Why Does your App Need Long-term Maintenance?
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As a full-stack app development company, we do not only design and develop digital solutions. We also make sure that these solutions keep running in the long term. After all, technology is continuously changing, which can, at one point, affect the performance of your application. In order to avoid problems, your app needs constant updates to match current and upcoming technological advancements.
Think of your app as a house: buying property doesn’t merely include the purchase of a building. You will have to invest in keeping it clean, upgrading it, and generally making sure it will last for a long time. Maintenance matters, also in the case of app development. In this blog, we show you the importance of long-term application maintenance, and what that looks like in practice.
The benefits of long-term application maintenance
As mentioned before, the application development process doesn’t stop after the delivery of the product. The world around us is changing, including its technologies and the surrounding market. Here are 5 benefits of taking care of your application long after its launch:
1. Provide an optimal user experience
You don't want your users to simply download and use your application. Rather, you want them to love it, need it, and want to use it on a daily basis. Creating and maintaining a strong connection with your end-users is one of the best ways to grow your app and keep it successful for years to come. In order to do this, you’ll have to provide them with the best possible experience. An experience that is so good they will tell their friends and family about it.
Monitoring and maintaining your app over time provides you valuable information about how your users feel about your app. Keeping track of client feedback and market trends allows you to continuously adapt and improve your app following the users’ preferences, issues, and habits.
2. Avoid uninstalls
As a result of a bad user experience, users can choose to delete your app and pick an alternative. Apps with irritating bugs or apps that frequently crash can drive consumers away faster than you can say "uninstall." Similarly, if an app stops adding value to its customers after a period of time by, for example, not including new or updated features, consumers will have no need to keep it on their phones any longer, especially if there’s a better option available.
Maintaining your app over time requires a consistent effort to resolve any problems that might appear after entering the market. Your most valuable asset is your engaged user base, and retaining them should be your primary concern. This includes making sure your app runs quickly and efficiently and is always up to date with the newest trends and technological advancements.
3. Ensure long-term revenue
Regularly maintained and updated apps can provide numerous financial benefits, such as greater ROI and lower expenditures. Building a perfect profitable app on the first try is close to impossible, no matter the skills and experience of the developer. After your app is live, you'll almost certainly run across some bugs. Keeping a close eye on your app and keeping a regular maintenance cycle allows you to stretch the cost of correcting issues out over a longer period of time, instead of having to spend a huge amount all at once after a few weeks or months which can result in much higher overall costs than if you had spotted and corrected it earlier. Next to that, you can also save quite a bit by keeping close track of your users and their interaction with your app over time. Perhaps you can remove some features you are still investing in that prove to not add any value to your customers anymore.
Maintaining your app can also help you maximize your return on investment over time. You can always explore new ways to save money and gain new customers. Even better, by providing new features and tracking their usage over time, you can encourage existing users to interact and convert more frequently.
4. Stay ahead of the competition
At this moment, millions of applications are competing for a spot on your smartphone. Generally, users don’t have the space to store them all, or they simply don’t have time to use them all. Because of this, your app must stand out from the crowd and convince your users of using your particular app over others. By regularly updating your app, you’re better able to stand out and beat the competition by keeping users activated. The moment you stop maintaining your app with continuous bug fixes, technical adaptations, and improved features, users will instantly start searching for better solutions. Maintaining your app over time and providing your users with features following the latest trends will keep you way ahead of the competition.
5. Keep your brand in the spotlights
Your application is the interactive business card of your company. A well-functioning and user-friendly app shines a bright light on your brand and keeps criticism at bay. A large number of bad reviews can harm your brand, driving current and future users away from your app. Naturally, you’ll want to avoid this, so maintaining your product needs to be one of your number one priorities after launch.
What does long-term app maintenance look like?
Besides knowing why app maintenance is so important, it’s also essential to know how it works. There are different ways to maintain your application, from updating the backend code to tracking user data and adapting your user retention strategy. If you have the time and passion for it, you could read into the basics of data analytics and perform this type of maintenance yourself. However, something as complex as making changes to the backend code of your application might be better left to the experts. If your app is developed by a development partner, this person or company will normally offer to provide a maintenance service. After all, they’ve written the code and know it by heart, so they’ll also know where to look when something goes wrong.
