Our first spotlight on small business is with the team at Goatella, a small business based in Wisconsin, the team at Goatella creates apps for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire and NooK color e-readers.
They have a special love for creating educational apps for kids, including a helpful selection of apps for kids on the Autism spectrum. But it’s not all fun and games at Goatella; they can also help you with custom apps for small businesses and websites.
For those that aren’t app-savvy, can you tell us a little bit about the app world and how things work when you want a custom app for your website?
Getting a custom app is like getting other custom design work such as a graphic or website. You give us a summary of what you want, and provide information we will need. We then go about creating the app to your specifications. We can send you screen-shots along the way of how the app is turning out so you have an idea of what it will look like at final release.
To get folks thinking outside the website a little bit, what kind of cool things can be done with an app for a typical small business aside from just delivering their website content to mobile users?
The app should do something useful so that users will open it. Perhaps it can provide type of calculator, tool, or a tip of the day. Since the types of small business are so varied, so are the apps we can produce for them.
How can having a customized app get new exposure for a small business?
If your app provides useful information or a useful tool people may be able to use it to discover your business. Not everyone will find your app through your website, people will end up finding your app through the app store and from there being lead to your website. If your app has something useful that the person uses every day then they will be reminded of your business ever day, so you’re always fresh in their head if the need something.
You guys do both iOS and Android app development at Goatella. How difficult is to take an app that was already done for iOS and create an Android version? (and vice-versa?)
It’s two completely separate programs. iOS apps are written in Objective C and Android apps are written in Java. Although creating or having one may give us a visual idea of what the other should look like, the programming doesn’t carry over at all, so it’s like starting from scratch.
Most people think of just having an app that displays their website, but there are all sorts of cool things out there that apps, some are just for fun and others are tools. Your team developed a nifty fabric calculator for my cross stitch website awhile back that has been really popular (I get compliments on it all the time) – What other cool tool apps have you worked on lately?
Its important to keep in mind that although your app can be a great resource for information, in order to be approved on the Apple app store it can’t just be a mini version of your site and actually has to “do” something. It’s up to the reviewer you are randomly assigned to decide if your app is useful.
One cool tool we made for kids allows them to build words. It was inspired by time I spent working in a kindergarten class. The student picks the beginning blend such as “Bl” and can build a word by choosing the ending sound such as “ack” “end” or “ink”.
One of our very popular free apps is a Xylophone for kids. It sounds simple but is very entertaining.
Those are all really great apps and the kids stuff is useful and fun at the same time, which is always good. Do you have any recommendations on how small businesses might incorporate tool apps into their overall marketing strategy?
Think about your users and what would be useful to them. What do YOU use ever day, what do you wish you had had an app to do for youself… chances are that it will also be useful to some the millions of app users out there.
Last question; I know the project cost is going to vary widely per project, so it’s always best to get a specific quote. Can you give us a ballpark price estimate for a small business that wants a simple custom app to deliver their website for iOS and Android users?
As we mentioned earlier in the interview, iOS apps and Android app are a completely different program, so you will probably get them quoted separately. Some things are easier to do in one language while other things are easier in the other language so the cost for the apps won’t always be the same if you want both.
For a very simple and small app with a few pages of information prices would start at about $500. Obviously it goes up from there depending on the size of the app what you all want it to be able to do.
If your app is free we can distribute it for you under our licenses. If you want to charge money for your app you’ll need to buy your own licenses. That is $15/year for Google Play, free for the Amazon app store, free for the NooK app store (only the color NooKs) and $99/year for the Apple App store.
Check out these other cool examples from the Goatella portfolio;
One quick sub-question before we go. How would you recommend handling that to work for iOS since they require your app do something “extra” other than just deliver the website to the user?
This will vary widely by what your business does. If your running a travel agency maybe your app can convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. If your selling mortgages maybe you can have a mortgage calculator. In Loretta’s case she had a site about cross stitching so we made a cross stitch calculator. Just think about what might be useful to your users, and we can probably create it!
Thank you for joining us for this week’s spotlight. Be sure to check out the Goatella app portfolio, they have some really fun and interesting things going on right now. Stop by again next week for another small business spotlight, or you can have them delivered straight to your inbox if you’re on our weekly updates list;