App Money Matters: A professional woman in yellow sits at a desk looking at a computer screen with UX/UI features on it. The background is overlaid with green textures.

Everyone loves a bargain. After all, why pay more for a top-notch product when there’s something similar on the market with a lower price tag?
Seeking the most cost-effective option served me well for most of my life. It wasn’t until I joined roller derby in college and bought my first pair of skates that it backfired — spectacularly. 
Like a new app developer who wants to cut corners and save a few dollars, I thought choosing the cheaper option was the smarter bet. 
I turned up my nose at the price of new skates and opted for a used pair I found online. I pranced into my next practice, feeling smug about my savings, but the feeling of satisfaction didn’t last long. By the end of the evening, my toe stopper had come loose, and I’d crashed into more than a few walls, players, and coaches. 
The truth is that cheaper isn’t always better. Sometimes paying less upfront costs you more in the long run. Or, like my cheap roller skates, it can lead to serious bumps and bruises.  
There are certain aspects of app development that are worth the investment. The main takeaway here is don’t skimp where it counts
From your development team to marketing and maintenance, here are 9 budget categories that are worth the expense.

1. Product Strategy & Planning

Why should users download your app? 
It’s a simple question, but in a market saturated with new apps every day, customers need a good reason to choose your product over the competition. Think about your target demographic, their problems, and how your app can provide solutions. 
Part of product strategy and planning is learning about your competitors. What is already on the market, and how does it differ from your product? Understanding who dominates the market — and why — provides a better sense of how to reach potential customers.
While it may be tempting to replicate another company’s success, avoid imitating your competition. Instead, seek to understand users’ attitudes and behaviors. What makes them tick? 
Knowledge isn’t just power — it’s profit. 
Valuable insight isn’t cheap, but market research is worth the expense. Your competitors can and will change. To stay competitive, it’s essential to make research an ongoing practice.

2. Development Team

Choosing the cheapest development team might be tempting — but you’ll pay for it in the long run. 
The adage is true: you get what you pay for. A cheaper team means less expertise, less attention to detail and the risk of a rushed product that doesn’t meet your users’ needs. 
Suppose you hire a team overseas. You also risk less oversight, less transparency for management, less certainty of quality working conditions, and potential language and timezone barriers.
Savvy creators understand the importance of ongoing app maintenance, and know that fixing bugs and glitches is easier with a team that already knows their product. If you can, use the same team for development and maintenance. 
At Iversoft, we offer a dedicated teams model. A dedicated team can save you time and money — it also means no downtime after launch. The development team will already be familiar with the ins and outs of your app, eliminating the learning curve when it comes to maintenance and updates.  
Some additional benefits of hiring a dedicated team include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Lower margins of error
  • More cost-effective
  • Enhanced control and oversight
  • Better long-term accountability 

3. Performance & Speed

Your app’s performance is measured by how responsive it is, how quickly it starts, and how well it uses a device’s memory and power. Better performance also means smooth animations and seamless interactive elements. 
Launch speed and response time are essential. The less time your app takes to load, the faster you can pull users in and wow them. Frustrated customers will have plenty of other apps to choose from if they decide to go elsewhere.
Spending the money upfront for higher speeds and better performance is well worth it. If your app uses a lot of videos, animations, or interactive features, performance and speed become even more critical.

4. Security

Never cut corners with security. 50 percent of small businesses in the United States fell victim to cyber-attacks in 2015. IBM Security’s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found that the number and severity of data breaches are rising. And cleaning up that mess can get expensive fast. Average data breach costs rose from 3.86 million USD in 2020 to 4.24 million USD in 2021. 
Think your industry is safe? Think again. The report also noted that “the year-over-year shift in industry-specific targeting highlights the risk to all industry sectors” (IBM Security).
Security risks don’t just cost time and money — they also cost you your user’s trust. Customers will be reluctant to use your product if they have reason to believe that their personal information isn’t secure. 
Securing company and user data must be a top priority. 
Avoiding a costly and embarrassing breach is worth it in the long run. Fork out extra cash upfront for a developer that takes safety seriously.

