The Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and the Amazon store are awesome places to distribute your apps, and most of your users probably find you in there. Especially if you get featured.
But what about being found on the web? Aren’t you missing out on downloads by being hard to find online? And what about showing the value of your app the way you want, without following the mobile app stores’ canvas?
There are many reasons why having a website for your app or your app business can be beneficial. Let’s take a look at 5 of them.
1. Showing off your app the way you want
Do you feel like your App Store or Google Play Store pages don’t do your app justice?
You can (and should) do some App Store Optimization, and use the best marketing assets possible on your app page. But on the app store, only showing off your icon and your screenshots is kind of limited.
You built a great app, with a beautiful design. Shouldn’t the place where you show it to the world be more inviting and convincing? By having a website for your app, you can let visitors know about your vision, your story. The way you want, and with your branding.
You’re reaching out to a blogger, or someone expresses interest in your app? Your app website gives you a single place to send them to so they can learn more about it. And it can be particularly valuable if you have both an iOS and Android app.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at this collection of app websites.
You can also sign up for Beta List to see what kind of landing pages startups are building.
2. Getting feedback and generating interest
Maybe you already have tons of people following you on social media, just waiting for you to release your next app and eager to try it.
But maybe you don’t.
And even if you do, could an inspiring website make them want your app even more? Wouldn’t it be great to know whom are those potential users waiting for your app? Could asking them a few questions about what they’d like to see in your app help you deliver a better product?
Even the simplest landing page, with an email form for people to be notified when your app is ready or sign up for early access, can help you with your app marketing. Take a look at the landing page KISSmetrics built for their My Analytics app (and they sure know about marketing).
When should you start building your email list of potential users and beta testers? Right now!
You don’t even need to have written any line of code for that. Check out the page title: “The most beautiful, functional Analytics app for the iPhone”. This is their vision, not the current state of the product: the landing page has been online for a few months, and they are still getting feedback and iterating on the app.
Keep those interested people in the loop. Try building a relationship with them. Don’t wait until launch day, when they have absolutely no idea of who you are, to send them an email. And make them want your app, and want to help you make it great by sending feedback.
Those “early adopters” will be your first users, and help you get some traction when you’ll be releasing your app.
3. Getting more people to find your app
Granted, a simple landing page probably won’t do wonders in terms of SEO. But the website for your app or your app business can be much more than that.
Add a blog to it, where you can share how things are evolving and why you’re building your app the way you are. Write about things in your app’s field that your future audience is interested in.
Make it more than just a product page, and people are more likely to find you, come back to your website and share what you have to say.
The more good and relevant content you create, the more chances you have of people finding you on the web. And if you get good at it and create interesting content, you can guest post your way to even more users!
Don’t get me wrong, though. This is not easy, and it takes time. Be consistent, post regularly and keep at it.
Side note: in my KISSmetrics’ My Analytics app example, they haven’t built a blog nor created content for that specific product. But that’s because KISSmetrics is already getting tons of traffic from the content they’re creating on their blog to market their main product. And they link to the app page from their blog, so here you go.
4. Not depending (too much) on others
There are things you can’t control.
The direct links came back fairly shortly, but if you make sure your app website comes up high in the search results when people are looking for your app then those kind of things will affect you much less. And you want future users to find you not only with your app or brand name, but also with your most important keywords. Which won’t happen just with your app store page.
What if you have several apps?
You can use one website to promote the other apps, and vice-versa. If one app gets more success and you get more visitors on one website, you can build on that web traffic to help users discover other of your apps that they should like.
You have several apps for the same niche market, or closely related? Consider building a website regrouping those: the awesome content you’ll be building will benefit all of your apps.
It’s good to focus on how your future users can find you on the mobile app stores but make sure that you’re not missing out on web traffic, whether it comes from mobiles or desktops.
Having an online presence for your app(s) lets you do some promotion the way you want, and helps you get a following before launch. Creating interesting and relevant content for your audience can definitely give you more exposure, and reduce your dependency to the app stores. And when come the times for new apps, you already have some web traffic to build on!
Sylvain Gauchet is a co-founder of Apptamin. He’s been marketing and promoting mobile apps for several years and is passionate about start-ups and app marketing. Apptamin provides app developers with great-looking promo videos, helping them show what their app is all about in seconds. The company also helps out developers to make their apps stand out from the crowd by writing thorough and useful posts on how to promote your mobile application, like their Ultimate iOS App Marketing Guide.
@sylvainww / @apptamin