Digital and Development

Small Business Web Apps in Kent

Apps don't have cost the earth. Small and simple with the potential to add real value, a CMS based web app can run within your site, performing a wide range of extremely useful tasks.
Michael Holman
Created by
Michael Holman

We spent a lot of 2021 and most of 2022 working on a big app.

From concept to prototype

We translated the initial concept from an idea to a static and then a dynamic visual. We designed and progressed many early prototypes. We researched and sourced servers and systems that could provide the bank level security that was required.

Management and development

We assembled and managed the development team for the app build. We translated our client's brief into a marketing and promotional site. We wrote copy, created imagery and optimised content. We configured performance analysis and reporting.

Marketing and promotion

We built, hosted and optimised the marketing site. We steered the development of the main app on it's subdomain from it's conception in 2020 up to it's launch in February 2023.

The app is called Lyfeguard.

A business app for less than £1000?

Apps can also be built and work effectively with a four or maybe even just a three figure price tag. An app for less than £1000? - yes. It’s doable.

What qualifies as an app? - in fact what exactly is an app?

App is short for application. An application in the digital world is just software that does something specific.

Photoshop makes a good explainer here. Everyone knows that you can do a lot more with an image using Photoshop than you can with a web browser like Chrome. Both will open and display an image file but Photoshop allows you to change and then reformat the image. The browser wil only display it. It can't alter the image. (without the help of extra code).

Photoshop is a stand alone app that runs on it’s own. It doesn’t need the internet or a web browser to open and run.

A blog is another good example of a straightforward app. It applies software and uses a database to make online article publishing much simpler.

A blog (short for web log) can be a stand alone application too, but most run from within a website. These are called web apps.

So a web app runs on a website via a web browser and does something specific. A specific job that can help make life faster and easier. Apps that can run inside your own website and operate from within your own CMS dashboard.

Wordpress plugins have been doing this very thing for many years. Most are relatively easy to use and can often be modified if required.

But apps can be simpler still. By including everything that’s needed to perform the task in hand and nothing else.

So what can a simple web app do?

A good example would be an app that generates estimates for customers. A small business owner logs in to their CMS, enters the details and generates a branded pdf. A pdf customised to their exact needs with a copy stored in the website's own secure database. Ready for emailing, sending as an attachment in a text message, via WhatsApp or anywhere else they might need to send it.

Advantages of self hosted over third party web apps

  • No monthly cost and no usage limitations, just a one off build price.
  • 100% customised for your brand. Your logo, colours, fonts and layout.
  • Able to link back to your web pages (T&C and privacy polices for example) or anywhere else you might need it to. After all it's part of your website.
  • Development and changes to the app are under your control.
  • Greater privacy and security. Data never leaves your domain and the pdf in the example could be password controlled if required.

Other examples include an event or video webinar app page. Or a landing page generator optimised for local searches in Kent. Or maybe a site area for clients to login and securely view personalised data. We've created all of these for clients over the past decade.

Web app functionality – stripping it back to the basics

Too many options usually leads to ambiguity, followed by confusion. The simplest interface with the fewest options is always best from our experience. Open it, select the option(s) you need, populate the data fields, click save and logout. That's our aim when creating these apps for clients.

We also create an embedded CMS tutorial video with each web app. Clients can reference the video within their dashboard as often as they wish. Phone and email support is also provided.

Save time - Save money

A few possible use cases...

  • A builder could email or text a branded pdf estimate from any location with internet access.
  • A solicitor could create a secure and bespoke client page within minutes.
  • An architect could showcase and arrange projects within a site section, built exclusively for their needs.
  • An accountant could host a gated library page with downloadable resources.
  • A consultant could share a page, video or downloadable document with a single client only.
  • A service provider in Canterbury could create special offers for bespoke groups of targeted customers.

The possibilities are manyfold but the principle remains the same.

Simple in concept. Easy to use. Fast to build and deploy. Cost effective and secure.

We are a Canterbury based design, development and marketing agency. Contact us to learn more or schedule a meeting if you are a Kent based businees in need of some development help.

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