10 Steps to Build a $50 iPhone App for Your Blog

If you’re reading this site, you’re probably a blogger or someone interested in making tons of money from blogging at home. With the world going mobile and online even more than ever before, you’re going to have to make your presence known on the go, so you don’t get left in the proverbial dust.

Since I do a lot of the iPhone development for my current company, I have learned so much about the industry and how important it is for people to really put your presence in mobile devices and with my relatively young site Lakers Nation, I wanted to create an iPhone application to compliment our ever-expanding Twitter (@LakersNation) and Facebook Fan Page (Facebook.com/LakersNation) presence,  that could really give Laker Fans all over the world a way to read our content in the best possible mobile format. I’ve reached out to dozens of vendors from all around the world and the starting price for some of these apps would start off at like $5,000 because of the relatively low supply of developers in this highly demanded market.

Then I read a Mashable Article that had me jumping out of my seat – Build an iPhone App for $50? – I thought there was no way possible that could be, but I checked out the video and low and behold, it’s true. I created one for Lakers Nation in less than 10 minutes then gave John a quick IM and told him I’d make him one, too – so tempted to charge him more, but bad karma stopped me.

So, let’s get started on how you can build an iPhone App for $50.

1) Go to AppMakr.com and register for an account – no affiliate link or anything. I’m not making a dime off this and neither is John (yes, he resisted, but it’s for the betterment of the blogosphere!)

2) Once you’ve created an account and logged in, you’ll be directed to your App Manager Page. To get started, you’ll want to press the “Create an App” Tab on the upper left as seen below:

3) Choose which iPhone App template you’d like to use – Since they are new, you only have one option, so press “Choose This”

4) Submit your RSS Feed of your Blog as I show you below. If you’re using wordpress, you’ll find that adding “/feed” to the end of your category URLs is going to come in very handy.

5) Now, we’re getting into the main graphics of the app. If you have any custom logos, you should get them ready. Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 512 x 512 pixel Logo – This will be the “button” on the iPhone Menu.
  • 320 x 480 pixel Splash Screen – This is the loading screen which is the first graphic your app will load.

6) Creating Buttons that represent different feeds to different parts of your site. Remember when I told you that “/feed” comes in handy, well, this is where they come in. These are the feeds that I will be submitting for John’s site by pressing the “+ Add RSS/Atom Feed URL”:

  • Blogging – http://www.johnchow.com/category/blogging/feed
  • Fine Dining – http://www.johnchow.com/category/fine-dining/feed
  • Technology – http://www.johnchow.com/category/technology/feed
  • Cars – http://www.johnchow.com/category/cars/feed
  • Investing – http://www.johnchow.com/category/investing/feed
  • The Net – http://www.johnchow.com/category/the-net/feed
  • Dot Come Lifestyle – http://www.johnchow.com/category/dot-com-lifestyle/feed
  • Make Money Online – http://www.johnchow.com/category/make-money-from-a-blog/feed
  • Trade Show – http://www.johnchow.com/category/trade-show/feed
  • Featured – http://www.johnchow.com/category/featured/feed
  • Ramblings – http://www.johnchow.com/category/uncategorized/feed
  • Videos – http://www.johnchow.com/category/videos/feed
  • Featured Video – http://www.johnchow.com/category/featured-video/feed
  • Reviews – http://www.johnchow.com/category/reviews/feed
  • WordPress – http://www.johnchow.com/category/wordpress/feed

After submitting each feed, make sure to press the “Validate” link to make sure your feeds work.

This is what it looks like:

Now you may think these are a crapload of categories aka buttons to put into the app, but there is a more button users can press on their iPhones and if they would like to rearrange the buttons on the bottom, it’s as simple as drag and dropping.

7) This is the final customization part of the look and feel of the app, so this is what you’re going to need here:

  • 320 x 46 pixel Header Image – This is located at the top of the app at all times.
  • Color Codes for Fonts – Linked and Regular – I would suggest similar color scheme to your current blog.


And this


8) Monetizing your iPhone App. To get started, you’ll need to select one of these Mobile Ad Platforms. For Google’s Sake, we’re picking AdMob – Sign up with them and get your publisher ID to put here:

John has decided to make his first iPhone app Ad free, so you won’t be seeing this implemented.

9) Publish your App – This is the part where you’re going to see $199 and freak out, but guess what, I’ve got a coupon from Mashable to save you $150 bucks that expires 1/6/10, so HURRY! Ready? Type “MASHABLE” into the Coupon Field like I did below then press Publish.

10) Once you have paid the $50 for the iPhone App, you’ll be asked to submit details for your App, so that it is listed properly in the iTunes store. Submission and approval takes about 2-4 weeks even though AppMakr is claiming 1-2 week turnaround. I guess YMMV here.

That really did just take 10 steps and I hope you really enjoyed this tutorial.

If you’re a Lakers Fan, feel free to follow my Play-by-Play twittercasts of Laker Games @LakersNation and if you’re an old school blogger, you might remember me at MrGaryLee.com

Now, let’s see those apps. Leave a comment when you’re finished with yours!

37 thoughts on “10 Steps to Build a $50 iPhone App for Your Blog”

  1. The Net Fool says:

    Great that you got the comment area open! 🙂
    I think that this is an awesome article, but I am a bit concerned that the ability to profit off of iPhone apps is completely gone out of the market. The amount of “easy money” at the start of the app store really got people amped about the potential… but it’s been REALLY tough to do anything profitable as of late.

