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GoodBarber Review: Best Custom App Maker

GoodBarber Review: Best Custom App Maker
Credit: GoodBarber

Note: Apple recently changed its iTunes App Store regulations, which can affect some no-code app makers. The regulation says, "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected." The purpose is to eliminate clones and spam apps that can be quickly created, but it may have an effect on small businesses that don't employ a dedicated app developer. Apple doesn't disclose which apps have been rejected or ejected from the App Store, so there's no firm evidence that this will affect those using any specific app maker, but it may. We are currently in the process of re-evaluating our best picks in this category and will be updating our list soon. Stay tuned! 

We recommend GoodBarber as the best custom app maker for small businesses. 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.

GoodBarber starts at $16 per month and is packed with features that are typically available only with pricier services — such as access to source code, plugins and APIs for full customization. GoodBarber is very easy to use and supports iOS, Android and HTML5 apps.

GoodBarber 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.

Although GoodBarber isn’t the cheapest app maker available, other services are cheaper for a reason. The majority doesn’t offer the same flexibility as GoodBarber, and you often have to pay extra for access to source code, plugins and APIs for customization options.

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 custom 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.

Editor's Note: Looking for information on custom mobile app development for your business? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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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 premade, 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 include swiping and navigation bars. Other design options include custom launch screens, images, icons and logos.

Content: GoodBarber 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 talk more about this in the Features section below.

Preview: GoodBarber lets you preview your app on your computer screen in real time as you make changes. It goes the extra mile 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 of you getting it right the first time.

Another reason we like GoodBarber is that it offers many additional features at no extra cost. These include the following:

Apps for all types of businesses. We like that GoodBarber covers a wide variety of 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.

Customization options. In addition to letting you customize your app's design, colors and sections, GoodBarber gives you access to plugins, APIs, and HTML, CSS and JavaScript source codes to completely customize your entire app.

Content syncing. You can automatically load content from your blog, website and other sources.

Push notifications. GoodBarber has a section dedicated to push notifications, where you can 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. You can 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 signups, event registration forms, contests and orders.

Analytics. See how your app is performing. GoodBarber gives you access to traffic information such as overall launches, page views and unique sessions. 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 to further customize your app, many of which are not available with many app makers. These are some of the integrations available:

  • 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. 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.

Despite its limited accessibility, GoodBarber delivers excellent support. 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 offers several other helpful resources, including a database of how-to guides covering all aspects of the app-building process, a FAQs 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:

Editor's Note: Looking for information on custom mobile app development for your business? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.