Last year I moved to a salon where the only way to get an appointment was to book and pay upfront via an app. This inspired me to look at getting one of my own.
After years of coaching all types of businesses I know that despite what the internet tells you, not every business needs a website, especially a website that isn't mobile-friendly. Mobile surfing is now how most people view online content. So if you're taking your business online you at least need something that works well on a phone. If you have customers that would like to manage and maintain contact with then an app could be for you.
I decided that an app would be just the thing for one of my side-hustles, Stilettos Network. But as a non-techie I needed to figure out how to achieve it. I didn't fancy shelling out thousands of pounds on a bespoke build that might not work so thought I would look into DIY App Builders. Within a few days I'd done my online research and narrowed it down to the following:
- Appy Pie
- Bizness Apps
I discounted Bizness Apps early on and MindBody isn't really an app builder, it's a customised scheduling app, which I found incredibly time-consuming and rigid when I tried to set it up for another of my side-hustles. This left Appy Pie and GoodBarber.
Easy to use - Winner GoodBarber
If you're the sort of person that prefers iPhone to Android then my guess is you'll prefer GoodBarber. It is way easier to use than AppyPie. I quickly realised that everything was easier in GoodBarber and I built the basic functionality of my first app in less than a day. There are one or two slightly technical components but nothing you can't work through using the online help guides or by contacting support. Appy Pie on the other hand is not intuitive and my guess is that everything has been built by developers with no-one really focusing on user interface.
Functionality - Winner Appy Pie
Hands down Appy Pie has tons more functionality and appears to be one of the main reasons it scores so highly in the online reviews. The chances are that if you can imagine it, Appy Pie can build it. I am currently building a review app and so far it does everything I need. GoodBarber on the other hand has struggled with some elements of functionality - it has messaging but not group chat or forums, and captures location but doesn't support directory listings by location.
Look and feel - Winner GoodBarber
In their company philosophy, GoodBarber talk about creating beautiful apps. I'm a big Squarespace fan who also have the strapline of making beautiful websites. Whilst look and feel isn't everything, it counts for a lot - ask gaming experts. GoodBarber take look and feel seriously and it shows. My Appy Pie app is still in development but I can see from the test version that it won't have the same beautiful aesthetics of GoodBarber and there are actually elements that I just really don't like the look of.
Help & Support - Winner AppyPie (just)
This is a tough one because my GoodBarber app is far less complex than my Appy Pie app but let's look at the facts. Appy Pie offer live web chat 24/7. That said, the quality of support on the live web chat is not great - sorry guys, i'm just being honest. You can also get them on the phone. I've done both of these - a lot! Appy Pie will also get hands on with any very technical elements of the build if you are struggling. GoodBarber only offer contact forms, the quality of responses is mixed and they don't tend to respond outside of office hours or on the weekends (frustrating!), although I did once get a response on Twitter on a Saturday which resolved an issue for me - bonus points. Thanks Jerome :)
Cost - Draw
Nothing in it really. Appy Pie charges in £GBP with a premium price of £30 per month. GoodBarber's comparative package is €48 per month
Overall Winner - GoodBarber
The fact is that with GoodBarber I was able to build and launch an app, including completing all of the itunes/google play submission steps by myself in just a few days. With Appy Pie, I am still building because the user interface is not intuitive, I find it cumbersome to use, the app functionality was not quite right and has had to be refined by the back-end developers. The real test will be whether I ever get the Appypie app launched - watch this space.