We recommend GoodBarber as the best app maker for small business.We chose this service from dozens of app makers. To understand how we chose GoodBarber, you can find our methodology and a list of app makers on our best picks page.
We like GoodBarber because it offers the best value for small businesses. The service starts at $16 per month and is packed with features that are typically available only with pricier services that are closer to the $50-per-month price range. We'll talk more about these features below.
GoodBarber also offers two additional plans: a $32-per-month plan that comes with a wide range of app-management and analytics tools, and a $48-per-month plan that also lets you create a native iPad app.
It's true that GoodBarber isn't the cheapest service available — some others cost as little as $1 per month — but with DIY app makers, you get what you pay for. Those services on the cheaper end have severe limitations, such as intrusive ads, vendor branding and very clunky user interfaces. They also often have very generic layouts, which don't look as professional and aren't as customizable to fit your brand.
Cheaper services also typically require you to pay more to create apps for different platforms. For example, some limit you to Web-based HTML5 apps, then require you to subscribe to a costlier subscription plan to create native Android or iOS apps.
With GoodBarber, you get everything you need to create your own Android, iPhone, iPad and HTML5 apps using a simple and affordable pricing model. GoodBarber also lets you submit your creation to app stores for free, while some app makers require an additional fee to do this.
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Ease of use
Amongst the dozens of DIY app-makers we tried, GoodBarber was definitely one of the easiest to use. A simple navigation sidebar appears on the left, content appears in the middle, and app elements appear on the right.
The builder also simplifies the app-making process into four simple steps: design, (add) content, preview and publish.
Design. Click on the Themes tab to choose from more than 50 pre-made, professional-looking themes. We like that you can also change color schemes to fit your brand. Next, click on Menu to choose a navigation system for your app; system types range from swiping to page views to simple to navigation bars. Other design options include custom launch screens, images, icons and logos.
Content. GoodBarber also lets you add a wide range of content to your app, such as articles, photos and videos, custom pages, social media, maps, calendars, and forms. We'll talk more about this in the Features section below.
Preview. Like other app makers, GoodBarber lets you review your app on your computer screen in real time as you make changes. GoodBarber goes the extra mile, however, by letting you preview the app on your mobile device. Just download the GoodBarber app and sign in to see exactly how your app will look on that device.
Publish. GoodBarber also makes it easy to submit your creation to app stores. Just hit the "Publish" button, and the program will automatically check your app to ensure that all the important parts are there. It will notify you of anything that is missing and require that you complete those unfinished tasks before submission. We really like this feature because it saves you a lot of time; imagine having submitted your app, only to be rejected by the app stores, and then having to figure out where you went wrong in the first place. GoodBarber increases the chances that you get it right the first time.
Another reason we like GoodBarber is that it offers many additional features at no extra cost. These include:
- Apps for all types of businesses. We like that GoodBarber covers a wide range industries, so it's available to all types of businesses. Business sectors include local businesses, restaurants and bars, retailers and e-commerce, brands, media publishing and blogs, music and radio, movies and television, event organizers, service providers, and many more.
- Content syncing. Automatically load content from your blog, website and other sources.
- Push notifications. GoodBarber has a section dedicated to push notifications, where can you schedule messages, manage groups and organize recipients.
- E-commerce integration. GoodBarber works with Amazon, Shopify and Etsy, so you can easily sell your products right from your app. Just click on the e-commerce button to add your information, and GoodBarber will automatically load your storefront onto the app.
- Social media integration. Display and sync content from your Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram feeds.
- Calendar integration. GoodBarber lets you share your calendar to easily announce and invite users to special events. It supports several calendar and scheduling tools, such as iCal, Google Calendar, Facebook Events, WM Events and your CMS.
- Maps. Display feature-rich maps that not only show directions to your business, but also add interactive content like photos and videos to specific location points.
- Forms. Add custom forms such as newsletter sign-ups, event registration forms, contests, orders and many others.
- Analytics. See how your app is performing. GoodBarber gives you access to traffic information such as overall launches, page views, unique sessions and other metrics. You can also create device-specific reports to compare user behavior, for instance, between iOS and Android users or between smartphone and tablet users.
GoodBarber also shines in third-party add-ons. It offers a ton of integrations that are not available with many app makers, such as:
- iBeacons and geofencing for location-based push notifications
- User authentications and user groups to set access rights
- Community features to allow users to interact with one another
- Content services like Ooyala, Squarespace and your own CMS to automatically export content in real time
- Analytics services, including Google Analytics, Flurry and Countly
- Monetization options, such as advertising networks and internal ads
- Live-streaming (audio and video)
Although we really like GoodBarber, there are a few drawbacks that may be deal breakers for some small businesses.
Limited e-commerce integration. As mentioned above, GoodBarber works only with e-commerce software Shopify and online store providers Amazon and Etsy. So if your online store doesn't use any of these three services, you won't be able to integrate your storefront into the app and take advantage of in-app purchases. However, you can still use a click-to link to give users quick access to your online store via Web browser.
Customer service. GoodBarber doesn't currently offer direct phone support or live-chat support. Currently, you can only contact the company by email or the Web form; then you can schedule a call or a chat via Skype. This is an inconvenient system, especially when you need help right away.
Nonetheless, GoodBarber delivers excellent support despite its limited accessibility. A very friendly customer service rep got back to us within 10 minutes of our initial contact and was able to answer all of our questions in detail (for objectivity, we posed as business owners looking to create an app for our business). On a separate occasion, we also had questions about the app builder itself, and the rep was equally friendly and very helpful in walking us through the platform as we created our app. Additionally, a rep regularly kept in touch with us via email to see how we were doing and to tell us about features we might like.
GoodBarber also offers several other helpful resources, including a database of how-to guides covering all aspects of the app-building process, an FAQ section and a developer guide. You can also contact the company on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Ready to choose an app maker? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- How to Make an App: A Guide to DIY Tools vs. Developers
- Best DIY App Makers for Small Businesses: 2016 Edition
- GoodBarber Review: Best App Maker for Businesses Overall
- BuildFire Review: Best Do-It-Yourself App Maker for Beginners
- MobiCart Review: Best App Maker for Retail and Shopping
Editor's Note: Looking for information on mobile-app makers? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need: