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By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

Today, I’m going to highlight our top 3 programming languages in 2021 and discuss their benefits. I’m going to talk about Javascript, Python, and Swift. And also the reasons why we’ve selected these three as our top picks. 

If you’re new to the programming world, make sure to use this video in conjunction with our other video, How to Choose a Programming Language for Your Product

But, let’s get to the programming languages.

Javascript

First up, we have Javascript. Javascript is widely used now because it was first used for prop and programming language. What that means is it’s used to render the very first thing that your eyes see when you go to a web page

It also began being used on the backend as well, which is all that code on the back that tells the server what to do. And it was really facilitated by Google in trying to help people learn more software development. And so, that’s why it’s a top pick for 2021.

Python

Next up, we have Python. Python has been around for a long time. But, it’s widely used for statistics and science, and pretty much anything. You can spin up a website really quickly with Python, and you can do a whole lot of complex things on the backend, especially for a complex app. It continues to grow because of interest in data science and analytics. So, that’s why it’s our second top pick for 2021.

Swift

Finally, we have Swift. If you google the top languages for 2021, Swift may be a little bit lower on the list. And, yes, I am biased because we do use Swift a lot in our company. But, Swift is the language you would use for an iOS application, or a Mac application, or anything that’s going to run on an iPad.

It’s not only growing for those types of apps, but it’s also starting to be used on the server side. You’ll see Apple really push Swift going forward for the next few years. And we’re super excited to see what they do with it as well.

For 2021, we’re going to keep that as our third top pick at Oak City Labs.

 

I hope this was helpful, and let us know what programming language you’re interested in learning more about in the comments. We’d love to create more content that helps you as you’re developing your software or app.

 

Know what programming language you want to use? Read this post next about setting expectations for your software development project.

By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

One of the hardest questions you’ll ask when you start developing your software product is what programming language should you use?

Let’s talk through some of the concerns and considerations you should make when choosing your programming language. 

But, before we dive in, if you aren’t familiar with some of the most popular programming languages, we recommend watching our video on the top 3 programming languages in 2021 first. Then come back to this post.

Let’s dive in.

 

Carol: So Jay, when it comes to creating software or apps, what factors do you need to consider when choosing a programming language?

Jay: Well, there are a couple of things you have to think about. One of them, to start with, are there some requirements?

For iPhone apps, you’re going to do those in either Objective-C or Swift for a native app. If that’s the thing you’re looking for, those are your two choices. Objective-C is sort of the legacy at this point, and most new developments use Swift. Similarly, for Android, you’re going to look at Java or Kotlin, Kotlin being the new thing.

On the backend, you’ve got a lot more flexibility. There are several languages: Python, Ruby, Go, Swift, and some others you can use for the backend. 

Another important thing you need to think about is the availability of developers in your area. You’re probably going to start with one developer, so you just have to find that one. But as your product and your team scale, you’re going to need to augment your team and hire people. Is there a big pool of developers in your area who are familiar with that technology?

Carol: So, JavaScript is super popular, right? And it’s mostly used on the frontend, but a lot of people are using Javascript on the backend now?

Jay: Yeah, people use JavaScript on the backend with Node. I think it’s really popular. It got popularized by folks doing frontend work who wanted to do backend work and didn’t want to learn another language. Google sort of facilitated that with developing Node and taking their javascript engine, and making it available on their server.

A lot of people feel like it’s easy to slide from frontend development to backend development with JavaScript.

 

Carol: Like the chicken and egg question, should you choose your programming language first and then find a software developer who understands that language or the other way around?

Jay:  It’s really hard to say. It depends on your project again. If you’re in one of those situations where your project and the space you’re working in determines what language you’re going to use, then that’s pretty much it. 

If you’re building a more generic backend thing, like an API for a service, you’ve got some flexibility there. So, you have more freedom to choose or interview different developers and maybe let them make some of those technology decisions.

Carol: What if you found a developer you really liked, and, not to be too controversial, they use Perl or PHP. What would you say to that?

Jay: Those are both sort of what I would consider legacy languages. Perl especially and PHP moreso. That’s certainly not terrible. A lot of the web runs on PHP. 

Again, as you scale your team, you attract new developers that are going to be versed in that kind of thing. Younger developers aren’t going to be into PHP, and maybe some older ones want to move away from PHP. So, those are some of the concerns you might have.

 

Carol: And let’s wrap up with talking about potential roadblocks. What are some common mistakes people make when choosing a programming language?

