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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?

After you're done picking out a theme and fixing up the navigation, header, and overall aesthetic of your app, you can start adding content. GoodBarber offers a few different page layouts, including information (about the company, contact us, calendar, map), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and e-commerce integrated with Amazon, Shopify, and Etsy. You can also add an "Article" page, which lets you display blog posts from Wordpress, Blogger, TypePad, or an RSS feed, or even upload content through GoodBarber's CMS. In other words, this app could be your blog.

I'm a big fan of its last real step, which lets you design your sections. Each page has a few different layouts you can choose from, so you're not stuck with a generic Twitter feed or a list of articles. In Appy Pie and Como, the page layouts are fairly rigid, which means that some pages will inevitably end up looking very cookie-cutter. The last two steps after section design in GoodBarber just involve editing your splash screen and app icon.

You can try out GoodBarber's service for free for 30 days before you're required to upgrade to a paid plan. GoodBarber offers three tiers: Standard, Full, and Advanced. The Standard plan, which starts at $16 per month, is extremely limited--this plan doesn't let you add any original content, which means you can't have an about page, contact forms, or basically anything that you've created. What you can have is an RSS feed, a website, and social media accounts--so your app will essentially be a hub for users to find your content elsewhere on the web.

The Full plan, which starts at $32 per month, gets you everything you need, including original content. You have access to all of GoodBarber's functionality: Android and iOS support, unlimited push notifications, advanced analytics, and the ability to add internal or third-party ad networks to your app. The Advanced plan, which starts at $48 per month, gets you just a few extras on top of the Full plan--namely, tablet support (adaptive design) and API access. You can purchase API access on the Standard and Full plans for an extra $4 per month.

If you're willing to pay a little more per month, GoodBarber's apps can really step up your game. You will spend more time creating your app with this service, but you'll also have more tools--including a robust library of fonts and stock photos, as well as a built-in CMS--at your fingertips with which to do so.

Go forth, and be mobile

If you're still on the fence about which service to try, you can try all of them--and more. Most DIY app building services offer a free trial or a limited free account. While you won't be able to submit your app to the App Store for free (though you should still be able to test it out on your own device), you will be able to get an idea of what your app will look like before you commit to a monthly hosting fee.


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