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What We Can Learn From Apps that Make Money

What makes an app sell? Everyone that has ever owned a smartphone has imagined an app idea at one point. The truth is apps are a dime-a-dozen. There are over 2 million apps on the smartphone market. The revenue is right around 10 billion a year, meaning most apps don't make money. The good news is we can learn from the apps that are making money. They really are great examples of 'what to do' when considering an app idea. 

Here are 10 must-have apps that do a lot of things right:
  • They satisfy a popular need.
  • They offer free and paid versions with extra value.
  • They have clean, minimal screen designs that make them easier to navigate.
  • They do something different that adds meaning for users.
  • They allow customization.
  • They're generally multi-purpose.
Why do we love these organization apps?

1. The Evernote app is a great example of good, free software that almost always leads to a paid upgrade in order to access all your notes offline too. You can take notes in nearly every way possible -- through web clips, typing, uploading photos from your camera that you can annotate -- and you can search for any keywords on any of these notes, even in graphic images, through Evernote's search function. Create separate to do lists for each project or category, and you can share your work easily through an integrated work-chat feature too. The truth is Evernote has an impressive web app experience and it piggy-backs off of their smartphone app. 

2. The iTrackMyTime app is extremely popular because of its clean design, which lets you easily press a "start" and "stop" button whenever you switch from one activity to another during the day, and you label each activity. Graphs show how you're really spending most of your time so that you can improve your time-management skills.

Why are these long-distance relationship apps so fun?

3. The app named "Couple" shows how adding meaningful, distinctive features built a creative relationship app for two that's free, but many pay to send special emoticons. It creates a private chat between only you and your significant other, and you can do things together online like drawing a picture in real time from both of your devices or "thumb kiss" by putting your thumbs on your devices at the same time, which makes both phones vibrate and helps you feel closer. Share photos that self-delete over time, see the current time in the other's time zone, chat with FaceTime from inside the app, track the history of your relationship and more.

4. The Love Quiz! app demonstrates how making an app that's really all about the users pays off. Couples play this app together by trying to guess the answers of their significant other to each question. You only pay to unlock more versions that even include "bedroom" questions to make you laugh and learn more about each other.

How do these apps help you enjoy falling asleep?

5. Dual and multi-purpose apps like White Noise are more appealing because of their greater value. White Noise is a collection of 40 calming sounds that you use to tune out background noises and fall asleep faster. The bonus is that it doubles as an alarm clock, and you can mix sounds together to make a personalized bedtime track. You can add your own recorded sounds and loop them together too.

6. The Pzizz Sleep app adds a bit of the unexpected to maintain interest and enjoyment. This app cleverly randomizes your selected ambient sounds every time you play them so that you never feel bored with your soothing sounds. They also add other special features like blending inspiring voices with music and binaural beats.

Why are these apps perfect to get runners in better shape?

7. Apps need to have some room for customization, and Run with Map My Run does just that for runners. This athletic app has tons of features: You can view your route on a map with GPS tracking so that you won't get lost, see how many calories you burned, see when your running shoes will wear out and monitor your pace and distance to stay motivated. Nu Skin's TR90 APP is also very customizable and it does very well if you want to look at another example. 

8. An inspiring app that's ideal for beginners, the 5K Runner app trains you for a five-kilometer run within just eight weeks, and they make it fun by awarding you badges along the way and using voice coaching that blends in with your favorite music to tell you when to walk or run.

Why are these apps for personal finances so popular?

9. Using a smart marketing strategy, the You Need a Budget app is free but requires you to purchase desktop software, which you can try for free for the first month. It's powerful and easy to use so that you won't regret the purchase.

10. For an app that works well with multiple users, the iReconcile app does a great job of helping balance multiple bank accounts and helps you create specific budgets, and it does all this with the protection of a pin code to use it on your devices. You can check charts for instant reports on your spending, savings and more.
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