Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Active Installs still Falling

What's going on - active installs still falling?
Active installs are still falling fast for my  Computer and IT Quiz app - Active installs are now at 1,295 (was 1,658 at the start of this blog and was at one time around 3,000).
I still cannot figure this out. I have had another look through the statistics and can that it's not any specific version of the app that's being installed - it's all versions. There may be a problem with the app on some devices although feedback has given no clues as to the problem.

I had hoped to turn the  Computer and IT Quiz  app into something that earned me at least a little money towards my final goal of $1500 per month, but at this rate I'd better put more effort into some of my new ideas.

I will spend a little more time on the app when I get back from my 2 week break, and then see how things go - I will set up some more emulator screen sizes for testing, as currently I am only testing on my HTC Sensation.

So here are the stats for this month so far - I will post the full months stats when I am back from my break:

Computer and IT Quiz:
Active installs last month: 1,658
Active installs now: 1,295
Profit so far this month from Adsense: $1.26
Adsense impressions so far this month: 9,367

Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter:

Active installs last month: 272
Active installs now: 272
Profit so far this month from Adsense: $0.0
Adsense impressions so far this month: 0

Interestingly, looking at the number of impressions for the computer quiz, it is around the same mark as it was at this point last month, before all the uninstalls started happening., so there may be some hope yet. Hopefully the active installs out there now are strong and are used regularly, to create a large volume of ad impressions - after all that's what I want at the end of the day.

I would also like to point out that the Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter has very little activity surrounding it. Maybe it just isn't exciting enough - after all it is a very simple tool (as it was designed to be). It just doesn't seem to have a place in the Play Store.

Tasks for when I return:

  • Get started on my next app - I have now got the creative juices flowing, so to speak. I can't really give away any details - again, it's not a major app but it is one I believe will be very useful for guitar/bass players.
  • I will also see if the uninstalls have evened out when I get back, for the Computer and IT Quiz. Lets hope they don't fall enough to cause my app to drop down the list in search results in the Play Store.
Thanks again for reading this blog - if you have any comments or suggestions please send them to


Friday, April 13, 2012

Why are my app's active installs falling?

Hello again, and welcome back.

Today, I want to share with you an unusual drop in the number of active installs of my app, Computer and IT Quiz.

I've been working hard on the app, and I'd hoped this work would have translated to more downloads of the app.

Unfortunately, I've had a drop in the number of active installs. And not just a small drop. This graph shows active installs for the last six months - check out the drop at the end:

Before the drop, active installs were steadily on the rise, and have been since first publishing the app. Now, the total installs have fallen to a level less than they were a year ago, without any obvious reason.

I did release a bug-riddled version of the app a while back (not intentionally - I didn't test properly!), and it's the only thing I can think of that might have caused this issue...

Let that be a lesson to you folks - always test properly before release.

On a more positive note, I hope that, as I've made a number of improvements over the last two releases (and fixed the bugs), numbers will start to pick up again.

I'll stay positive - if I keep improving the app, the numbers will pick up again.

Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? Did it motivate you to work even harder, or did it cause you to give up? Please comment below and tell us you're story. I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Developing and selling Android apps with no experience

Hello everyone and welcome back!

If you read the first post yesterday, you'll know I'm starting a career in Android development, and want to earn a living working from home developing and selling my Android apps.

  • So where to begin? 
  • Do you need programming experience?
  • Are there any start up costs?

Let's take a look...

My programming experience

At university I studied a free route computing course, which involved some C++ and Assembly language programming. I was pretty good at both, but never an expert at either, and studied neither in the final year of my degree.

Since then I've worked in two technical support roles, neither of which involved any programming.

How I got started

A couple of years ago I looked into the possibility of buying myself an Android phone - the HTC Hero. While I was reading into the Android operating system, I learned that apps could be developed by anyone with a developer account, and published straight to the Android Market (now called Google Play Store).

There were two ways of generating income - you could charge a fee for users to download your app, or you could use in-app advertising to generate money.

I got all tingly, bought the phone, downloaded the development software, signed up as a developer and started tinkering.


Here are the things you need to buy to develop and publish Android apps:

1. A Windows/Linux/Mac computer with internet access (I'll assume you have this already).
2. A developer account ($25 one-time fee when I wrote this).

All the development software is free and so is the emulator (you don't strictly need an Android phone/tablet to develop, although I strongly recommend you test all apps on real devices before publishing).

