October 13, 2023

App Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid


Congratulations, your app is live! Time to sit back and have a well-deserved cuppa right? Assuming you have a fully developed maintenance plan, then absolutely. 
But, just in case, we have the most common maintenance mistakes people make: 

Underestimating Ongoing Costs

People often forget to budget for ongoing maintenance costs, including server hosting, security updates, bug fixes, feature updates, and customer support. These costs can accumulate and impact the overall financial health of the app.

Failure to regularly update the app with patches and bug fixes can result in a degraded user experience and potential security vulnerabilities. Updates are crucial to address emerging issues and improve the app's performance and features

Ignoring User Feedback and Not Staying Updated with Technology Trends

Users provide valuable feedback about their experiences with the app, including bugs, feature requests, and usability concerns. Ignoring or not adequately addressing user feedback can lead to a decline in user satisfaction and usage. Overlooking performance optimization can lead to slow app loading times, crashes, and increased uninstall rates. Optimizing app performance is vital for retaining users and improving their satisfaction.

Technology evolves rapidly, and not keeping up with the latest trends can make an app outdated or incompatible with newer devices and operating systems. Adapting to emerging technologies is essential for long-term relevance and competitiveness.

Not Evaluating your Monetisation Strategy and adapting 

All aspects of maintaining an app will, unfortunately, cost money. And unless you have a limitless bank account, you will probably need your app to cover at least part of the cost to sustain it. But even if you set out an ironclad monetisation strategy prior to launch, things can change and you will need to adapt.

Analysing all of your user’s behaviours across your app after launch is of course vital for planning your app updates, but it’s important to pay particular attention to how they are interacting with your paid features. If you have a freemium model for example, how many of your users are upgrading to the paid version? If you have adverts, how many impressions or click-throughs are you getting? Or if you have in-app purchases, what on offer is selling the most or least?

You can never know exactly how users will act when they get hold of your app, but by regularly asking these types of questions and diving deep into your analytics tools, you can make sure that your app continues to generate the income you need it to. And if it’s not, then by answering these questions early you can pivot to a new strategy, and avoid disaster. Don’t be afraid of shifting up your monetisation methods to focus on what works, and dropping what doesn’t. 

Timing can play a big factor here. Users react to monetisation methods in different ways, but it's sometimes possible to bring in less popular methods after you’ve built up a loyal user base. Adverts can be very off-putting for new users, but once you have a decently sized user base, you can leverage your knowledge of them to create an advertising strategy that only shows highly relevant ads. This will not only achieve a higher click-through rate (so more money) but will be better received by your users. 

Other monetisation methods like premium features or selling products through your app can also be easier to sell to your users once you’ve built up some loyalty. But tread carefully, users should always feel like the app is improving with new features, rather than just being reduced to a simple cash grab.

App Store Optimization

An often overlooked part of the app development process, despite its tendency to define an app’s success or failure. And like many other parts of the development of an app, it should not be set aside after launch.

App Store Optimization determines how your app is presented in app stores. It determines how easily your app can be found, how often it is recommended, and how it looks when users find it. If you were selling your product in a supermarket, ASO would be akin to your product’s packaging and where in the supermarket it is placed (on the bottom shelf or in prime position right at the end of the aisle?).

The factors that come into play with ASO include optimising keywords in your name and descriptions, the use of eye-catching visuals, including engaging video content, correctly categorising your app, and making sure your content is localised. But the right choices for these when your app launches, may not be the same a year or even six months down the line.

Similar to how you can evaluate a website’s performance on search engines over time (SEO), improving or even just maintaining your app's ASO ranking over time requires continually evaluating its performance. Track how your app is ranking against your competitors. Look at how its rank changes in different categories or in different regions.

Of course a big part of how your app ranks will be down to the quality of the app itself. So checking up on your app’s performance should already be part of your regular maintenance and app update cycle. But if you start to drop below your competitors on the app store rankings, take a look at their ASO. You might find a quick win that improves your app's performance without the need for an expensive new feature.

So, now you know the common pitfalls, you have time to amend your maintenance plan and keep your awesome app in tip-top shape to delight your audience.

App Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid