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App creation software allows you to create consumer- and employee-facing apps without becoming a master coder. To help you find the best solution for your business, we evaluated more than 50 programs. In our research, we examined the different software’s pricing, features like customer engagement and content customization, flexibility, and ease of use to determine the value and quality of each app maker. These qualities led us to choose Zoho Creator, Bizness Apps, Appy Pie and GoodBarber as the best app makers.
Bizness Apps is the best app maker for small business because it gives small businesses in various industries the tools they need to build native iOS and Android apps for iPhones, iPads and Android devices, as well as progressive web apps – no coding needed. Its drag-and-drop design engine and ready-made templates make it easy to use, and it offers design team services if you need someone to build an app for you. Bizness Apps also serves small mobile app businesses that create apps for clients.
Although Bizness Apps is pricier than some of the other app makers we evaluated, it has plans for both individual users and resellers who create apps for clients. Here’s what they cost:
Bizness Apps offers some cool features that you can integrate with your app, and a lot of flexibility in creating a native iOS app, a native Android app, or even a progressive web app if you prefer to go that route.
It’s well suited for retail outlets and restaurants, with static landing pages that look impressive. For busy restaurant and retail shop owners with limited staff and time, it is possible to create an impressive, professional-looking app with the features your customers want relatively quickly.
If you own a restaurant, you can post your menu in your app and allow your customers to place their orders and pay through the app, or you can offer a convenient way for customers to reserve a table. Retailers, meanwhile, can capitalize on in-app sales and add a loyalty feature for customers.
Another aspect where Bizness Apps shines for these types of small businesses is its ability to help customers reach you once they’ve downloaded your app. GPS directions can help customers find their way to your physical location, and they can dial phone numbers listed in your app with the one-touch calling feature. This makes it incredibly easy for your customers to connect with you.
Here are a few more of Bizness Apps’ noteworthy features:
Bizness Apps works across multiple platforms, offers a wide selection of templates, and includes several tools for content creation and marketing. We were impressed by the fact that even if you don’t have coding knowledge or expertise, you can create an attractive app with this software.
While the system is relatively easy to learn and use, adding content is a more complex process with Bizness Apps than it is with other app builders. When you add features and then preview the changes, you need to religiously save your page every time you make a change, or you’ll lose your work.
Also, the creation and submission process, while never overly difficult, involves more steps than other app makers in our reviews require. All in all, there is a higher learning curve for the Bizness Apps interface.
Bizness Apps provides thorough information on its site to help users learn how to create an app and understand the features available to them. You can watch video tutorials and read e-books, case studies, and blog articles to learn more about creating apps and an app company. If you need help using the software, you can contact the company by email or through its support ticket feature. However, the company doesn’t offer support by phone or live chat, so it takes a while to get in direct contact with someone who can help you.
A giant in the app creation space, Appy Pie is the best software for quick app creation because it offers affordable, quick, code-free app creation. It provides specialized templates for different app types based on your industry and use case that make building programs a breeze. It also offers the Small Business App Builder, which is geared specifically to SMB owners who want apps that they can easily customize.
App makers can get expensive, but Appy Pie keeps its cost at an affordable rate for a range of quality options. After you take the service for a spin with the seven-day free trial, you can choose from three paid plans:
Appy Pie doesn’t skimp on features for building your program. Templates are arranged by category, and there are also themed templates to choose from, for a total of more than 100 options. Appy Pie provides templates for an excellent range of businesses, so only users with extremely specific branding requirements need to pay for the Premium subscription level.
Appy Pie’s preview function is one of the best among app makers, showing you exactly how your app looks on both phones and tablets for the respective app stores. This feature helps you create an app that functions correctly across multiple platforms. As you add new features, such as a Twitter feed, you see the changes to your app in real time.
Apps made with Appy Pie also integrate easily with major CMS platforms, like WordPress and Joomla. You can also pull content directly from your existing company site, which is a quick and fantastic way to create a consistent design without much fuss.
