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Make your own app with these DIY services

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | June 25, 2015
Small business owners: Have you ever considered going mobile? That is, making an app for your business, whether it's a restaurant, store, or events company?


If you've already got a robust Facebook page or website, Como makes app-making even easier than Appy Pie does. Como is very similar to Appy Pie, but with one major (possibly game-changing) difference--in the second step of Como's app-building process, they ask you to input your Facebook page or website URL, and then they pull your existing content and info to create a template for your app. This feature is especially nice because it helps give you an idea of what pages you might want to add to your app (Appy Pie recommends pages based on your app category, but Como chooses a category for you).

Of course, if you don't have a Facebook page or a website, you can still use Como's app builder; you'll just have to upload your own content.

Como's app building process also involves three steps: First, you name your app (apostrophes are not banned); second, you input your Facebook page name or website URL (or skip this step, if you don't have a Facebook page or website); and third, you edit your pre-built page and/or build your page in Como's app builder. Como's builder looks a lot like Appy Pie's, except it's a bit cleaner and more polished-looking. Like Appy Pie's builder, there are two sections: "App Features," which is where you'll add pages and content; and "Style & Navigation," which is where you'll edit how your app looks. There's also a large live preview of what your final app will look like to the right of the interface.

If you used step two, your app will already have some pages. To add a new page, click the "Add Feature" button and pick a page layout from the menu. Como offers plenty of page layout options, including information pages (about your company, email/call/contact us, and map), social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, RSS feed), and monetization pages (food delivery, mobile commerce, loyalty cards, and coupons). For mobile commerce, you can add a Shopify store, integrate Yelp or OpenTable reviews, and create catalogs of items. Each page has its own specific customization options, but most pages let you edit the page name, icon, and background image.

In Style & Navigation, Como offers themes (background image, color scheme, navigation style) based on your app's category. For example, if you classify your app as a musician's app, you'll see themes like "DJ," "Jazz," and "Sound Waves." You don't have to use a theme, of course, but they offer a nice way to see how your page looks in different layouts and color schemes before you make additional tweaks. Here, you can change your app header, icon, splash screen, background image, and colors. You can also pick one of six different navigation layouts, including the classic five icons at the bottom of the screen, two different matrices, two different lists, and a slide-out menu.


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