Releasing software is an empowering moment. The euphoria of an upcoming release can easily mask the preparedness that needs to go into the process and, if not done right, can result in a lackluster response to the release. To avoid disappointment, there are a few things you should focus on before submitting your apps to the Windows Phone App store.
Tip 1: Reserve Your App Name
The new and improved app centers support reserving a primary name for the application. This is helpful when you want to ensure that you can launch with a specific name for your application. Reserved names cannot be used by any other application.
If you know you will be building an application with a specific name, it makes sense to go ahead and reserve the app name. That way, when you are ready for release, you aren't scrambling in case the desired app name is taken by someone else.
A quick note: You should reserve app name only if you have rights to it. App names are subject to policing by Microsoft and if it appears that you might be infringing on a trade name, you will lose access to the reserved app name. Moreover, app name reservations can be made only for one year. After one year, reserved app names will be released from reservation unless you launch your application.
Tip 2: Get a Catchy Title
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point, but make sure you have a catchy title so that it is easy for the app to get on the Reddit.com front page or on Facebook's wall.
Tip 3: Select the Right App Category
It goes without saying that a reading application will not sell well in the Games category. Make sure your application is categorized correctly.
Tip 4: Include Relevant Keywords to Describe Your Application
Searching the Windows Phone App store relies on keywords. Make sure you use them in your application's metadata and description for the Windows Phone App store.
Tip 5: Verify Your Package Target
Given the various generations of devices around, it makes sense to verify the package target. The higher platform version package must be a superset of the lower platform version package.
Note: All version 7.1 and version 8.0 applications can run on Windows Phone 8.1. You only need to add the Windows Phone 8.1 target to the application package.
Tip 6: Share Your Application's Identity in Both Windows Store as Well as Windows Phone
As the two stores converge, it would make for a bad experience if customers have to pay for each platform where they intend to use your application. By sharing your application's identity across stores, customers can purchase one time and use it on both platforms without paying another time. This will help draw customers to your offering.
Tip 7: Pricing for Your Application
Although there are two basic pricing models—full price, or free with In-app purchasing—you need to determine which experience will be right for you and your customers. Microsoft offers support for a free trial via its platform. You should leverage it and offer the ability to convert a trial purchase into a paid one in your application.
You also should consider a low price for marketplaces where there is not enough penetration of mobile purchases. This will help build momentum if the barriers to entry are low enough.
Tip 8: Consider Mobile Billing for Marketplaces with Low Credit Card Usage
For emerging countries, consider supporting mobile carrier billing as one of the options to pay for the application. This can make or break the case for an application in an emerging country where credit card usage is pretty low.
Tip 9: Determine Your App Promotion Strategy
Before you launch your application, you need to determine how to promote your application in the AppStore. There are some offerings provided by Microsoft to "place" your application in the limelight at a certain cost. You need to explore how to leverage such tools so that you can get the opportunity to boast about 1M downloads in the first day.
Tip 10: Make Sure Beta Testers Have Microsoft Accounts
If you plan to have beta users, make sure they have Microsoft accounts so that you can add them to the beta app's access control list. The ACL determines who can download and install the beta application.
Tip 11: Get a Game Rating Certificate
Although not mandatory in most countries, a few countries require a game ratings certificate. If you plan to sell your game in South Korea or Brazil, you will need to have a game rating certificate before you can offer the game in the app store.
Tip 12: Get a Push Notification Certificate
If your application uses push notification, it will require a push notification certificate. You do not want to deploy a game that does not work as intended because you do not have the proper certificates in place.
Tip 13: Plan for Certification Time Delays
Even though Microsoft is automating its tools to reduce certification time, you need to plan for certification delays. Plan approximately five business days to get the app approved before it shows up in the marketplace. You can reduce the time it can take by making sure you have reviewed the app store guidelines and adhered to them.
You can try out the submission tool to see if the application is compliant. The automated report can provide of any violations that will need to be addressed before your application can be made available in the Windows Phone store.
I've presented thirteen tips for you to check before submitting applications to the Windows Phone App store. Hopefully, these tips will help you have a successful application submission. I wish you all the best in your application's success!
About the Author
Vipul Patel is a technology geek based in Seattle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/vipul-patel/6/675/508.