  2. Tom says:

    That is so cool! It would usually cost thousands to do this right? I can see a lot of people taking advantage of iPhone apps now.

  3. Muhammad says:

    Thanks, you’ve got a really interesting article here, love it 🙂

  4. What’s the difference between the $199 and $499 options?

    Do you get less exposure by publishing under AppMakr for $199?

  5. Simon Bunker says:

    An interesting article and well presented. This appears to be a very cost effective route to having a custom iPhone App created for your blog. Although on the downside it could open the doors to lots and lots of pointless apps on the App Store. I guess if you have a high level of readership it will be very valuable especially considering the advertising intgration.

    1. I agree. I think too many blogs will try and get one and then they will be useless. JCs blog is good enough and so is Shoes, but others might want to just think about it a little harder.

      1. I agree also. If the person creating the app actually has a GOOD use for it, then they should by all means go for it, but now I have to wonder when this will become a fad.

  6. ibnu says:

    another great articler from mr john… 🙂 thanks.

  7. I’m confused, so it costs you $50 to make and then $500 to publish as you being the developer. Yea, you can make it for $50, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t publish it for at least $200.

    The title is kind of misleading. I think the FTC might want to hear about this. LOL!

    1. MrGaryLee says:

      the main difference between then 199 and 499 is if you want to submit under appmakr or under your own iphone sdk account . . . . it’s $50 with the coupon I gave you guys so $199-$150=$49 ~ $50 . . . the coupon expires today

      other than that, I think it would just be a great time to get an iphone app for yourself and populate it with feeds you know you’re going to be building. Then when you’re ready to publicize your iphone app, you can and for only $50!

      Mobile is the future even if it looks bleak right now, it has a great possibility of blowing up in the future. You don’t want to be left out in the cold, right?

      1. Thanks for clearing that up. I don’t like the cold.

  8. Dave Doolin says:

    Several days ago I went through these steps, and was going to purchase, but I wasn’t able to get registered for the website. Server error. I sent a support request email, never heard back.

    Now I find there is a discount. Grrr…

  9. Certainly mobile is going to hit the market and in coming years only mobile will dominate this industry.

    So we should act fast so that we can get big bite.

  10. Dave says:

    Thanks for posting this tutorial. I was able to successfully create and submit my blog’s new app in under 2 hours (I think), which included the time it took to create custom graphics.

    I’m excited to see the finished product on an iPhone (ironically, I own a BlackBerry).

  11. LC says:

    You may be able to create a blog just with affiliate offers as well and use that for your rss feed. Just a thought. Thanks for the post.

  12. George says:

    Awesome. It shows us that we can change the world for $50. I think that opportunity is unlimited. The question is, will we take it?

  13. chester says:

    Wow you actually made that look easy. $50 is a song if it brings in traffic and eyeballs. Great post.

  14. Fique says:

    wow…its easy and can be useful for us..and with $50, one dot com mogul will be born…great post, I like it John.

  15. This is amazing. I’m gonna get on it ASAP!

  16. sohbet says:

    Great post. thanks..

  17. DonT says:

    Do they provide download statistics?

  18. Caleb says:

    So its that easy to make an iphone app? Surely there’s got to be more to it than this?

    I also wonder if a video app could be made using this method..

  19. Custom Essay says:

    All that looks easy because it’s been described with pictures. Otherwise, it could required more concentration. Thanks John 🙂

  20. a brief and clear guide, thanks very much.

  21. Thanks, you’ve got a really interesting article here

  22. flyssy says:

    Finally! a post on John Chow that isn’t linked to some fantastic new “money making system” lol

    I have already built my app for guitar collecting..just waiting to go live now..

  23. “I’m not making a dime off this and neither is John (yes, he resisted, but it’s for the betterment of the blogosphere!)” John resisted to earn money from an affi link? Are you sure he is ok? Rofl, great article and step-by-step tutorial, SY

  24. Great idea this is a must for all the top blogs.

  25. S Ahsan says:

    Does this still work? because i came across apmkr before. The first impression made me think it was free or cheap but i knew it wouldnt be true :). As soon as i signed up and tried to create an app, i realized that it was like 200+ if you want to sign up under their brand and around $400 under your brand..

  26. S Ahsan says:

    Just checked out the post again. i guess the discount is sweet. And from your post john, it seems like $50 to publish under your brand?.. hmmm, need to check it out 🙂

  27. Bidet says:

    Wow that is really cool, and its pretty cheap too. For just 50 dollars you can have your own app in the iphone store and increase your mobile presence.

  28. chester says:

    There’s this 9 year old kid who built an iphone app. Something to do with drawing with your finger on the screen and its been downloaded thousands of times. If he can do it, maybe I can too!

  29. tom says:

    Wow. Totally missed out. Is there another coupon somewhere?

  30. wow nice I need to get this for my twilight community

  31. DROdio says:

    John, this is great, thanks for the detailed info. We posted your blog on our FAQ page: http://help.appmakr.com/forums/90341/entries/102242

    And we made a special coupon code just for you & your readers, “JohnChow”, for $100 off the cost of an app through 1/31. Thanks again for taking the time to demo how easy AppMakr is to use.

    – DROdio
    co-founder, AppMakr.com

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