How Much Does Web Application Maintenance Cost?
Once a mobile app is built and deployed, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But not for too long because you have to consider the maintenance part too- Maintenance of the app. Unless you do the oiling and servicing of your product on a regular basis, it will not function optimally, as a result of which it could slowly die and vanish.
Upgraded version of your app will keep it alive and afloat among your users. If you want your business to grow, then you need to upgrade your app from time to time. App Store owners update their stores regularly. Phone companies release new versions of their devices every year.
So if you are still sitting in the market with an old version of the app, new users and users who update their devices will not be able to access your product. Your product will have an untimely demise.
Here are some areas in which upgrades are mandatory
- User Interface
- User Experience
- API Monitoring
Check these factors from time to time to ensure you get the user engagement you deserve.
Now, let’s get into the cost part of the upgrade:
The shortest answer to this would be – 20% of the actual development costs. So you can keep aside the amount from your budget every year. So if you spent $10,000 a year on developing your app, then it could take around $ 2,000 to maintain it.
The long answer is that once your app is published, you need to update it regularly. There are web development companies who can do this task for you, and they have pricing plans that will cover the maintenance too. These pricing plans would help you predict how much it will cost to update it. You will have to hire programmers to fix bugs, develop new features and functionalities.
So if you are hiring a couple of programmers on an 8 hour job for a week, at the rate of $50 per hour, then that’s how much you have to spend for them, about $5600.
Of course, it depends a lot on where the development company is located. If you prefer to hire from tier-2 countries, then the costs will be significantly lower.
Hiring App builders also helps
App Builders are services that help create apps and maintain them. Appery, Theappbuilder, App Press and similar app builders have their own pricing categories for you to choose from. While maintaining the app, they will help manage the following too:
- Additional storage
- Push notifications
- App downloads
- API calls
- Payment processing
These services can connect your app with your Ecommerce website like Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce. However, this doesn’t come cheaply. For example, Appery comes with three different pricing tiers depending on the services you need. For a Pro version, the cost coulee be $60 per month and for a Team version, the cost is $135 per month. If you need personalised deployment and Premium Account Management, you need to choose the Enterprise version.
You will have to contact Appery to know how much they charge for the Enterprise version. Some of these services provide emergency management as part of the package. You can choose what kind of emergency management you need depending on the business type.
Good if you can get the original team
It is advisable to stick with the original development team and hire them once your app is ready for upgrades. It is a mistake some people make. Hire a talented development team to develop the source code, build the app and then deploy it on the server.
However, when it is time for the update, they will redirect the task to a cheaper development team. But it is a bad move because once you hire cheaply, you may have to pay a price for it. If they are inexperienced, they will take ages to figure out the source code, and might even struggle while adding new functionalities. At the end of the day, you will have a bad product and disgruntled customers.
Make sure you have built a scalable app
Right in the app development stage itself, you’ve got to leave provision for scaling. If it isn’t designed to scale then that would be additional expense for you at the time of app maintenance. Saving on development costs when you are starting out could be a temptation, but not a good idea in the long run.
Apart from the regular maintenance costs, you might have to spend money on content builders and editors, social media managers and track how your app is performing. And of course, there will be a server to manage the data, payment history, user database and so on. Continuous updates, proper maintenance and good content can keep users happy and engaged.
You can invest in a maintenance contract with the app service company to make the upgrade process smooth and easy. After all, there is someone else looking out for your product, while you can focus on other core aspects of business. You can either go for the monthly support option or choose the pay as you use model.
Once you perform the regular maintenance on your app, you can remove those features that users don’t use anymore and replace them with new features they are likely to use. You will have to keep close ties with your user base to know their likes, preferences and requirements.
So at the end of each maintenance cycle, you will have an app that engages users, as it is integrated with the features that they like. Always keep your ear to the ground and get proper feedback on the performance of your product after each upgrade.
And once your app is up and running, remember, the story never ends.
Pictures: Flickr.com/ Kārlis Dambrāns/ Steve Jurvetson
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.