Several factors come into play when thinking about building a mobile app for your business.

And, mainly, those factors come down to cost and approach. It is not cheap to hire a developer to build an app for you, even if you hire someone with less-than-professional experience.

And the more complex of a mobile app you need, the pricier it is going to get in the long-term. As such, looking for ways to build your own mobile app on your own time might be a sound alternative. Thankfully, software tech is evolving at such a rapid pace that building your mobile app without prior coding knowledge has become a possibility.

You might be wondering though, “Doesn’t this limit my ability to build a dynamic and feature-full mobile application?”. I think there are many answers to this question, so let’s try and break it down.

The evolution of mobile app builders

As little as a few years ago, building mobile apps using builders was not precisely the most reliable route to take. The reason being that you couldn’t build anything more than a static app; without dynamic features.

These days, this is no longer the case. This is because the newest generation mobile app builders allow for extensions, dynamic widgets, and streamlined real-time features. And, for the most part, as a small business owner, you don’t need much more than that.

Mobile App Builder Example - BuildFire

This above example showcases how you can incorporate an entire YouTube channel inside your mobile app. And, rather than having to add new videos manually, the app will dynamically update the video list in real-time.

So, you can apply the same methodology to other areas of your application, too.

For example:

  • Content. Push out new content entries to your app as they happen. Whether it’s from your blog, content system, or an eCommerce store.
  • Push notifications. Most modern app builders are now fully capable of providing push notification features to your self-built mobile app.
  • User portals. Want to create a place where your users can all hang out together? Something similar to Instagram or Facebook? With the newest mobile app builders, this is a possibility.
  • eCommerce. I think a lot of people who are looking to build a mobile app are looking specifically for eCommerce-related features. Well, good news! This article will cover app builders that let you build an entire eCommerce franchise without ever writing a single line of code.

And, of course, there are many other benefits and features you can incorporate. So, to learn more, we’re going to recap the best mobile app builders on the market today. You might be surprised just how capable such builders are, and how many millions of people are building mobile apps this way.

Let’s take a closer look.

BuildFire

BuildFire

It’s fair to be skeptical of the potential of certain mobile app builders. A team of developers generally builds the most dynamic and interactive apps. So, naturally, one has to question the potential of a mobile app building service. Fortunately, BuildFire is not only extremely capable but also fully transparent about its features and available tools.

buildfire plugins

The main feature of BuildFire is its plugin system. Every mobile app you build with this platform will start out through a selection of plugins and widgets. The plugins cover all major areas of functionality and tooling for specific mobile applications. E.g., If you want to build an eCommerce app, you can choose between Shopify, Square, PayPal, and other integrations.

buildfire supported app types

The app-building interface is extremely flexible. You can start by designing the Home page, and then work your way up to additional pages and content. Down the line, you will be able to add real-time features like blog content, user profiles, push notifications, and much more. Furthermore, BuildFire customers can choose one of more than a dozen templates to drastically accelerate the application building process.

Every feature is explained either through a video tutorial or a written blog post. Also, BuildFire frequently hosts live Webinars to help its customers learn more about the types of apps you can build. It’s an extremely customer-friendly brand.

Lastly, there’s the question of pricing. The Basic plan starts at $89 per month and is sufficient for basic business needs. The Professional plan goes up to $149 per month, and offers additional features like in-app purchases and push notifications. And finally, you have the Enterprise plan at $499 per month, which includes all of BuildFire’s features.

All apps you create with BuildFire are fully compatible with iOS and Android devices.

AppyPie

Appy Pie

AppyPie has helped more than 3 million creators to build a fully functional mobile app with nothing but visual building blocks. On top of support for Android and iOS, AppyPie also offers full-on PWA (Progressive Web Apps) functionality. So, your mobile app will be viewable in a web browser like a regular website. This pretty much solves two issues at the same time.

appypie mobile cms

The way AppyPie works is extremely straightforward. You start out with your own pre-determined application idea and then turn your focus on the “features” that AppyPie offers. The said features act as the building blocks of whatever application you wish to build. As an example, here are some of the categories in which the features are divided into:

  • Social
  • Multimedia
  • eCommerce
  • Contact
  • Information

If you go for Social features, you’ll be able to add Directory listings, Member cards, Form Builders, User folders, and much more. Each feature can be customized for different pages of your mobile application.

appypie top features

To top it all off, AppyPie offers free assistance for getting your apps published in Google Play or the Apple Store. It’s extremely convenient and offers a centralized dashboard to manage all your app needs.

Thunkable

Thunkable

If you have ever tried to learn to program, you’ve likely heard of the platform Scratch before. The platform uses a “blocks-based” interface for building apps and learning to program along the way. Thunkable seems to have inspired itself a lot from the approach of Scratch. As their main interface for building mobile apps is remarkably similar.

thunkable example

This gives you access not only to building mobile apps quickly, but also helps you learn new tricks along the way. Basic applications are not as hard to build as one might think. That said, Thunkable is still a visual mobile app builder and offers a smooth Design interface.

thunkable visual app builder

The above image shows the interface you’ll be working with most of the time. The Blocks selection will show you how your app is interacting with objects, similar to that in Scratch style. Very useful if you plan to eventually learn mobile app programming yourself.

Last but not least, the pricing is also extremely appealing. Anyone can use Thunkable to build mobile apps for free. The premium plan ($21 per month) will give you more storage space, as well as personalized branding options.

AppInstitute

AppInstitute

AppInstitute has grown from a hopeful startup to a full-fledged brand serving more than 150,000 customers worldwide. Their intuitive mobile app builder services are tailored specifically for small business owners. If you’re a busy business owner, don’t know much about code, and need a mobile app – AppInstitute has plenty of enticing features to help you out.

One of the reasons for AppInstitute’s success is how easy it makes to build a mobile app for your business needs. The entire process is condensed into four short steps, while giving you plenty of opportunity for customization.

  • Choose a template. – You can bootstrap a fully functional application from a pre-built template. AppInstitute covers areas like events, sports, restaurants, service-business, and more.
  • Add branding elements. – Once you have a template, you can go all out with adding branding elements. E.g., A custom logo, social media links, photos, and much more.
  • Customize content. – Edit everything from page order to text. All changes can be added from a custom app builder interface.
  • Publish instantly. – Apps are ready whenever you need them. As such, you can also publish your apps in the most popular mobile stores with a single click.

Last but not least, AppInstitute doesn’t charge you until you decide to publish your newly created application. The premium pricing starts at roughly $40 per month for the least expensive plan.

Andromo

Andromo

If you’re looking to build mobile apps and make money at the same time, look no further than Andromo. This Android-only mobile app building platform is one of the best in the world at what it does. Their seamless app building interface provides a straightforward process for creating personal or business apps on the fly.

One of the reasons why Andromo is so successful is because of its native integration with socially-oriented design elements. It’s one thing to build an app that provides resources, but an entirely another when your community can interact with those resources in real-time.

Andromo features

Whether you’re building a music library or a travel directory – Andromo strives to give you the necessary tools to do so. All without needing to write a single line of code. On top of that, each mobile application you create with Andromo is generated in the Native Android code. And, can be published on the Google Play store without much hassle at all.

Lastly, Andromo is known for its making money features. Everyone knows how popular the mobile market is these days. And, as such, there is plenty of opportunity for earning money while publishing new apps. Andromo helps you in this department through its own advertising network and that of AdMob.

Building mobile apps without code

Can you build functional mobile apps without knowing how to code? Absolutely.

The apps listed here in this post exemplify that sentiment perfectly. And, the great news is that this technology is going to continue evolving. Expect more and more mobile app builders to support third-party integrations, which will make it more useful to create dynamic apps.

In conclusion, know what features you’re looking for in your mobile application. This will help you narrow down the platforms which can best serve your needs. And, likewise, understand your budget options for the foreseeable future. While some platforms can be costly, you have to remember that custom mobile app development can cost upwards of $50,000 or more.