in coding or the money to hire a professional developer are often the pitfalls of creating one. However, there are more and more affordable DIY options cropping up everyday to help businesses get those apps made—even with zero to minimal tech expertise. Mashable did a cover of the top 4 Tools for Building a Business Mobile App about which we’ll go into a little more detail here.
Bizness Apps is an app builder that focuses on industry-specific features. The app builder was created specifically for small businesses and allows users to pick an industry specific template to start building. Apps can be built for the iPhone, iPad, and Android and can also be built for HTML5. Apps that are created are native apps and can be found in the iTunes store or the Google marketplace. Creating an app on Bizness Apps doesn’t require any programming knowledge whatsoever. It also includes a content manager in which you can customize your app and increase functionality across many mobile platforms. Any changes you make with the content manager are effective immediately and don’t need to be sent to Apple or Google for updates. Bizness Apps also has 30+ features that you can integrate within your business’s app. A few worth mentioning are Tell-A-Friend, Event Listings, Push Notifications, and Mailing List. In addition, you can include your social media outlets ( Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube) and even your email marketing strategies (Constant Contact, MailChimp, Get Response). Pricing for Bizness Apps starts at $39/month for the iPhone with $10/month extras for iPad, Android, and HTML5.
MobiFlex is another app that requires no coding knowledge. You design your app visually online with a drag-and-drop wizard and download the app to your smartphone. Apps are also able to go native, using all the native on-device resources. MobiFlex integrates with back-end data sources and incorporates functions like the phone’s camera, speech recognition, and GPS into its native apps. Right now, apps are only able to run on the iPhone and Android but they have iPad and tablet functionality currently in the works. Designing and testing your app is free and you only have to pay when you decide to publish your app. Pricing starts at $10/month for the most basic of plans but can go up to $200/month. Pricing is determined by number of end-users and pages.
AppMakr is the app you’ll want to use if your main goal is to distribute content. This code-free app is able to add content through multiple RSS feeds, upload a photo gallery, and send push notifications. Other features include Analytics (to monitor the downloads of your app), Conversation (see what your users are saying), and Monetize (place ads in your app or charge for ads). You can also share video and podcasts from within the app. AppMakr boasts that you can create an app in minutes. To get started, all you have to do is enter your business URL on the main page. As far as pricing goes, if you’re looking for an option that’s free, you found it (though app store fees may apply). All they require is that you register. Availability is for the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 only with Android in its beta version.
Red Foundry offers options to intermediate coders as well as newbie app creators. If you choose, you can design your app with an xml-based coding system or you can pick one of Red Foundry’s templates that is fully customizable. You can also add video, music, photos, audio, catalogs, blogs, menus, maps, event calendars, conference schedules, and visual sales presentations. Features you may not find in other app builders include location and customer specific promotions, digital book and magazine publishing, inventory tracking, route information and orders, submit and retrieve data from the field, administer testing, and communicate with customers, employees, and vendors. The app builder can also integrate social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress and just about any other public API. You can also monitor usage through their analytics and use push notification services to target your mobile alerts and promotions. Red Foundry can only create native apps for the iPhone and iPad. Pricing starts from free plans and can go upwards to $600/month.