Here are a few more features that Appy Pie provides:
For small businesses wanting to create an app quickly and inexpensively, Appy Pie is an excellent choice. It allows you to create a free custom app with a drag-and-drop interface that’s blissfully simple to use.
Appy Pie is built with ease of use in mind. You never need to add source code, and if your business has a website, you can pull content directly from your site into the app builder by simply inputting the URL. This feature not only improves the user experience but helps you create an app version of your site quickly and easily.
Appy Pie is easy to use, but in case you have trouble with it, the company offers numerous support options. You can access video tutorials about specific tools directly from the application. The company’s website also has a searchable knowledgebase with FAQs and tutorials. If you need more in-depth help, be aware that the subscription tier you select determines the type of support you get.
GoodBarber is our choice for the best flexible app design program thanks to its vast selection of templates, above-average creation tools and customer engagement opportunities. It offers Android and iOS native apps as well as progressive web apps (PWAs), which you can create with zero coding experience. It has an intuitive user interface with a great selection of tools and an affordable price. 
GoodBarber offers businesses multiple options for creating modern, eye-catching native apps for Android and iOS or PWAs. It offers three subscription tiers for the Classic plan:
GoodBarber offers a 30-day free trial without requiring a credit card number, so you won’t be automatically charged if you choose not to continue working on the platform.
Before you create an app, you choose the industry your app fits best. GoodBarber’s categories include restaurants and nonprofits. You receive the same wide selection of themes and backdrops no matter which industry you select.
Using GoodBarber’s theme builder, you can edit any backdrop to create your own unique interface look, which you can then apply across your whole app in just a few clicks. The interface is aimed at introductory users, so coding is not necessary.
There are eight sections of content management in this app builder, giving you a platform to input and edit articles, videos, photos, audio, maps, forms and calendars for your business’s app. GoodBarber also integrates with most web content management systems, so you can link your app to your website to get updated content.
GoodBarber distributes your native app in the Google Play Store regardless of the pricing plan you choose. On the iOS Premium plan, it distributes it in the App Store for you. It also lets you remove the GoodBarber logo and add your own. Your app will be capable of indexing by search engines, and GoodBarber also offers monetization options to advertise your app online.
Despite the many features and options, GoodBarber is intuitive to use. The instant preview function is located on the side of the screen, while options such as header, menu and content tools are available in a designated sidebar.
You can customize their app a la carte with add-ons from GoodBarber’s catalog. Installation in your app is immediate and requires no technical knowledge. Once installed, the add-on integrates perfectly with any features you’ve already installed. Popular add-ons include the loyalty program, live audio and video, and SMS and monetization options.
It’s important for application builders to offer a reliable way for users to seek help and ask questions. You can reach GoodBarber for support through an email form, once you’ve specified the type of problem you’re experiencing.
In our testing, it took the company a few days to email us back, and not all of our questions were answered. Also, the company doesn’t offer phone assistance, which can be an issue for users who have a complicated issue to explain or simply prefer speaking to a live person about their concerns.
App creation can be affordable with a template service. Many no-code app builders offer free trials or free versions, and nearly all offer a money-back guarantee for a certain period of time. In general, the more you pay for service, the more features you will have to create a professional-looking app.
Here’s a basic price range and what you can expect to get with app-making software. Note that the monthly fee of most apps is billed annually. If you prefer to pay monthly, not annually (and if the service will let you; not all do), you can expect to pay more per month.
In addition to the monthly subscription price, other fees may apply. Both Apple and Google charge a fee if you offer your native app on the App Store or Google Play Store. You’ll have to register as a developer through Apple, and it charges a $99 developer fee each year. Google charges a $25 one-time fee, meaning you won’t have to pay this again if you submit another app to Google Play. If you charge consumers for your app, Google and Apple take a 30% cut of your sales after your app is published.
Other fees come from the app makers themselves. Some charge a review fee if you submit an app to the App Store. Not all platforms charge this fee – for instance, GoodBarber offers iOS review functionality for free – so talk to the app maker you’re considering about its app review policy. Also, even though you’re paying subscription, review, and other potential fees, some platforms state they’re not responsible if Apple or Google rejects your app. So, you could spend a lot of time and money developing an app that is ultimately rejected.
