By Aidan Hijleh

The mobile app has become a powerful piece of content in times when smartphones and tablets have joined desktop devices as all the rage. People love them, so accordingly, brands are expanding IT resources and adding room for these handy applications in their marketing strategies. The demands of the diverse mobile landscape are giving developers the blues. In order to bring your own app to life, you will need to overcome a unique set of risks that are not only challenging, but potentially costly as well.

Mobile Development Expertise 
You can make your title cheap or free for that matter, but bringing it from concept to fully functioning product is going to cost you. Your IT team must devote time and effort to working with standards that are in many cases, far different from the practices in traditional development. When developing a mobile app, you are building for devices that not only have smaller screens, but condensed capabilities in comparison to the norm. If you don’t have that expertise on staff, you’re going to have to bring in someone from outside, which generally requires a budget even if their skills are only needed for one job.

Cross-Platform Distribution 
It would be nice if you could great a one-size-fits-all app that runs seamlessly on every device. Unfortunately, the mobile arena is not yet that flexible and may never be to such degrees. You could create an app for Android, which is the number one smartphone operating system, but what about all those Apple fans who prefer iPhones and iPads? I’m going to recommend that you at least build for Android and iOS, but also keep platforms such as BlackBerry and Windows Mobile in mind. While you’ll save money with the narrow approach, you also run the risk alienating the members of your audience who use other devices, which is not a good thing on any scale.

User Experience
Whether your app succeeds or flops will depend on the user experience it delivers. The real challenge here lies in the fact that the experience may change over time. For instance, if you want to build a fitness app that helps the user monitor their heart rate, you need to keep in mind that they may be using it while walking quickly on a treadmill, or jogging in the frosty winter air. Usage scenario introduces a broad range of factors, so more app developers are focusing on usage context. This part of the expedition will cost you in gathering resources and insights that guide you in creating the ultimate user experience.

Product Launch 
Rolling out your app can get a little tricky. If you want the most visibility, you’ll need to make your stuff available through distribution channels like Google Play and The App Store. The thing about this is that you have to play by their rules. App partners like Apple and Google call for you to develop software that conforms to their privacy policies, advertising stipulations, functionality standards, and more. Even your launch hinges on this relationship, so you may not be able to get your product out as quickly as you like. Deploying it from your website may drive up costs depending on your hosting arrangement, but you’ll have more control.

Marketing and Promotions 
Getting your title on one of the major app stores will give you a shot at good visibility, but you can only count on these channels for so much. Once the initial buzz fizzles out, it could get buried regardless of stellar reviews and ratings. Just like any product in your portfolio, you want to build a marketing plan around it to drive awareness, traffic, and conversions. Promote it in a search advertising campaign. Make it the focus of your social media presence. Tell subscribers about it your newsletter. Fail to tackle the marketing component, and you will lose out on the return that went into making it.

Ongoing Maintenance
Software must evolve faster than ever these days in order to keep up with technology. In a static state, it become s vulnerable to usability, performance, and security issues. Regardless of where you distribute your software, you’ll need to dedicate the proper maintenance if it’s going to have a future. Bugs need to be fixed. Holes need to be sealed. Unless you have to incorporate major changes, updates are generally affordable, but the time you have to wait for the app stores to re-release your content on their schedule could come at the risk of antsy fans. Needless to say, updates are something you have to plan carefully for.

You can say that adding an app to your pool of assets is like adding more concerns on to your list of worries. It can be a frustrating, it can be costly, it can be an all out gamble – but if you make the right plans, the struggle will be worth the rewards.

Aidan Hijleh is an SEO specialist and marketing expert currently blogging for Benchmark Email. An accomplished writer and former nonprofit organization liaison, he works with numerous top-tier blogs to deliver valuable intel to the small business owner. Some of the major blogs he has contributed to includes Search Engine Journal and DIY Marketers. Get more from Aidan on Twitter and Google+.