Before you consider any paid advertising campaigns, you should start with one of the simplest forms of app marketing, a website. It is inexpensive and can do a lot to expand the awareness of your app outside of the App Store.
Marketing your app through all of the different promotion channels can be tricky, but luckily, creating a website is pretty straightforward. In this post, we will give you some setup alternatives, provide design tips, and give you some examples of great app websites.
The first question that has probably crossed your mind is: "Do I actually need a website for my app?" We believe that any app will benefit from some sort of website. Although we specialize in helping you do App Store Optimization (ASO), the world of web search is a totally different game and you want to be visible there too.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's start by looking at what kind of website you need. There are basically three ways to do it:
Website + blog
Whichever option you choose, be sure that you use a custom domain, to keep your branding consistent.
If you just have one app and do not need a blog, then a landing page might be perfect for you. It is just a one page website that briefly describes what your app does and provides a download link.
Sites like Unbounce or DasApp.net will host your site and give you tools and templates to easily create a great looking landing page. DasApp.net is on the cheaper side at free (or $4.99/month, with email support), while Unbounce is more expensive, but gives you tools for testing and optimizing your page.
Keep in mind that you can add more features to your website later. It is usually easier to add features then take them away, so when in doubt, a simple landing page is a great place to start. You can always migrate to a regular website if you need to.
If you want a little more than just a landing page, then creating your site with Wordpress is a great option. There are other content management systems (CMS) out there, but Wordpress is one of the easiest to use and you can always find freelancers to hire if you do not want to do the work yourself.
Just sign up with a website host like HostGator. They have an easy Wordpress installation process that can get you up and running in a few minutes.
From there, you will need to either purchase a Wordpress template or have one custom designed. You can find freelancers on oDesk, Elance or Dribbble if you do not have the design skills. Of course, use a responsive template so your site looks good on mobile devices.
Depending on what kind of app you have, a blog may or may not be a good option for you. If you have the time to continually create quality content that is useful to your app users and helps you get discovered in web search, then you may want to give it a try. If not, then stick to a basic website or a single landing page.
The key to creating a great homepage is to keep it simple. As soon as someone visits your site, they should know that it is a site about a mobile app. You can do this by posting app icons or pictures of mobile devices with your app open on them.
Be clear about what your app does and why they should download it. Then have great screenshots of your app, that will get people excited about downloading your app.
You also may want to put your demo video on your homepage so people can see your app in action. Here is a great example of the Daypack app homepage:
Maybe your goal is to build a portfolio of apps to increase your revenue. Cross promoting your apps within the apps themselves is a great way to get more downloads.
But if you also have a website, you will be able to leverage it as another way to cross promote your apps. Assuming you make similar apps, if someone likes one of your apps, they will probably like the others too.
Before we move on to more great examples of mobile app websites, we just want to remind you about Smart App Banners. If you haven't read our post on how to implement a Smart App Banner on your website, then be sure to check that out. Here is an example of how a banner would look on an iPhone:
It can be as simple as adding one line of code to your website and every time someone visits your website from an iOS device, they will see a banner that tells them that you have a mobile app available, or reminds them to use it if they already have it installed.
Here are two mobile app websites that look great and do an excellent job of promoting their apps. The first one is the Tapps Games site, a development company out of Brazil. What we like most about their site is the neatly displayed icons in the middle of the homepage that showcases their latest games.
Our second example is from the I Track My Time app. It is an excellent example of a simple landing page that instantly communicates what the app does and points a visitor to the download link on the App Store.
A website is a great way to market your app and even promote your app before it launches. If you do not have a website for your app yet, we hope that this post has encouraged you to start one. In a future posts, we will show you how to promote your website to get more traffic.
Do you have an awesome website for your app(s)? Let's see it, post a link in the comments below.