Jay: The most common one is to go for the new shiny thing. The new language comes out, and it’s all built cool, and they’ve got really good demos, and they solve some problems. Maybe they take something that used to be hard in an old language, and they do it really, really well because they made the language to do that. 

But, once you get into a really serious project, you have problems with, for example, is their tooling around that? Is it too young to have really good tools to work with? Is it robust? Can it handle edge cases that maybe some of the older languages have already worked out? 

Does it have a really rich library of tools to interface with other things? Python is a really old language at this point. There is a Python library for just about anything. If you need to access this weird service, some dude somewhere in a basement in Nebraska, wrote a library to do it. 

A lot of the newer languages just don’t have that sort of coverage. 

Carol: And support too, just community support. Can you google it and find an answer to it?

Jay: Exactly. Do you want to be out there on the bleeding edge? Maybe not.

Carol: I think we did a video about interviewing software developers, so it might be helpful for people to check out as well.

**The above interview has been transcribed for clarity and brevity.**

Need to find the right developer for your project? Make sure to ask the right questions to get the best fit. Learn how in our video, How to Find an App Developer

How to Find an App Developer

So you’re an entrepreneur, and you’ve got this amazing idea for an app.  Now you’re probably wondering how to find an app developer who can deliver what you envision and help you bring it to market. 

Building an app can be really expensive. A lot of folks have a budget for basically just one shot at version one. So you want to make sure you get the best app for your money, and get a good start to your business. My business partner Carol is joining me to discuss how to screen developers and pick out one that might be right for you. 

Read on or watch the video to learn more about how to find an app developer that’s right for you. 

Jay: Carol, where do we even get started looking for developers?

 

Carol: Well, oftentimes, I would suggest people can ask around in their network. And a lot of people these days might do a Google search. But more often than not, a referral is the very best place to start.

 

Jay: Okay, so we need a referral. Maybe get a couple [of referrals] you’d want to talk to. What kind of questions do you ask those developers?

 

Carol: I might ask them different questions than a lot of people, but most importantly, you want to ask them about their experience. Ask what kind of apps they’ve built before and if they’ve built anything like what you’re looking for. Or if they haven’t built what you’re looking for, maybe learn more about their track record and their history. 

And I often learn from people based on what questions they ask. So just kind of going through that process should help you out. 

Also you may want to ask about things like quality. How did they build quality into the product? How long do their projects typically take? You probably can’t figure out the cost on the first round of questions. But focus on experience, quality – things like that.

 

Jay: Okay. So when you talk to developers, a lot of times you get sort of a firehose of tech speak coming at you. If you’re not really technically-minded, how do you decode that?

 

Carol: So the way I do things is – for example, if they use an acronym, I will ask them to explain it to me like they just met me on the side of the street. And I have no problem being completely ignorant to what somebody is talking about. And I will ask them over and over to explain it to me until I get it, which you are probably familiar with, Jay! But it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what they’re saying, but know that if they can’t communicate a complicated topic to you, then they may not be a good partner for you.

 

Jay: That makes sense. And what kind of red flags do you look for?

 

Carol: Oh, my goodness, let’s see. Red flags you might look for are if they’ve never done development before, or if they can’t explain complicated topics to you. If they don’t know what testing is. You may want to ask them to explain things like the difference between a unit test and a functional test, and then ask them how to [perform] those tests. Ask them what types of tools they use for testing and what kind of language or platform they’re going to use to build your project. 

And then ask them why. If they’re going to do a cross platform app for you, ask them why they like that. And ask them if that makes it a buggier app, or how easy it is to troubleshoot a cross-platform app. Or if they’re going to go [with a] native [platform]. Ask them about how they know what Android would look like, or if they are going to start with iOS, what that development process would be like.

 

Jay: And what other advice do you have for folks who are looking for a developer for their project?

 

Carol: General advice would be looking at that history that we talked about, making sure that they understand testing and have good quality software development practices. Ask them how they stay up to date on things and make sure that they have an excellent explanation as to the tools and the languages that they use. 

You know, sometimes it’s not always the best to go with a developer that uses the latest flashiest network or language that’s trending that day, because it’s going to make it hard for you to find developers to take that project over in the future. And the same thing [is true] with the older languages. I hate to say it, but PHP may not be used for new projects these days. And so if you talk to developers that are going to build your whole app in PHP, see if that’s a trending job post on Indeed in your area, and it might give you a good idea of whether that’s a good idea or not.

 

Jay: All right, well thanks for taking us through all that today, Carol. I always hate to see somebody who sinks a huge chunk of cash into a project that ends up with a bad app or an app that just doesn’t work. So folks if you have an app idea or more questions for us, you can contact us on our website and be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tech tips. Thanks.

 

Contact the Oak City Labs team to discuss your app idea!

Mobile App Testing

Questions to Ask Your App Developer About Testing

By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

Mobile app testing sounds really important, but as an entrepreneur with an app idea, what do you really need to know about it? What questions do you need to ask the developer you’re going to work with to build your app to ensure it’s being tested thoroughly, especially if you don’t have a software development background? 

I’m Carol Vercellino, the cofounder of Oak City Labs, and this is my cofounder Jay Lyerly, who also serves as our chief technology officer. He’s going to share his knowledge of testing. 

Watch the video or read on below to learn more.

Carol: Alright Jay, let’s start with the basics. Why is it even important to test your mobile app?

Jay: Testing is all about risk management and how you can manage any changes to your application. So as your app grows and develops, it becomes more and more complicated. It’s easier to introduce problems when you make changes. So, a good solid testing foundation minimizes those kinds of issues.

Carol: So, risk management. Does it also help with the expense later down the road? Does it make it cheaper later?

Jay: Yeah because since you’re doing that risk management, you can feel safer in making changes later. And those later changes are less likely to cause catastrophic failures that sneak up on you.

Carol: You wouldn’t know anything about that! (laughing)

Jay: (Laughing) No, no no!

Carol: So if you were an entrepreneur and you were going to hire an app developer, what advice or what things would you ask about testing?

Jay: So the first thing I would ask is just really generally, “What kind of testing do you do?” Hopefully they don’t say “None!” So what you’re looking for after that is what kind of automated testing they do. Some developers will just do it all by hand. Manual testing is an important step, but you also want to have some automated tests to go with it. 

[You’ll also want to] talk about test coverage. That’s how much of your application gets tested in an automated way. It’s really hard for an end user application like a mobile app to have 100 percent test coverage just because there are a lot of weird cases that aren’t worth testing. But you probably want at least half, 50 percent. Up to 70 or 80 percent would be great numbers to hear.

Carol: Okay, so if a developer said yes, they do automated testing, and have over 50 percent coverage – or they say 100 percent coverage – are there any red flags someone should look for? Especially if they really don’t know what automated testing is, or what test coverage really even means?

Jay: Well, 100 percent test coverage is a little bit scary because there are always some bizarre cases that are really difficult to reach, and that’s not really an efficient use of a developer’s time. As far as other red flags, you might ask about how those tests get run. Is it all part of an automated, continuous integration kind of thing where they have a system that reproduces tests and builds the product for them? Or is it by hand, just sort of on the fly from their laptop?

Carol: Okay, or you can do what I do. Just ask what tools they use and madly Google them afterward to see if they’re actually legit. (Laughing)

Jay: (Laughing) That’s also a good idea, yeah!

Carol: Alright Jay, before we close – just one question I have to ask. Can you share a nightmare, or a war story from where you should have had a test, but maybe you didn’t test, and things didn’t go so well?

Jay: So one of the hard things is [deciding] how much to test. So we had an app we built one time where people made a list of stuff and could share the list with their friends. And their friends could pin those lists so they could come back to them later. And we had an issue where if a user pinned somebody’s list and they came back and unpinned or deleted that pin  later, there was a database mistake and it would cascade that deletion. It would actually delete the list, which was obviously super bad.

Carol: Yes!

Jay: We had tests to check if the list would go away if the [author deleted his own pin]. But we were not checking for those sort of secondary effects. So, that was a surprise and not good. But you know, the first thing we did was go back and add the test for it. So that’s an interesting way you can use testing to do bug fixes. If you get a bug, you can write a test that illustrates that bug. Then you go fix the bug and that test turns green, which means it passes. That’s a safety check in the future so when you make more changes down the line, you don’t reintroduce that bug back.

Carol: That also could be a good interview question for an entrepreneur who is hiring a developer. You could ask them, if you get bugs, what do you do? Ask about their process with bugs and if they’re writing tests.

Jay: Absolutely.

Carol: Jay, thank you so much for your wisdom on testing. I know you have helped us a lot at Oak City Labs with that, and we’re very thankful for that. If anyone has any questions or would like to hear more about testing or any other topic, just feel free to leave a comment, like this video, follow us on social media or go to our website www.oakcity.io. Thank you!