Here are six ways you or your development partner can maintain your app after its launch:
Updates for app support
Our devices are constantly updating and evolving, providing improved experiences and offering features with better performance than previous versions. Every year, a new iOS or Android version is released. And imagine how many new mobile devices with improved specifications are released over time in terms of hardware. Because of the continuously updating software and hardware in our devices, the applications on these devices must change as well. If not, you might risk an incompatibility between your app and the devices your users have.
You'll lose clients if you don't maintain your app on a regular basis and make sure it's compatible with all of the latest devices and operating systems. As technology advances, your users will continue to expect more and without proper maintenance, your app will be left behind. Think, for example, how ubiquitous 2-Factor Authentication, fingerprint logins, and facial recognition are now. A user may not want to use a financial services app that doesn’t have these additional security and convenience measures in place.
Bugs are an inevitability of software development. Even in the cleanest code, there can be one tiny issue that causes your app to not function properly or even crash. Frequent checks and fixes can prevent your users from spotting them first and uninstalling your app from their phones. Not only do bugs have a negative effect on your users, but they can also create major expenses later on when there’s a lot to fix at once. By maintaining your app, you can combine bug fixes with new feature releases on a regular cycle.
Always be on the lookout for bugs and technical problems, or have someone do this for you, and have them fixed. Keep track of comments and feedback among your users, so that any concerns or complaints can be addressed quickly.
It’s essential to keep an eye on how your app is doing. Keep a lookout for slow loading times, lags, and concerns with responsiveness. You should keep track of your analytics reports in addition to monitoring the technical operation of your app.
It is essential to follow important metrics like your retention and churn rates, consumer usage trends, and engagement and conversion rates. Monitoring these data will help you enhance your app’s functionalities and features, reduce so-called “user churn”, and maintain it in top shape for the long haul.
Keep check of changing licenses
The majority of applications are made with licensed software (open source or other). Make sure you've done your research and are aware of any licenses or certificates that need to be renewed and updated. Using software without the right license is seen as copyright infringement, and can result in high fines. The good news is that this part of maintenance is quite easy to forecast. If you did your homework during the development process and understand what you signed up for, there's a good chance you won't be surprised by unexpected and high renewal costs.
Add or update features
It's a good idea to keep an eye on your app to see how consumers engage with it. This could provide you with vital information about which features they utilize the most and which ones they tend to avoid and deem unnecessary. Adding feature upgrades to your app based on user feedback and usage patterns keeps users engaged and interested. Keeping an eye on your app’s reviews can show you more insights into suggestions for enhanced or new features. Next to that, regular feature upgrades are a more cost-effective approach than starting from scratch or implementing a large update at once after a long period of time.
Upgrade the design
Keeping up with your users’ evolving tastes in trends and usage habits is critical to your app's long-term success. And that involves maintaining the design of your user interface (UI) to fit the latest trends at all times. Users get more mature as they spend more time with your application. Your interface must evolve as well, especially if you want to keep your existing users engaged and provide them with the best possible experience. Furthermore, if you want to stay relevant in the scene, you must tailor your user interface to changing trends and designs.
Is it expensive to maintain an app?
As the owner of your application, you can make its maintenance as cheap or expensive as you wish. If your budget allows you to, you can choose to outsource all aspects of your app’s maintenance, from data analytics to technical bug fixes and updating software licenses. If you have a limited budget, you can pick up some of these aspects yourself. For example, keeping track of your users’ changing behavior and needs in the form of data analysis is something you can get a hang of quite easily. However, you might also need to consider if you have the time to do this.
Usually, app maintenance is one of the services offered by a development partner. This is usually offered after the delivery of the initial solution in the form of monthly or yearly plans.When it comes to precise app maintenance costs, there is no one-size-fits all number. Maintenance costs vary depending on your app’s functionality, features, licenses, tech stack, and more. The costs also depend on who you’re hiring to do it for you. Generally, most app development partners suggest assigning a budget of around a yearly price of 20% of the total cost of the development of your app. This means that the more expensive your application, the more you need to budget for future maintenance costs.
Need a hand?
At Lizard Global, we guide our clients through the entire development process. This includes the maintenance process after the delivery of the product. Our development team will help you track of potential improvements and issues and make sure your app’s performance is top notch for as long as you want us to maintain your application.
Want to know more about our development process and the long-term maintenance of your delivered solution? Get in touch with our team on our social media channels, send a mail, give us a call, or fill out the contact form on our website for more info.