April 2014.

Finding your way around foreign cities & countries has never been easier than the present. With the wealth of information available online, and the relative ease with which we all have access to it, finding local treasures whilst abroad is simple a breeze.

One of the most prominent vehicles for travel-guides and information is now of course mobile apps. There is a wealth of handy apps out there perfectly designed to assist travelers in exploring, finding accommodation, or satisfying their culinary needs whilst abroad. Apps make it quick & easy to find what you’re after, and enable location-tailored results through your mobile. This article brings you 5 of the best apps for travel available today.

 

best apps for travel

1: Tripadvisor

 
Tripadvisor seems an apt start to this article, with its jack-of-all-trades approach. Within the TA app, you can find everything from hotels to restaurants, all of which come with photos, peer reviews & ratings so you know what’s decent. Tripadvisor’s extremely active user base is indeed one of its best features, with plentiful information available for almost any location you could think of. In addition, the “What’s nearby” option provides you a quick and useful list of attractions and resources nearby. Nice.

iOS: Click here for Tripadvisor
Android: Click here for Tripadvisor

 

travelling apps

2: Trover

 
Trover is one of the most stylish apps we’ve seen on the market, and focuses more around the “hidden gems” of travel. When you open Trover you’re met with a smooth scrolling screen of beautiful photos, which are sorted by distance from your current location. These photos are user submitted shots of various attractions around your area. Upon selecting a photo, you’re greeted with the details of the location, any comments on the post and a few other options. We’re seriously impressed with Trover and if whether you’re overseas or feeling like exploring your own backyard – give this one a go.

iOS: Click here for Trover
Android: Click here for Trover

 

apps for travellers

3: HotelTonight

 
For those who often find themselves seeking last minute accommodation, HotelTonight will be a godsend. Not only does the app beautifully display available rooms nearby, it provides cut-price specials as well. As such, wherever you are, you should be able to find decent rooms at prices up to 70% lower than usual, available for that night. While not suited for the control-freak types that need everything sorted in advance – if you’re the sort to seek a deal, jump all over this one.

iOS: Click here for HotelTonight
Android: Click here for HotelTonight

 

wififinder

4: Free Wi-Fi Finder

 
We’ve all been through the struggles of finding a Wi-Fi connection whilst overseas. Often it results in an unnecessary purchase at the nearest Café promising a solid connection, only to find it’s unstable and about as quick as the Dial-up of ten years ago. $5 and an upset stomach later, you’re still without a connection. Free W-Fi finder does what is says on the tin; and sources out free Wi-Fi hotspots nearest you. The app seems to have worldwide support, so should work wherever you are.

iOS: Click here for Free W-Fi Finder

 

google

5: Google Maps & Translate

 
Whilst this entry is not technically one app, Google’s pair of handy travel apps seemed to fit nicely under one header. Maps of course is an essential app regardless of your travel intentions; and while this drum has been beaten all too many times already; it is better than Apple’s offering. Additionally, the use of Google translate makes travelling where foreign language is dominant a bit more bearable – giving you the option to translate text or speech from over 70 different languages.

Maps:

iOS: Click here for Maps
AndroidClick here for Maps

Translate:

iOS: Click here for Translate
Android: Click here for Translate

When it comes to building hype & buzz around your app, nothing is as important as arming yourself with a great press release. Through alerting various publications both online & offline; you stand to inform the masses around the unique problem solving benefits of your app; and essentially tell them why your precious creation is the answer to their prayers. Like most things in marketing though; writing and releasing a press release is not something to be entered into lightly. If you’re gonna do it – do it right. This article looks at how to write an app press release, and 3 key things to remember whilst you’re doing so.
 

 1: Make the Benefits Clear

 
At the start of every good app PR, you should be letting readers know exactly what sort of problem your app is designed to (and hopefully does) solve. If you’ve put together a location-based restaurant finder, tell your audience that no longer must they browse clunky and archaic menu review websites in order to locate a nice eatery. Instead all they need to do is open up your app and they’ll be greeted with a wealth of nearby restaurant information & suggestions. Obviously; depending on the nature of your app, the way in which you go about this will differ – but it’s always a good idea to define a problem, and offer a solution.
 

 2: Keep it snappy

 
We’ve all seen those articles that have an enticing headline, but upon investigation feature several endless paragraphs of what we can only assume is painful monotony. The collective attention span of Humans is ever shrinking, and if you put out a press release best suited for a beard stroking college professor with an abundance of reading time; you’re likely to appeal to a very select audience. Keep your article nice and easy to follow – and separate key points into their own paragraphs & bullets. Also, images are always nice.
 

 3: Find the right places to post

 
 At the risk of stating the obvious here; another thing to remember once you’ve constructed a PR article with the perfect blend of pragmatism, entertainment and information; is to post it in the right places. There are plenty of great app review websites and tech publications to start with – but don’t ignore your niche. Going back to the restaurant example; if foodies are your audience, find some popular food websites/blogs and see if you can get your app featured.
 
Of course I can’t let this article end without a bit of self-promotion: If you’re in the market for a PR writer, don’t forget we here at Appyie do offer content creation services and we’d be happy to help you out.

Whilst not directly related to apps, we found this little piece rather interesting. HackedCollege have put together a stylish infographic around how many students are using smartphones, and what they’re using them for. Unsurprisingly the usage is very high, and Facebook reigns supreme. Check out the image below for all the details:

collegestudents-mobusage

While most people would consider smart phone & tablet usage as a thing for the younger generations, there is a growing portion of the senior population getting on board with modern tech, and finding some great uses for it. The ways in which older folk generally use mobile devices differs somewhat from the youth, and you probably won’t find many over 60’s snapchatting away or applying the perfect vintage filter to show off their latest meal. This article looks at 5 of the best kinds of apps for older people, and provides options for both iOS and Android users.
 

1: Magnifying Glass

 
 The first of my picks is one of the simplest. Magnifying glass apps allow users to turn their phone cameras into a powerful & effective magnifying glass. These are especially handy when you’re struggling to read small print on product, or battling with an overly trendy restaurant menu with font sizes designed for the rogue insects they try so hard to eradicate.  Simply open the app, point the camera at whatever it is you’re trying to decode, and view a zoomed-in version on your phone’s screen! Magic.

iOS: Try Magnifying Glass with Light
Android: Try Magnifying Glass

 

2: Skype

 
You might scoff at this one, but Skype is an often-overlooked app & in reality is an extremely effective and simple to use communication app. We all know there’s nothing oldies love more than a good Yarn, and what better way to facilitate this than via Skype? It’s free, and generally works fairly smoothly. With young folk moving overseas & relocating their lives more than ever, it becomes harder for grandparents to maintain regular contact with their families. Skype crosses all borders, and allows for easy face-to-face communication for people of all ages.

iOS: Click Here for Skype
Android: Click Here for Skype

 

3: Blood Pressure Tracker

 
 Not the most exciting or joyful of topics this one; but everyone knows keeping track of your blood pressure becomes more and more important as you get older. Using an app to record & your blood pressure over time can make the process a lot easier and quicker than mocking up a physical log. Additionally, these apps sometimes provide recommendations & information based on your results.

iOS: Try Blood Pressure Tracker Pro
Android: Try Blood Pressure Tracker Free

 

4: Jigsaw

 
Breaking the rather practical trend of this article so far, my next suggestion revolves around having a bit of fun in your down time. If you’ve got a phone with a decently sized screen, or indeed a tablet, Jigsaw puzzle apps can be a great pastime. The well-made jigsaw apps provide all the satisfaction of clicking in the right pieces, and serve up a wide variety of beautiful imagery. Even more handily, they don’t require the same clean-up frustration or requirement for table space their physical counterparts do.

iOS: Try Paddzle (iPad)
Android: Try  Jigsaw Puzzles

 

5: Medwatcher

 
This app has received a large amount of media attention, and rightfully so. Medwatcher provides an extremely easy-to-use database of medication types, outlining key information such as uses, dosage levels, and side effects. In addition, it provides updates on new drugs and vaccinations, informing the user as to the safety or necessity of such innovations. Where health apps are concerned, Medwatcher is most definitely one of the most useful, and certainly one of the most polished apps for older people.

iOS: Click Here for Medwatcher
Android: Click Here for Medwatcher

Posted by Justin Keown

Fans of the band OK Go will be well familiar with this one already; but for those who haven’t had the chance to try out the latest “play with friends” sensation; read on.

The American alternative group, famous for their quirky style and endearing hint of nerdyness have recently developed and released a multiplayer game called “Say the Same Thing” for both Android and iOS devices. The concept for STST is fairly basic; and is well described in this rather humorous, if a little lengthy video featuring a couple of OK GO members:

In case that didn’t hit fully hit home; here’s another brief summary:

Two players start a game by both entering a random word to get the theme flowing, and each type in a new word connected to the original two words, until the two players (you guessed it) say the same thing. It’s a fun and simple word association game that works effortlessly as a mobile game, and has certainly been well put together by the band’s guitarist Andy Ross.

As it’s a rare thing to have two friends wishing to kill time & play on their phones at the same time; STST lets you enter your word, and waits until your partner’s done the same before revealing the result of each round. As such, it’s easy to play on the go & have multiple games running at once. You can even start a game with the members of OK Go, however it seems there’s already a large waiting list and I can only assume the band have better things to do than spend countless hours playing their own game.

In the past few days, I’ve been able to play quite a few games of STST with both friends & strangers. The results have been mixed. With some partners it’s easy to reach a common word, but with others it’s awkwardly difficult; thanks to both parties going off on completely different tangents. Either way though; entertainment does ensue. One complaint I do have is that there seems to be a limited number of players at this stage.

All in all; Say the Same Thing excels due to its simplicity. Whether it has long term appeal is hard to say; but if you’re up for a quick & fun time killer; give this one a go.

Check it out for Android Here, and iOS Here

Who doesn’t love a pretty picture? We were fortunate enough to stumble across this nice infographic from the guys over at trendblog.net.

Despite the fact that it somewhat plays down the importance of the role of search within an app store, it’s a very stylish and useful starting point for anyone new to the App Store Optimization (ASO) game.

ASO-App-Store-Optimization-Infographic

Remember what it was like setting up your first website? As many did, I personally approached the whole thing like a kid building a lemonade stand. I put all of my effort into making the thing look as nice as possible, giving it a nifty name & padding it out with what I then considered decent content.

Following that, my feet were up, the sun was shining and I was waiting for passers by to come across my humble set up. Before I knew it, I’d shelled out for a nice shiny domain, been captured by an amazing hosting package, and spent countless hours writing for what would turn out to be a nonexistent audience. To say the least; it was disheartening.

Years later of course I’m well versed in the process of driving traffic via SEO, SEM & Other methods. In fact, most people (there are always a few slow ones) are well aware that a website is only a tiny portion of creating an online presence. Why is it then; that app developers & marketers seem to be approaching the game in the same way I approached web design all those years ago? As apps become as important as websites, App Store Optimization (ASO) follows alongside, and is now essential for anyone wishing to maximise the exposure of their prized apps. Let’s look at some basic features of app store optimization.

 

App Design

 
Designing an effective & useful app is only the first step… Obviously though, it’s a very important step. Without an app that your audience will actually enjoy and benefit from, it doesn’t matter an ounce how well you market it. In addition – app store ranking algorithms do actually take into consideration certain usage habits of people that download your app, such as the frequency of use, and the rate at which people delete your app. So to be succinct, make a decent app & you shall prosper. A few ideas that can help people stick with your app:

  • Make frequent updates & additions
  • Keep your app in the spotlight using social media outlets such as Facebook & Twitter.
  • Encourage user feedback via these same channels (and actually respond to it!)

 

Keyword Usage

 
Keyword research & the proper usage of keywords are both very important when it comes to being found in the app store. Depending on the subject of your app, ensure that you spend time finding out what your target audience are actually searching for, and ensure you use those terms to represent your app. If you can – try and find some high volume, low competition keywords. Admittedly though, this is getting more difficult as the number of active apps steadily rises.

 

Having your main keyword in your app title is ideal. If it fits naturally – go for it. If not, don’t tack it on the end or cram it somewhere in the title that looks weird.When writing your app description, be sure to include a variety of keywords you’ve previously identified as either popular or relevant to your app. Again, be natural. Nobody likes a keyword stuffer, least of all the sophisticated algorithms of today.

 

Reviews and Downloads

 
It goes without saying that the more people download your app, the more exposure and popularity it’s going to get – but that’s seems like rather useless information when we’re here to figure out how to get downloads in the first place. Nobody likes a chicken vs egg debate so we’ll accept that downloads improve ratings and move on.

Reviews are also one of the most important factors in App store rankings. What you want are lots of reviews, and lots of positive ratings. There are many ways you can help these along, (some not so honourable) but we’ll try and keep things above board where possible. Some ideas:

Encourage reviews

Utilise notifications within the app, and offer an incentive if possible (such as coins in games or extra features). The more reviews you get, the better you rank. Simple.

Turn haters into supporters

If people give you a bad rating, hopefully they left a reason. If so, respond to them, fix their problem if possible, and wait. People love this kind of attention & they’ll usually re-rate in a positive manner if you show them a bit of love.

Enlist some help

Although it’s not an ideal way of doing things, don’t be afraid to ask your friends & family to get the ball rolling. In addition, there do seem be a lot of people purchasing reviews via various online freelancing sites. This isn’t something to be encouraged, but as the saying goes “if you can’t beat em…”

 

Track and Adjust

 
As with any performance based activity  your ASO efforts should be constantly tracked and analysed. If you start to see success through your efforts – What can you scale? What can you learn from it? Never be satisfied with simply seeing improvements. An idea would be to set up a weekly or monthly report template which you can easily update to measure your progress.

There are many tools out there which allow tracking of app performance, which you can read more about in our upcoming blog posts.