5. UX & UI

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are what your users will see and experience when they use your app. Not only is UX/UI key to making a great first impression, but it also significantly impacts how users engage with your product. 
No one wants to waste time hunting for a poorly placed menu or trying to tap buttons that are too small. Save your users the headache and spend the extra cash to ensure intuitive and user-friendly navigation.
Eliminate Clutter
Keep it simple and cut anything that isn’t necessary. Keep content and interface elements to a minimum.
Minimise Cognitive Load
Aim for a streamlined design that reduces the amount of brain power required to use your app. 
Be Consistent
Stick to what users know and employ familiar interface screens and navigation tools, so users will know how to move through your mobile app intuitively. 
Design for Accessibility
Consider how users with disabilities such as limited vision or hearing loss will interact with your app. Approximately 22 percent of Canadians have some kind of disability. Don’t limit your market before you launch! Spend the money to create an inclusive app that everyone can use by designing for accessibility
In certain regions, accessibility is required by law. But, even if it’s optional, making sure that your app is usable for people with disabilities makes sense from a business perspective. Plus, disabled people aren’t the only ones who benefit from accessibility! Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are becoming ubiquitous — and more and more users are embracing the convenience of accessible features.

6. Testing

In 2012, Knight Capital Group overlooked a small error that caused its software to process 4 million stock orders in a single hour instead of spreading them out over several days. This tiny mishap lost the company $440 million, and Knight Capital Group stock dropped 75 percent in a single day! 
The cost of fixing a bug found in the later stages of a project can be 30 to 100 percent higher than fixing it in the first stage of development. And when developers skimp on testing, bugs can escape detection altogether, resulting in downtime, inconsistent features, and poor UX. 
The lesson? Testing is essential. Build quality into your software from the ground up by testing continually as a project progresses.

7. Scalability

Want to be the next big thing? Make sure you give your app room to grow! Scalability refers to the ability of software to expand in response to sudden demand. 
This is one development expense that is definitely worth the cash. Integrating scalability into your software from the beginning of the development process, so there’s no excuse to skimp. It’s expensive and time-consuming to make your product scalable after the fact; waiting too late to think about growth can take a chunk out of your budget.
From the outset, choose scalable databases that can grow with your app. Remember to plan for upgrading and incorporate a modular design that allows for adjustment and modification. 
Building for scalability from the start just makes sense.

8. Marketing

Let’s cut to the chase: there’s no point in creating a great app if no one knows it exists.
One of the most overlooked aspects of marketing a new mobile product is outreach. Contact influencers, publications, and bloggers to secure backlinks and provide honest, favourable reviews of your app. When reaching out, keep your pitch concise and include a link to your press kit or landing page. 
When you think of app downloads, does your mind jump to the App Store and Google Play? While these platforms are essential, mobile websites are the number one source of new app installs.
Marketing needs to be more than an afterthought. Many users discover and install new apps after checking out the company online, so a website, landing page, or microsite is essential. Remember to collect emails to inform your users about new updates and features. 
It costs money to get the word out – but if you wait for your customers to come to you, you’ll be waiting forever.

9. Maintenance


Maintenance is a necessary expense to keep your app up to date and running smoothly. Provide a feedback option so customers can communicate issues or concerns directly and be sure to complete regular updates.
It is also vital to continually perform App Store Optimization (ASO). Optimising your App Store page is crucial to maintain a high rank in search results and convert at a higher rate. Good app store optimization depends on various factors, including title and keywords. 
For more about the importance of app maintenance and the costs associated with upkeep, check out our blogs  "Does Your App Need An Update?" and “Does Your App Need an Update?”


While it might be tempting to cut or scale back on areas of development, make sure you aren’t cutting corners where it matters. Like a good pair of roller skates, a quality app is worth the investment.
Got a great idea for an app? Contact us for an estimate. 

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