Contact the Oak City Labs team to discuss your app idea!

It’s just about that time of year again! Yes, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, is upon us. The team that goes the furthest in the tournament usually has a stellar starting lineup of players that work together to win game after game – and eventually that coveted championship trophy. This is not unlike the team required to bring your mobile app idea to life. Today we’re breaking down the key players involved with creating a mobile app.

Your starting lineup:

Project Manager

If those involved in developing your mobile app project were an actual basketball team, the project manager would be the point guard. He or she has to have a clear vision of the project at all times and be focused on the big picture goals, while at the same time being intimately familiar with the smaller details of the project. A liaison between the internal development team and the client, the project manager toes the line between all parties to make sure the project stays on time, on budget and within scope.

Key strengths: organization, client communication, detail-oriented

Strategist

Continuing with our team comparisons, next we have the strategist who could be fairly compared to the shooting guard. The strategist is the visionary of the project and can sometimes be the same person as the project manager. If the project manager is more logistically focused though, the strategist is strategically focused. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the client’s goals are met through the decisions made during the wireframing, design and development portions of the project. This person must be good at balancing the business needs of the client with the technical considerations of the development team.

Key strengths: strong development background knowledge, business/marketing strategy knowledge, decision-making skills

Designer/UX

Designers or UX specialists often determine the difference between a good app and a great app. A pillar of the development team, the designer is similar to the power forward on a basketball team. He or she creates wireframes and/or visual designs, as well as decides on the screenflow and user interface (UI). The designer often has a basic technical understanding and works well with the team’s developers to ensure the final product is just as visually appealing as it is technically functional.

Key strengths: creative, deep understanding of UX/UI, basic technical background knowledge

Software Engineers

On a basketball team, the small forward is a versatile player. Adept at handling the ball inside and outside, the small forward excels at offense and defense. Such is the software engineer on a mobile app development team. This role is responsible for bringing together the vision of the strategist, the creative direction from the designer and the technical requirements of the client into a working, functional app. Engineers develop the backend or server side portion of the app, and then the iOS and Android products. They fix bugs given to them following quality assurance (read more on that below) and deploy the app to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store when it’s time to launch.

Key strengths: technically minded, problem solvers, strong technical understanding

Quality Assurance

Just as the center spends the majority of his or her time close to the basket, the quality assurance position is also narrowly focused on doing one job really well. His or her goal is to test, test, test and then test some more. The quality assurance person finds bugs, checks for security holes, confirms the use cases are met, scrolls, taps, and swipes to his or her heart’s content. In short: he or she tries to break the app. The goal is to ensure the product is ready to ship to the client for testing and approval during the beta and release stages of the project.

Key strengths: detail-oriented, problem solvers, able to provide constructive criticism

So there you have it. Your starting lineup as you take on the task of bringing your mobile app idea to life! Sound like a team you’d like playing for you? We’d love to chat!

You want an app. Seems simple, right? But much like purchasing a car, there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to mobile apps. Among all of the decisions you’ll need to make when building your app, from a technical perspective, the most important decision is what type of app will it be? And I’m not talking about iOS or Android (though those are also important decisions to make!). I’m talking about how will your app be built. Native? Hybrid? Web?

Read on to find out about the three different ways your app could take shape.

Native Apps

At Oak City Labs, we consider native apps to be our bread-and-butter. Native apps are built with a specific platform in mind – like iOS or Android. Users download these apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Native apps are capable of taking advantage of device features – like the camera, GPS, contacts, etc. – for use within the app. They can also employ push notifications and work with or without access to internet.

From a technical perspective, these apps have a codebase of either Swift/Objective-C for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android and are built according to the standards set forth by Apple and Google (who also offer SDKs).

Side note: There is also such a thing as a cross-platform native app. You can read more about that here.

Web

A web app is a completely different approach. The easiest way to differentiate a web app from a native app is that web apps aren’t downloaded from app stores. Web apps are built like a website would be with HTML, CSS and JavaScript and can be accessed with your phone’s mobile browser. They are quick and simple to develop, but don’t allow for the wider range of functionality that native apps do like push notifications, integration with the device camera, contacts, GPS and more.

Side note: There are also such things as progressive web apps. You can read more about those here.

Hybrid

So what’s left? A combination of the two types we’ve discussed already: hybrid apps.

