[MEGA POST] Best of Quora: Building Better, More Profitable Apps With Swift, App Store Optimization & Growth Hacking

Written by: Reinder de Vries, February 16 2016, in App Development, App Marketing

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever – Chinese proverb

It’s true! Ask questions, be smarter. And thanks to Quora, you learn learn from the questions of others.

I’ve recently been chosen as a Quora Top Writer for 2016, which is a great honor. Every year Quora chooses approx. 1.000 members out of its > 100 million userbase and awards them the title of Top Writer. Top Writers are hand-selected and awards aren’t based on number of total answers, views or upvotes. Essentially, Top Writers stand out.

In light of the award, and because I spend quite some time in the App Development and App Marketing categories, I’ve selected a few of my favourite Quora questions. I’m sure these questions, and the answers from the community, will help you build better and more profitable apps.

Note: Do you have a question? Feel free to send me an answer request on Quora, or leave your comment at the bottom of this page.

Enjoy!

Building Your Own Apps

Is it possible to develop apps for iOS using a Windows or Linux PC?
Apple has always bundled their software exclusively with their own operating system and hardware. For Xcode, the program you use to build iOS apps, it’s no different: you can only develop iOS apps on Mac.

Read the entire answer on Quora: Is it possible to develop apps for iOS using a Windows or Linux PC?

If Swift is just 5% of iOS development what’s the other 95% and how difficult is it to learn?
You can compare Swift with the engine of a car. Knowing how the engine’s internals work, doesn’t mean you have the skills you need to take the car out on a racetrack! Swift is only a small part of building apps for iPhone and iPad. What are other skills you need to master?

Read: If Swift is just 5% of iOS development what’s the other 95% and how difficult is it to learn?

What are the best resources for learning iOS development?
The ease at which you can get educated, especially online, has gotten greater in the past decade. 25 years ago you would have needed a degree to work with software and apps, nowadays you can go online and access a wealth of free, or relatively cheap, information. If you want to learn how to build your own apps, where can you find the best courses, blogs and videos to do so?

Read: What are the best resources for learning iOS development?

What is the average hourly rate for a freelance mobile app developer experienced on iOS, Android and Blackberry outside of the US?
Provided you’ve learned how to code and build apps, how much money can you make as a freelance developer? It appears hourly rates greatly vary with skill and geographical location, but it’s very possible to make a decent income as a freelancer. Don’t want to trade your time for money? Start a business instead.

Read: What is the average hourly rate for a freelance mobile app developer experienced on iOS, Android and Blackberry outside of the US?

Get 5 of my best practices

Get 5 of my best practices

Learn how to build better iOS apps

I’ll show you exactly how I built a dozen professional iOS apps,
write extensible Swift code, and turn coffee into code.
Wait, what? Yup – into Swift code.

Marketing Your Apps

What are the best practices for marketing an iPhone app?
Eyeballs. You need eyeballs, lots of them. How do you get people to see your app? Go where your customers are already looking. Marketing your app starts on day zero, even before you’re building the app. Solve a problem, come up with a solution, find people with that same problem, sell the solution, build it, profit. It’s as easy as that!

Read: What are the best practices for marketing an iPhone app?

What are great ways to promote an iOS app?
Once you’ve found your audience, how do you get them to notice you? It helps if your app is remarkable, and clearly has a benefit. Over 100 Quorians responded with ideas for this question, and it’s one of the most popular questions in the App Marketing category. (I’m a big fan of Ted Nash’s answer, who underscores the importance of launching before launching…)

Read: What are great ways to promote an iOS app?

What are the most important first steps in marketing a new iOS app?
You’ve got limited time and money. Where do you apply the most effort and how do you balance all your outreach activities? If you’ve read Traction by Weinberg and Mares, you’d know to optimize one or two channels. Your first step is identifying which channels to optimize. Any questions?

Read: What are the most important first steps in marketing a new iOS app?

What are the top ranking ways to monetize an iPhone app?
OK, let’s talk about money. You could get rich selling fresh air (yes, that’s a real business) or you could figure out how to monetize your apps. How? (Hint: it’s not advertising. It’s not charging for your app. In-app currency, neither…)

Read: What are the top ranking ways to monetize an iPhone app?

Programming With Swift

What do software engineers think about programming language Swift?
They LOVE it! Many software engineers were sceptical at first, when Apple introduced the language, but grew more excited over the past iterations of Swift. Language features like optionals, type inference, functional programming capabilities, and Swift’s elegance, turn coding with Swift in a house party. Everybody is Swift-fu fighting!

Read: What do software engineers think about programming language Swift?

Is Swift a good language for a beginner to learn?
Yes. Definitely! Especially compared to Objective-C, Swift’s bigger brother, learning Swift is a good choice for an aspiring app developer. On top of that, an effect of Swift’s rise in popularity is the launch of several blogs and online courses about the language. The community recognizes Swift’s elegance and ease-of-use, resulting in experimentation. And that’s good for the beginner coder.

Read: Is Swift a good language for a beginner to learn?

Is Swift the easiest language to learn?
So Swift is an awesome language, we’re clear on that. But is it actually the easiest language to learn? It depends on what you compare it with. Once you’ve learned programming it becomes easier to pick up new languages. You learn to learn, which is an incredibly important skill if you want to become a better coder. Lua, JavaScript, Go, Sketch and even ActionScript all share features with Swift. Is one easer than the other? I doubt it.

Read: Is Swift the easiest language to learn?

How does Swift compare with other modern programming languages?
Now that we’re talking about programming languages, how does Swift compare? Did Apple just reinvent the ways of old or is the language really novel? Well, if you ask programming language programmers – yes, programming languages are programmed too – they can point out quite a few modern features.

Read: How does Swift compare with other modern programming languages?

Ranking Your Apps With App Store Optimization

What are the most promising companies in the app search optimization space?
App Store Optimization (ASO) isn’t as big as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but it’s slowly turning into a similarly important business. It’s simple: How do you get your app to rank as high as possible in the App Store lists? Many businesses offer products and services to aid ASO. Which are the most promising?

Read: What are the most promising companies in the app search optimization space?

What are some of the best techniques for App Store Optimization?
App Store Optimization is tough. You can’t really know for sure how Apple’s ranking algorithm works, and they’re changing it all the time. What’s a sure-fire way to optimize your apps with all this uncertainty? Pro optimizers share their weapons of choice.

Read: What are some of the best techniques for App Store Optimization?

How does the App Store search and ranking algorithm work?
How does it work? Wouldn’t we all like to know… Unfortunately, the algorithm is secret and with good reason: if it became public, any engineer could figure out how to game the system which would tank the value of the ranking system. Fortunately, the folks at companies such as Sensor Tower keep an eye out for what they think might work.

Read: App Store Optimization: How does the App Store search algorithm work?

What are the best examples of creative work for mobile app install campaigns?
With cost per acquisition (CPA) on an all-time high, it’s getting more and more expensive to get a new user to install your app. As an effect, app marketers have to get more creative to get high-quality leads for their apps. How do they do it?
Read: What are the best examples of creative work for mobile app install campaigns?

Reinder de Vries

Reinder de Vries is a professional iOS developer. He teaches app developers how to build their own apps at LearnAppMaking.com. Since 2009 he has developed a few dozen apps for iOS, worked for global brands and lead development at several startups. When he’s not coding, he enjoys strong espresso and traveling.

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