If you create a progressive web app, app developer fees, review fees, and the like don’t apply, which is one of the appealing aspects of PWAs.
One final issue to be aware of is that many app builders deactivate your app if you cancel your subscription to their service. Some companies store your app for a certain time in case you choose to reactivate it, but, again, this policy varies from service to service. Ask the companies you’re strongly considering about their cancellation policies, and factor this into your decision.
Negotiation isn’t really a factor for entrepreneurs who go the app builder software route, because pricing is a fixed subscription fee based on the features you want for your app. However, if you want to hire an app-making service, do these three things before you commit to a company:
It’s likely the service will suggest additional features. To stay on track and budget, don’t be afraid to ask the developer how difficult it may be to add those features later. In many cases, designers and developers are simply offering you every option they have, many of which can be incorporated later if you require additional functionality as your user base grows. You don’t want to include too many extra features when you first launch your app and overpay for your end product.
When deciding which software program will help you build the best app, pay attention to four areas: content creation, distribution, customer engagement and customer support.
The best mobile app builder interface is a matter of personal preference. Some are clean and simple; others are packed with features. Most interfaces use drag-and-drop functionality, but some do not.
Pick an interface that feels right to you – one that doesn’t overwhelm you with features or, conversely, frustrate you with its lack of tools. Many companies offer a free trial, which allows you to test the software and see if it delivers what you’re looking for.
Most app generators advertise that anyone can use them – even if you don’t have any programming experience. Most of the programs we reviewed are pretty easy to understand, and a novice without any coding experience can build a decent app with them. If you have programming experience or specific imaging needs, though, you may want an app builder that allows you to input and manipulate code.
Make sure the app creator you choose can generate cross-platform iterations. This means that you design the app, and the software translates it for iOS, Android or Windows platforms. Verify the compatibility you want with the mobile app builder you choose.
The end goal of creating an app, of course, is to get it into the hands of consumers who will download it and consistently use it. It is your responsibility as the app creator to keep your app relevant and make it a permanent fixture on your customers’ phones or tablets.
If you have more than just a landing page, an RSS feed will be your best friend. Content published on your desktop site will transfer directly to your app.
Customers expect push notifications as a rule, so app-designing programs now focus on more efficient means of reaching an audience. Push notifications are now geotargeting marketing tools. Based on your app analytics, you can send notifications to people in a certain region or a particular operating system. The market has advanced so quickly that geotargeting is already commonplace in the app industry. It’s all part of helping you find the most receptive audience.
When you’re learning how to use app creation software, customer service is important. The app makers we evaluated all maintain extensive knowledgebases with tutorials, answers to frequently asked questions and online manuals.
Most of these companies list an email and phone number so you can contact their technical support teams. Some services offer live chat to put you in direct contact with a technical support agent.
Mobile app builders, which live in the cloud, are designed for small screens and support the two major cross-platform mobile operating systems. These services charge monthly subscription fees, but they are much cheaper overall and inherently more flexible than hiring a developer to create and maintain a custom app for you.
Small business owners wanting to make an app should ask themselves some questions. What is the best technology to create a mobile app for your business? How much will it cost? Can you make an app on the program even if you don’t have any coding skills?
There are two primary routes available to you. You can either purchase a subscription to app software that allows for no-code, template-style app design and quick deployment, or you can hire an app-creation service for a truly custom design.
You might have heard of progressive web apps, and their popularity will surely grow over the next few years. A PWA is simply a mobile app delivered through the web; it’s a website that displays as an app, allowing you to give your users an app-like experience through a web browser. Visitors to your site will be prompted to install your PWA, which shows up as an icon on the home screen of the user’s phone. A PWA looks and feels like a native app, but without sapping your data plan or space on your phone.
A native mobile app doesn’t require the internet to function once a user downloads it. It also lives on one platform, usually either iOS or Android. This tends to provide a smoother, potentially more profitable experience.
