If you run a small business, you know having any advantage can mean the difference between success and failure. One advantage is to make your goods and services readily available to mobile users. Of course, not everyone can afford to staff in-house developers (or even outsource such a task). Thankfully, there are companies like Conduit Mobile that make it easy to create a mobile app.
There's a free version of the service, but it only allows for five users to enjoy your app, and you don't get to submit the app to Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store. That's pretty worthless (outside of testing). Fortunately, the following paid plans allow for unlimited users and other features (such as push notifications, customer support, and app submission to both app stores):
- Gold: $39 (USD) per month — Unlimited users, unlimited mobile site visits, Android/iPhone app store submission, push notification, customer support
- Platinum: $99 (USD) per month — This plan includes all of the above plus white labeling (it removes the Conduit branding from your app)
When you think about the benefits of having a mobile app, the costs really aren't that excessive. But before you drop the coin for a plan, go with the free plan, create your app, and hand it out to a few users to see if moving forward would be worth the money spent.
What exactly can you create with Conduit Mobile? Here's the full list of the elements you can add to your mobile application:
- Social feeds
- About us
- RSS feed
- Web links
- Email links
- Click to call
From that list, you can create a fairly substantial app that can help give your company a head above the competition.
The creation of apps is quite simple. In about an hour, I had a basic app created for my novels. With a little more time, I can turn that app into something fairly special that other authors don't have. Follow these steps to create an app with Conduit Mobile:
- Create an account
- Log into your account
- Use the dashboard (Figure A) to begin adding content to the application
- Save the app
- Download the app
- Install the app on your phone and test
My own personal dashboard for Conduit Mobile.
To add an item, you select the item from the content section, and then fill out the information for said item. For example, to add an RSS feed, do the following:
- Click on RSS Feed from the General Content section
- In the resulting window (Figure B), fill out the information for your feed (you should see the feed populate in the preview window)
Here you see my official web site RSS feed added to my app.
You can add a background, configure the feed layout, and then scroll down and click Update Changes. Do this for all of the pieces of content you want to add to the app. Once you've completed the initial creation, click the download link (on the dashboard) for the platform you want to test the app on. Install the app on your device and see how it works.
With the free version, you can send the app to four other people for feedback. If you're satisfied with it and decide to move forward, purchase one of the plans and finalize your app. Then, from the dashboard, you can push the app to the app stores and start letting your customers/clients know where they can find it.
What better way to expand your business into the mobile world than by creating your own mobile application? With the help of Conduit Mobile, you can make this happen quickly and without spending a lot of money. Make your small business current, and let it reap the benefits of the millions of mobile users.
Have you used Conduit Mobile to create a mobile app for your small business? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.