As their name suggests, hybrid apps are part native app, part web app. You download these apps from an app store, but they are essentially just a wrapper (called a WebView) around a web app. That would be appealing if you want to spin up a quick minimum viable product (MVP), which is often simpler to do as a web app, but still would like to have users download your app from the app store. The pros: you’ll have access to analytics of app downloads and usage. The cons: performance is inferior to a native app and you’ll likely have to scrap everything and start fresh if you chose to move forward and expand the MVP into a full-fledged native app.

Our Recommendation

We weren’t kidding when we said there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to building a mobile app. Our best recommendation if you’re just beginning the app development process is to partner with someone who can walk you through the specifics of each approach and guide you into the solution that makes the most sense for both your short term and long term goals. Sound like something you’d like more information on? We’d love to chat with you!

At Oak City Labs we love that we have the privilege of working with clients at all different stages of business. From the quintessential start-up, to long-established businesses, and those all in between, we have a history of helping folks at any stage.

Regardless of your business size though, it’s often a good strategy to consider developing a Proof of Concept (PoC) or Minimum Viable Product (MVP), before diving deep into a full-fledged app. A PoC illustrates the ability to solve a core problem, but often is not ready for users and may not be feature complete in terms of usability. An MVP is similar in that it is a bare-bones version of your app, however, it is feature complete in terms that it can be used to accomplish a certain task or tasks. Additionally, the MVP’s goal is often to appease external users – be that outside investors, early adopters, etc.

Today, I’m sharing a few of the benefits of investing in an MVP or PoC for your next mobile app or web app.

Mitigating Risk

PoCs or MVPs are an excellent way to mitigate the risk involved with creating a new app. The goal? Maximize value, minimize costs.

Depending on your organization’s business practices, introducing a new app to the masses can be a scary thing. What if it doesn’t integrate well with your current operations? What if your team has a hard time implementing it? Before investing your entire budget into a full-fledged app, consider creating a smaller PoC and rolling it out to a subset of your users. In doing so, you can perform acceptability testing or secure buy-in from key stakeholders. By gaining feedback from them at this stage of the game, you can adjust and iterate on your idea before rolling it out to a broader audience.

The same goes for an MVP. Oftentimes, even if you do your due diligence and perform market validation for your app idea, building out a full-scale app can be a costly investment that still doesn’t hit the mark. Consider the value of an MVP to bring the app’s most basic functions to life. Then gauge your users’ interests, likes, pain points, etc. before moving on to additional features.

Time and Money

Time is money. Smaller projects like MVPs and PoCs mean a quicker turnaround. And while we always implement an agile process for all of our projects, these smaller projects will (obviously) get to you quicker than full-scale build-outs. With a working product in-hand, you’ll be able to move on to your next business goal faster – be that testing the market or acceptability testing with your internal users.

Smaller scale projects also lend themselves to smaller-scale budgets. By building out out an MVP or PoC, you’ll spend only a fraction of your total budget, then spread out remaining costs over time as you iterate on the concept.

Influence Funding

Finally, MVPs and PoCs are a great option to build out in an effort to influence funding. With a working demo in hand, you’ll be able to sing the praises of your app to key decision makers that hold the company purse strings. If you’ve struggled to explain the concept of your app idea to them or are looking for a way to gain critical buy-in, consider jockeying for a smaller budget to be used to develop a PoC. Alternately, an MVP is an excellent option for sharing with potential investors and partners that may be interested in funneling capital into your business as you build out a full-scale product.


What are you waiting for?

So where are you in the process? Could you consider building an MVP or PoC for your next app idea? If so, let us know! We’d be happy to help.

 

The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBDTC) recently held a symposium on the Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs through the government. For new and established businesses, these programs can be excellent sources of grants to fund research and innovation. Today, I’m going to highlight key points from the symposium that are helpful when considering your different funding sources for a mobile or software application project.

First, if you’re unfamiliar with the SBDTC, they are a fantastic resource for North Carolina based companies that need solid business advisors, whether just starting out or working through more complicated matters such as international trade and exports. I highly recommend learning more and applying to chat with an advisor.

Don’t judge an agency by its name

Now let’s dig into the SBIR and STTR programs. The main difference between the two is that SBIR grants typically do not require collaboration with a research institution, while STTR grants do. In the Triangle area that could be NC State University, Duke University or the University of North Carolina. For the purpose of this article, and the content at the symposium, I’m going to focus on SBIRs. There are several different agencies that participate in the program outlined on the SBIR website. One key point made at the symposium is that we shouldn’t judge an agency by its name. Often times your project might line up perfectly with the Department of Energy (DoE) but could also qualify for support from the Department of Defense (DoD) or the National Science Foundation (NSF). With the DoD, there are 13 components, meaning the Army, Navy, etc. all have different topics. The important part is to adapt your project submission to the fit the agency need.