On the other hand, progressive web apps, which are HTML5 websites functioning as mobile apps, don’t require users to download them from an app store. A PWA also shares some characteristics with native apps, allowing users to download the web app to their mobile device if they prefer.
PWAs display seamlessly on all devices – desktops, smartphones and tablets – and they load far more quickly than native apps. Because they use HTML5, they are almost universally compatible as well. You can also send push notifications to consumers, which is a great way to keep your target audience engaged. You can bypass the developer fees to Apple and Google, and you don’t have to deal with the frustration of submitting an app to both companies.
Not all web browsers support PWAs, though the major ones do (Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge). Also, PWAs can be buggy, both on Android and iOS. For instance, they sometimes have support issues on Android, and iOS doesn’t support notifications or shortcut prompts on users’ home screens. iOS devices comprise an estimated 50% of the mobile market – that’s a big market that can’t use your PWA. If your app isn’t available in the App Store or Google Play Store, consumers may have a hard time finding you. The transition is also slow, as many consumers haven’t caught on to using PWAs.
If you need an app for iOS or simply can’t afford to miss out on that market, go with a native app. If your app is pretty simple and straightforward, or you simply want to be on the cutting edge, consider going with a PWA. Consumers are getting choosier about the apps they download and install, and the appeal of PWAs is growing.
App builders can boost your business to new heights by strengthening your mobile presence and consumer engagement. Sherry Mae, chief marketing officer of Tankarium, found Appy Pie to be a reliable program, especially for beginners.
“The software’s unique selling proposition is that it can create apps quicker than its competition,” Mae told “As a business owner, the saved time equates to additional revenue – something that all businesses want.”
Like many business owners, Mae wasn’t interested in spending hours to create an application. She wanted something easy to use and uncomplicated. Quality and quick customer support was important to her as well. She found Appy Pie intuitive to use, and the company’s technical team responded promptly to all her queries.
For Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, ease of use was also an important factor in an app builder. Because he runs a digital business that relies heavily on technology, a personalized app that caters to his company’s needs is integral to his operations. 
“Our pick is Zoho Creator, primarily because of the wide variety of available app templates,” Harland said. “The software is beginner-friendly, feature-rich, and intuitive so that beginners can create a professional-looking app from scratch without any help from experienced developers.”
Like Mae and Harland, Ruggero Loda, founder of Running Shoes Guru, reviewed the app builder JMango360. Like Mae and Harland, he wanted a program that wasn’t highly technical or complex, so he looked for an app creator that doesn’t require coding and integrates well with other programs. With JMango360, he was able to make design changes after his app was published and had no trouble maintaining the back end of his program.
“JMango360 had the perfect combination of DIY and support for my team,” Loda said. “This is why I use the platform. It’s easy to use, it integrates into the e-store I’m building, and it requires no extra work from myself or my team.”
To narrow down the best app builders, we researched more than 50 reputable companies that have been in business for several years and are backed with positive customer reviews. After surveying their various subscription tiers, we focused on the mid-tier subscription plans, which usually offer enough tools for creating, distributing and marketing a small or midsize business’s app. Based on the features in these plans, we narrowed our pool down to 16.
Next, we built our trial apps. We tested the customization features of each app builder, checking for industry-specific themes. We also checked whether you can add your own images and logos to your app. (Not every platform we tested provides a high level of customization, but most allow you to upload your own logo without paying extra fees.)
The next phase of our testing involved scrutinizing the tools each app builder offers that let you add content to your app, which brought us to our four best picks.
What’s on the horizon for app creation software? Experts predict higher adoption rates among small businesses, primarily out of necessity. Millennial consumers want to interact with businesses via app or chat rather than on the phone or a non-mobile-friendly website. As millennials increase their earning power, SMBs have to consider the way they communicate with the highly tech-dependent generation, and apps are part of that for both millennial customers and employees. 
SaaS app creation companies will continue to court SMBs by adding easy integration options to their feature offerings and by fine-tuning the drag-and-drop interface that’s become popular for no-code app creation.
Mona Bushnell contributed to the research, reporting and writing of this review.