Tag Archives: zendesk

How to Build a Product Website for your App

This blog is all about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and cool mobile apps. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I build mobile apps as a side hustle to supplement income for my early retirement.

Many people are surprised to know that building an app does not require programming skills. I haven’t written a single line of code for my apps. Instead, I subcontracted that work out and documented the exact process I follow.

If you develop an app, it is imperative to create a product website for your app. Why? Because people often search Google for apps and having a product site will increase the number of people who find and download your app.

How to Build your App Product Website

I highly suggest you use WordPress to build your product site. Here’s why:

  • The WordPress engine is free
  • WordPress allows you to categorize posts and include links to recent posts
  • WordPress allows people to sign up to receive your posts via email
  • WordPress allows people to search your posts via the search widget
  • WordPress allows you to create pages without any HTML or programming knowledge
  • Most WordPress sites work well for mobile devices as well as web browsers

OK, the advantages of using WordPress are clear. To get started, simply go to http://www.WordPress.com and click Create Website.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Customizing your WordPress Site

Once you create the website, you can customize the look with WordPress themes. Some of them are free, but if you are really serious about developing a site that will attract lots of attention and be visually appealing, you should consider purchasing a WordPress theme.

I use Template Monster because they have themes for pretty much any look you are going for and they normally cost about $75. That’s a lot less than you would pay a professional website designer to create a site for you. To get started, click here and view the templates.

Hosting your WordPress Site

When you create a site in WordPress, they offer free hosting and this works absolutely fine when you are first getting started. However, I like to plan for the future by hosting the site myself. By doing this, you get more control over your WordPress site and you can include advertising in the future. If you self-host, It will normally run faster too.

One of the things you will want to consider is creating a blog in addition to your product page so that you can build an audience and loyal fans. Once you begin building followers of your product and blog, you can advertise on those pages and drive an extra revenue stream for your business. You can’t do that with a free WordPress account but you can by hosting your own site.

I use Winhost to host my WordPress sites because it is economical (about $3.95 per month) and it supports .NET, PHP, and includes the ability to create your own MS SQL and MySQL databases. This can be valuable if you later decide to add web services to your apps or want to sync your app data to the cloud. So it supports not only your WordPress site but also your app development efforts.

Installing your WordPress site on Winhost is pretty easy to do (it takes less than an hour), here is a tutorial.

Structuring your Product Website

When you are in the development stage of your app, I suggest you create a simple product website that allows people to sign up for your beta once your app is in that stage. By doing this, you will get some great feedback before moving to the app store and you will gain loyal followers that may evangelize your app within their circle of friends.

I am in that stage with my Count Us Down app. Notice from the website, the users can enter their contact info to sign up for the beta. In just a few weeks, I had about 100 beta testers signed up, here is my sign-up page:

Product Website for Count Us Down app

I use a free tool called Zoho CRM to keep track of people who sign up for the beta.  Zoho CRM allows you to embed sign up screens into your WordPress site and when  someone signs up for your beta, it keeps track of them and sends them a welcome email. It is free for up to 10 users, so indie appreneurs will probably not outgrow the free version.

In addition to including a sign up for beta, I also suggest including these pages on your product website:

  • Blog – Build loyal fans by including a blog
  • Products – If you offer more than one app for sale, include information about each app. If you only have the one app, include information about your app, features, and links for downloading it.
  • Press Kit – You will want the press to talk about your app so include app descriptions, screen shots and press releases here.
  • Support – You will want your users to submit bugs and feature requests to you. I use Zendesk for this. It is an excellent support tool and is only $1 per month.

If you would like to see an example of an app that is already in the app store, here is the website for my password management app (aMemoryJog). Notice that it has the same links (Home, Blog, Products, Press Kit, Support).

Product Website for aMemoryJog app

Using YouTube

I also suggest you create a video that shows how your app works. I use Camtasia for to create my app video but you can use a free tool called Jing. Once done, you can upload it to YouTube and people can view it from there.

When creating your video, focus on how the app will benefit the user, don’t focus on every feature of the app. When I first created my video for the Count Us Down app, I sent it to about 10 appreneurs that I respected. I got some candid (and harsh) comments and recreated the video several times before I feel that I nailed it (watch it here).

By uploading your app video to YouTube, you will also build additional followers which leads to more downloads.


By creating a product website, you will increase your downloads and fan loyalty. In summary:

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

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Preparing to Test your App as Development Progresses

In my prior posts, I’ve discussed my journey to develop an iPhone app and I have documented the things I’ve done along the way.  This is a continuation of that series of posts. Today we will discuss test preparation tasks you can begin doing as your app is being developed.

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. ― Bobby Unser

If you missed my prior posts regarding building an app, you can see them here:

Test Preparation as the App is Being Developed

If you’ve followed my advice thus far, you have outsourced the development of your app so that you can spend time planning the marketing effort. However, one of the most critical things you can do while your programmer is developing your app is to begin to prepare for the testing effort you will go through once the programmer sends you the first version of your app.

If you wait until you get the first version of your app, you will be scrambling to figure out what tests to run. The best approach is to create a list of test cases you can run — but do this as development is going on. This approach allows you to flow right into testing the day you get your first build.

How to Build a List of Test Cases

In a prior post, I discussed how to get the best price for your app development. As part of this, I discussed creating a detail specification in RFP format so that the developer will fully understand your requirements. Taking this approach also aids in your test case development because when you begin developing your test cases, you can simply go through each section of your RFP to jog your memory about test cases you need to run.

In your first cut, you will want to simply make a list of test cases without the detailed steps to execute each one.  For aMemoryJog, here are some of the initial test cases I created. This is a very abbreviated list of test case (I have about 90 test cases so this is just a few of them).

Test Case Examples

Test Case Examples

Notice that I have test cases for each screen within the app. So for the login screen, I first inspect the look and feel of the screen to ensure that it matches the design specified in the RFP. Then I have a test to ensure that all of the required fields must be entered before going forward. For example, if they want to login, they must enter both their email address and password to login and if they don’t, it should alert them of that. Then I move on to testing for a valid login and an invalid login (incorrect email address and password).

Adding Steps to Each Test Case

Once you have created a list of test cases you wish to run, go back and add the steps you must go through to run each test. Why go through this? Well first of all, it makes testing mindless. You don’t have to try to remember how to execute a specific function, it has already been documented. Another reason is that one day (once you are successful), you will probably outsource your testing effort and having detailed test cases makes that process easy.

Here is an example of steps in a test case:


Where Should I Keep My Test Cases?

Your next question might be “Where do I put all these test cases?”.  If you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of working capital, I suggest you simply keep them in a spreadsheet. You can include a column in your spreadsheet to keep track of whether the test case passed or failed. Here is an example:


Once you have working capital, I suggest you use a test management system. I use QAComplete from SmartBear Software because it allows you to create test libraries, test sets and has some really good reporting capabilities that show you the status of your testing effort. It also allows you to track bugs (defects) so that you can communicate them with your development team and track their fix status.  If you don’t have any working capital up front, I suggest you use Zendesk for defect tracking since it is free.

QAComplete by Smartbear Software

QAComplete by SmartBear Software


Take the time to plan your testing effort while your programmer is coding your app. Don’t spring for a test management system until you have some working capital but purchase it as soon as the business can support it.

Shameless Plug

The app I am creating is slated for production in the App Store in November 2014. However, the web edition is already available at http://www.aMemoryJog.com. Once the app is done, it will seamlessly sync with the web version.

Download a free trial and check it out!


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