Don’t miss the deadline!

Each agency operates on different grants cycles and with different topics of interest for each cycle. For example, the DoD just released the latest round of topics ready for review and submission. While the USDA solicitation period for Phase I has already happened for this year, Phase II is open and available until March 2, 2018. Again, it’s very important to learn and understand how the agency operates so you don’t miss key dates and requirements.

Read all the things

Get to know the agency, their mission and goal for each topic. Read all the way through the solicitation, topic AND any possible submission guides. For example, the USDA has the SBIR solicitation on their website with specifics and guidelines in the RFA but there is also an application guide that lists all of the necessary application requirements. Each agency is different and may have different guides, so break out your search Google skills and scour the sites to learn more. A Google search for SBIR samples will also help guide your submission. Be sure to include the agency name when you search in order to find the most relevant examples.

Register on all the sites

Your first step should be to register on sam.gov. It’s required and it takes time to get approved. From there you’ll need to register on grants.gov, but sam.gov is the very first one you need to get going. Do not wait until right before the deadline or you won’t have time to be approved. We recently went through the SBIR process and registering ahead of time and familiarizing ourselves with the required documents for submission helped us meet the deadline. We also started the application well before we had anything to submit. By doing so, we learned everything needed by way of trial and error. Do not skip this step and make this your very first one.

Other resources

The SBIR.gov site is also a good place to search for previously awarded SBIRs and STTRs. This will give you an idea of awards, topics and types of companies that have received funding in the past. The actual search function on the site isn’t the best and may take some trial and error to get relevant results.

For NC Business, there is a program called One NC Small Business from the NC Department of Congress. It provides a match on SBIR/STTR awards but is currently not funded. Consider contacting your legislature to have this program supported in the future. There are also great stats on the site about awardees and previous funding.

Did I mention the SBDTC? They are very focused on helping NC companies succeed and are particularly good and providing advice on the SBIR/STTR programs. There are also resources within local universities, consider reaching out to them or finding companies that rely on SBIR/STTR programs for continued innovation.

The SBIR/STTR programs can be arduous, however, the process will force you to think through a business plan, commercialization and market research. The worst that can happen is you don’t receive the grant but you can always try again next year!

Your Android app’s visibility in the Google Play Store can be just as important as building the app itself. Today we’re sharing a few tips to optimize your Android app’s Google Play Store listing and improve its visibility for users.

Of course, total installs and positive reviews are extremely helpful for your app’s visibility, but there are also steps you can take to ensure that Google’s search algorithm will prioritize your app as highly as possible in the search results.

Keywords in the Application Title

Use keywords in your application title. Google takes app title into account when ranking your app in search results, so adding a few relevant and descriptive keywords to your app’s title can help it rank higher. There are 50 characters (recently upped from 30) to work with, so come up with a name that succinctly summarizes your app. For example, the GrubHub Google Play Store listing’s title is not just “Grubhub” it is “Grubhub Food Delivery/Takeout”.

Keywords in the App Description

Use keywords in the app description. In the Google Play Store, description greatly affects your app’s ranking (unlike Apple’s App Store, which provides a separate keyword field and does not take the description into account when ranking). Repeat your chosen keywords several times in your description, but use them in a way that sounds natural (Google has policies against spamming keywords, see here).

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords refer to phrases that are specific enough to target users that are in the later stages of their search for an app. These users are more likely to find what they are looking for in your app, and thus are more likely to install. Long-tail keywords also face less competition than more generic keywords in search results. Think “local used car shopping” vs. just “shopping”. An app that helps users find used cars for sale in their area is more likely to show up in a search for “local used car shopping” than in a search for “shopping” because fewer apps are using that same combination of keywords. Keep this concept in mind when determining what keywords to include in your app’s store listing.

External Links

Use external links that send users to your app’s Google Play Store page. External links to your app’s listing cause Google to rank your app a bit higher in search results. You should encourage reputable sites, blogs, etc. to include links to your app’s store listing.

These few tips are easy to implement and are great options for optimizing your Android app for the Google Play Store. If you need help launching your Android App to the Google Play Store, let us know!

 

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