My apps in Google Play always had a website. It’s even linked from app listings in Google Play. This is how it looked like last week

screenshot

This “website” was created 3.5 years ago when I put my apps on Android Market and suddenly learned they asked for a website URL. What I did was

  • Registered a random domain name (ttxapps.com)
  • Looked around the Internet for 15 minutes to see what’s there. Then picked Tumblr. Configured it to host ttxapps.com via CNAME. IIRC the main reason I chose Tumblr was its free plan offered CNAME hosting and didn’t show ads.
  • Copy/pasted the app description texts I wrote for Android Market
  • Done. Never touched it again. smile

I wasn’t lazy. I simply rather spent more time on the apps than on their website. Since the release of Dropsync more than three years ago there have been over 100 updates. That’s about 2-3 updates each month. About half of them happened in the first year. To the point where some users got upset about the high update frequency. Some updates to fix bugs, many to add features which I didn’t use myself but would make sense for certain groups of users.

The website was in bad state because I didn’t believe a mobile app needs an accompanying website, my single-purpose apps definitely shouldn’t.

  1. Mobile apps ought be simple to use. When the last time did you read a user’s manual? Users’ attention span is about 30 seconds these days.

  2. I didn’t buy the argument that apps need marketing website either. They say so that people can google for the app. Each app already has its web presence: its store listing page. I’d rather direct web searchers to that store listing page where they can install my app into their devices literally with two taps or mouse clicks.

I still hold on my second point but have softened the first one: it’s actually useful to have, say, an online FAQ somewhere. As much as I try each cloud storage service has its share of quirks. Android is also far from perfect. Besides that now I have four sync apps in Google Play. One small website for four apps seems to be acceptable investment.

It’s easy for users to send me emails from within my apps and I try my best to reply within reasonable time frame. But some users wrote only to say “Sync doesn’t work, please fix it.” I spent countless hours going back and forth with many users to figure out what they have in mind. At the minimum I can write an FAQ entry about how to write a good bug report. I intend to change the apps to tell users to read the online FAQ first before emailing me with support questions. Perhaps they don’t need to anymore since after reading the FAQ they already get the answer. Win-win. People are happy. Peace and prosperity everywhere.

The FAQ is pretty bare at this moment but I’ll add more soon.

That’s the plan. Wish me luck.