7 Steps to Get Started with App Reskinning
You’ve heard all this buzz about app reskinning. Should you get into it? Here are seven steps to getting started in the app reskinning business.
1. Decide if it’s for you
As I told someone in an email, app reskinning is a business. App publishing is a business. This whole app thing is a business. Sure you can do this as a hobby but then you won’t make as much money and the return on investment will be very low. (If money doesn’t matter, go for it!) So decide if it’s for you. It takes a lot of money and time, especially in the beginning when you’re doing everything yourself or learning how to outsource. Like other businesses, it can get frustrating at times. You might want to give up. but the rewards can be as great as process is frustrating.
Go ahead and decide if this is for you. If it is, read on. If not, feel free to read on as well.
2. Learn Xcode
Even if you plan to outsource, I suggest you learn at least how to use Xcode. Xcode is Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE) and the where people write code for iOS and Mac apps.
Don’t be afraid of Xcode even if you’re not very technical or are not a programmer. It’s an app just like Microsoft Word or Keynote. It’s enough to know where all the important buttons and menu options are, how to build and test on your device, replace ad IDs with your own, and how to archive an app to upload to iTunes Connect. There are a ton of resources out there.
3. Learn Photoshop Like with programming, you’ll eventually want to outsource the design unless you are an expert yourself. Until then, it’s good to know the basics of photo editing and mobile app design so you can do the little changes yourself or even the basic things.
While step three says learn Photoshop, there are alternatives. The other Adobe program you might want to familiarize yourself with is Illustrator, which is the vector-based photo editing program.
Probably the most popular free alternative to Photoshop is GIMP which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Inkscape is a popular free alternative to Illustrator, although there are others out there.
Popular paid alternatives are Pixelmator for $30 on the Mac App Store and Sketch for $70 also on the Mac App Store. Both are considered much easier to use than the Adobe programs.
Keep in mind you could really learn these on the go but may take more time.
4. Buy source code
Once you can complete all the tasks required to reskin an app, like create a new icon and change ad IDs, it’s time to buy the source code. There are a ton out there but not all source code is the same. A popular marketplace is chupamobile.com
Make sure the app is useful and easy to use and can be reskinned and monetized quickly and easily. If it’s a game, make sure the game mechanics are well thought out and has enough features to keep users engaged but not too complicated or large to reskin.
I’ll post more on where to find source codes and link to some that I’ve used myself as well as those recommended by others so you can get started without worrying about the quality.
5. Sign up for an Apple Developer account and Ad Networks
Before you go any further, you should sign up for an Apple Developer’s account (and Google Play account if you’re developing for Android as well) and the various ad networks. Ads are most likely how you’re going to make money. Here are my top three ad networks:
Of course there are others out there but I prefer these for their simple SDK integration and easy to use dashboards.
Also sign up for a free App Annie and Flurry account as you’ll want to track your apps for analytics.
6. Research and Reskin
Now that you have your source code, it’s time to do a little market research and reskin your app or game. Research is simple and doesn’t have to take a lot of time but can make or break your app’s success. Go to the iTunes App Store if you’re developing for iOS or Google Play store if you’re developing for Android, and look at the top free, top paid, and top grossing charts. Take note of the popular games and apps and their themes.
Once you have an idea of what themes are popular, create your own version for you app or game. Replace the graphics and the app ID’s for the various ad networks. This is especially important because it’s how you’ll make money!
7. Upload to iTunes connect
Once the app is finished, all you have to do is upload the app iTunes Connect or to Google Play. You’ll need to add descriptions, keywords, a website, and other things as well. Upload the icon and screenshots. Upload the app itself and wait. Here is a great tutorial on how to upload to iTunes Connect for iOS apps.
Congratulations! You’ve uploaded your first app. Now start working on your next app while you wait for Apple to review and approve your app. It usually takes between seven to 10 days. If Apple rejects your app, look at the reasons why it was rejected, fix them, and re-upload.
There you have it. 7 Steps to starting your own app reskinning business. Remember this does take a lot of time, money, and effort so think carefully before you jump into the app rush.