My First App

The first app I created was Computer and IT Quiz (a recent version of the app is shown on the right). It was full of bugs, but there was nothing else of its type on the market at the time. I made the app available for free on the market.

Computer and IT Quiz was fairly popular but due to the bugs, received a lot of bad reviews, which in turn put others off downloading. I fixed the bugs over the following months, and worked hard to improve the app with more questions, and a better user interface.

Note - since writing this post, I have released a paid version of Computer and IT Quiz. The paid version has more features and no ads.

My second app

I created the Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter app (now called Blou Simple Calorie Counter, pictured left) not long after the first release of Computer and IT Quiz. It received fairly good reviews, but was clunky and never got a great number of downloads.

After a while I decided to pull the app and re-release it as a paid app. I recreated much of the interface and re-released the software for $0.60 (or thereabouts - not sure of the exact price I charged).

I sold very few (less than 15) downloads of the app and decided to again make the app free to download, with ads showing to earn revenue.

Since making the app free again, the app received hardly any downloads and earns no revenue whatsoever. Something for me to work on.

I'm reaching the end of where I wanted to go with this post, but before I finish, I'd like to invite you to say 'Hi!' in the comments below, and if anyone is at the same stage as I am with development, I'd love to hear more of your story.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Can I Make a Living with Android Apps?

Action is the foundational key to all success.
Pablo Picasso

My plan to make a living from home, with Android app development

Many people dream of making money from home. Some try to do it the easy way - which is seldom successful (check out Son Tran's 'Five Stupid Get-Rich Quick Scams (People Still Fall For)' if you fancy a laugh) - and some people do it from scratch the hard way.

I put a lot of effort into developing Android apps, and I hope that this blog will eventually become an Android developer success story, to inspire others who want to earn money with Android apps.

About me and my business

My name's Mike, and I'm a Technical Support Engineer working for the NHS in Manchester, England. I do like my job, but my dream is to quit working full time for somebody else, and go it alone. My real passion is programming, and so Android development seemed the perfect choice for me to set about making my dream a reality.

I developed and published my first Android app, 'Computer and IT Quiz', in 2010 under the developer name 'Spiderdog Software', and today it's still my most popular app. I spend most of my development time working on both the free and full versions of this app.

How do I make money from my apps?

My apps are offered for download in two ways:
1. Free version with advertising (either third party ads, or ads that point to the paid version of my app).
2. Paid version with no advertising, and some extra features. It's the paid apps that I am expecting to earn the most money with.

How much money do I need to earn from my apps to quit my job and work from home?

Note: I've taken a few things into consideration here such as Google's cut from sales, income tax etc., as well as the expenses I have in my current job (fuel used driving to work and so on). The numbers below are what I would like to earn in app sales before those deductions.

If I can make money from Android - enough money to live off - then I will have achieved my ultimate goal. My target is $1650 per month, which roughly matches my current income.

"Whoa!", you may be thinking. "Mike, $1650 is a lot of money to earn from an app!"

Well... for a month $1650 does sounds like a lot of money for an indie developer like myself, but when you break it down it seems perfectly achievable. $1650 over 30 days is $55, so that's my daily target. If I were to price my apps at $2 and could sell 30 downloads each day, I'd hit my target easily.

My Apps

Computer and IT Quiz - The first app I published and the one that I've spent the most time developing. A multiple choice quiz related to computers, technology and communications. You can see screenshots for this app on the right.

Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter - This is the second app I published. Although the app does have positive reviews, it has enjoyed few downloads and does not make much money on the Google Play Store.

My goals

I've set myself some mini 'stepping stone' goals, which you can see on this page (or you can click 'About me and my goals' in the links section on the right). I'll keep this page up to date with which of the mini goals I've achieved, and the date each was achieved.

Starting point - Downloads and Earnings

I'll be sharing the number of downloads of my apps each month. Here are the starting figures:

Computer and IT Quiz (Lite):
Total installs 16,146
Active installs 1,658

Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter:
Total installs 1354
Active installs 272

My current revenue for all apps is less than $5 per month, and currently I only have third party ads for revenue generation.

Note - these were the only apps I had when I started this blog

I will constantly be improving the apps I have now, and  building new ones to boost revenue.

Thanks for reading, it would be great to hear from some of you who are starting out - even if you just post to say 'Hi!', so please leave a comment, and if you're interested in following my journey, you can subscribe below. Thanks.

All the best.