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With over 4 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. This is why understanding app store optimization is so crucial.
But what is app store optimization, and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know to help your app rank well.
What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.
That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.
The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: download your app.
The ASO process also requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.
When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will better understand your potential customers’ language so you can hone in on the best keywords to use.
Why is ASO Important?
Recently, at Google I/O, Ankit Jain reported that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” Simply put, this means that:
If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.
With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the amazing reality is that most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.
So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.
How to Help Your App Rank: The Basics of ASO
Much of what I’m about to explain is going to be SEO basics.
If you’re already familiar with these for web searches, there are still a few key differences within the App Store.
Let’s start by breaking down the various components that can affect your ASO:
Main ASO Factors:
- Title: The keyword placed in the title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. Spend time researching which keyword that is, because changing your title too often can be detrimental. As your app begins to rank higher and gain more reviews, your app’s news will begin to spread by word of mouth. Changing the title can make it difficult for word to spread about your app.
- Keywords: To improve your search rankings, you need to know which keywords are relevant and used most often by your target audience. It is helpful to monitor competitors to realize how you compare week to week.
Besides being the most important ASO factor, the title and keywords can be modified easily to optimize them regularly.
Secondary ASO Factors:
- Total # of Downloads: Your number of downloads are significant to ASO, but you don’t have complete control over them.
- Ratings and Reviews: Also important and difficult to control. However, there are ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the factors to keep in mind when optimizing your app for better rankings.
The title is our first impression online. It’s what drew you to read this post, and it’s what will draw users to your app.
Optimizing with a keyword in the title increases search ranking for that title by 10.3%!
Obviously, some limitations apply, as the App Store is very regulated.
You’re given only 30 characters for a title in iOS 11, and keyword stuffing is a surefire way to risk being banned.
Users are also wary of downloading shady-looking apps for privacy concerns.
Think about it — would you rather have “Evernote” or “Note Taking Note App for Notes” on your smartphone?
Be smart about how you optimize.
Pandora, for example, does everything right.
Its icon is sleek and simple, and with a short name, it was able to fit in three essential keywords.
When searching the App Store for “free,” “music,” or “radio,” you’ll find Pandora at or near the top.
Here’s where things get a bit murky. Technically the App Store algorithm ignores the description.
Users, however, are a different story.
Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product.
And, while it seems like you have a lot of space to do this, you actually don’t.
Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here.
You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone you’re worth downloading.
There’s no room for fluff, and you may need to A/B test several iterations to find what works best.
iOS 11 provides you with 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas.
These help your app get discovered through search and related content.
There’s no need to duplicate efforts here, so choose keywords you haven’t already used in the title.
Some in-depth keyword analysis can be done using Apple Search Ads.
This feature is only available to iOS app developers and is an essential tool for listing any project.
You can also use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find common key terms and test them.
You’re given a subtitle below the title in search results. This is also limited to 30 characters.
It gives you another chance to use more descriptive keywords.
TypeShift, for example, uses the space to input its SEO.
This is a cleaner look and can work well.
I would’ve still taken the opportunity to use some keywords in the title, but that’s out of my control.
Which is a great segue to my next topic.
App Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those unfamiliar with an app brand.
Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.
On the flip side, you want to guide happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.
The average rating of the top 100 free apps in the App Store is 4 stars!
Quality clearly matters.
The lower your rating, the fewer consumers who will be willing to consider downloading it.
Think about it. When was the last time you downloaded a one-star app?
You may have rated an app one star, but it was likely rated 3 or more stars when you downloaded it.
Ratings also affect conversions.
Maintaining a high rating is often easier than raising one from 2 to 4 stars.
That’s why it’s important to solicit reviews from customers within the app.
One time is all that’s necessary, and it needs to be done within the first 72 hours.
That’s how long 77% of users will use an app before never again turning it on.
It’s also important to wait until after the customer has a chance to use the app.
Instead of basing it on a timer, consider a push notification when the customer completes certain actions.
Examples of great times to do this are after the first level of a game or after a customer sends their first message through your encrypted messaging app.
Try not to be too spammy, though, and keep in mind your app’s performance can affect its rating.
Ultimately, you want a page full of glowing reviews.
And don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.
It’s possible a bad customer experience happened due to an error or glitch that’s since been corrected.
Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, good or bad, and correct issues brought up. This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
Ultimately it’s a download that matters.
An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users.
Both the App and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking.
More specifically, it’s the current download rate.
For example, while an app may have 1 million overall downloads, a newer app can beat it by getting more downloads this month.
The preview video and images can be a major factor in this.
The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions.
Once you have a user, however, you’ll need to keep them.
It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention.
What can you do to get more downloads for your app?
Improving your ASO is a great place to start. Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.
Retention Impacts ASO
Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high.
The average app has only a 36% retention rate in the first month.
Further breaking things down, we can look at the retention rates by industry.
Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.
There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty to never use them.
A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed.
This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.
How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings.
Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.
Do Apps with Higher Ratings Rank Higher in Search Results?
This test was done by taking a random sampling of keywords and categorizing them by difficulty related to rankings.
An “easy” keyword results in fewer than 25 apps trying to rank for that keyword. “Medium” keywords are included in 25-100 apps, and “competitive” keywords are those in 100+ apps.
Based on this test, there is a clear trend showing that apps with higher ratings also rank higher for keyword difficulty.
Do apps with better ratings rank higher? Yes.
(But don’t beg for them; earn better ratings for your apps the right way.)
ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.
In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden, and the likelihood of discovery quite low.
To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app.
Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve with the tips above.
Have you found success with ASO? What has helped your app rank better?
Honda protege Yuki Tsunoda, who is in the frame for an AlphaTauri race seat next season, had his first Formula One test at Imola on Wednesday and completed more than a race distance.
You may think it is impossible to get business loans with bad credit. In truth, it is just impossible to do so from traditional banks without some sort of guarantee. There are other options however.
Is It Possible to Get Business Loans with Bad Credit?
For example, the government guarantees loans from traditional banks through The Small Business Administration, or SBA. This government guarantee makes it easier to get loans with lower credit scores than would normally be acceptable.
Business Loans with Bad Credit: SBA Loans
The key is, how bad is “bad” credit. Generally speaking, you can qualify for a loan most anywhere with a credit score over 730. However, your interest rates may leave a lot to be desired. If your credit score is less than that, but above 650, you may qualify for one of these SBA loans programs.
This most popular SBA loan program offers federally funded term loans up to $5 million. In addition, the funds can be used for expansion, purchasing equipment, working capital and more. Banks, credit unions, and other specialized institutions process these loans and disburse the funds. What does that mean? It means that you apply with a traditional lender, but it isn’t exactly a traditional loan.
The minimum credit score to qualify is 680. Also, there is a required down payment of at least 10% for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. Lastly, the minimum time in business is 2 years. In the case of startups, business experience equivalent to two years will work.
Funds are available for a wide variety of projects, from working capital to refinancing debt. You can even buy a new business or real estate.
These loans are available up to $5 million. You can use the funds to buy machinery, facilities, or land. Typically, these are expansion loans. They especially work well for commercial real estate purchases.
Terms for 504 Loans range from 10 to 20 years. Unfortunately, funding is slow. It can take from 30 to 90 days. They require a minimum credit score of 680, and they use the asset the loan is financing as collateral. Furthermore, there is a down payment requirement of 10%. This can increase to 15% for a new business.
Like 7 (a) loans, you must be in business for at least 2 years, or management must have equivalent experience if the business is a startup.
Microloans go up to $50,000. They work well for starting a business, purchasing equipment, buying inventory, or as working capital. Community based non-profits administer microloan programs as intermediaries. Unlike most other SBA loans, financing comes directly from the Small Business Administration.
They can take upwards of 90 days to fund. The minimum credit score for microloans is 640, and collateral and down payment requirements vary by lender.
SBA Disaster Loans
As a general rule, disaster loans go up to $2 million. However, there are tons of changes in the program right now due to the need for COVID-19 relief. These loans are also processed directly through the SBA rather than through partner lenders. They are for small-business owners that have been affected by natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been deemed to qualify as a natural disaster. Terms go up to 30 years. The maximum interest rate is 4%, and you can apply for disaster loans directly at SBA.gov.
The minimum credit score for these loans is 660. Additionally, collateral is necessary if the loan goes over a certain amount. That amount is usually $25,000. For a military economic injury disaster, the amount that requires collateral is $50,000. Either way, a down payment is not necessary.
SBA Express Loans
The max amount for these loans is $350,000. Terms range from 5 to 25 years. To qualify, your credit score must be above 680. Also, you must have a debt to service ratio of 1.1 or higher. If the loan is greater than $25,000, collateral may be necessary depending on the lender.
As the name suggests, you get funds from express loans much faster. In fact, the SBA takes 36 hours or less to give a decision. Not only that, but the necessary paperwork for application is less also. This makes express loans a great option for working capital, among other things, if you qualify.
There are 4 distinct CAPLine programs that differ mostly in the expenses they can fund. Each of them carries a maximum amount of $5 million. In addition, the interest rate for each range from 7% to 10%. Like many of the others, funding can take 45 to 90 days.
The four different programs are:
- Seasonal CAPLines
- Contract CAPLines
- Builder’s CAPLines
- Working Capital CAPLines
For these, the minimum credit score to qualify is 680. However, there is no minimum time in business requirement unless you are getting a seasonal CAPLine. That one carries a one year in business requirement.
Get our business credit building checklist and build business credit the fast and easy way to beat the recession blues.
Business Loans with Bad Credit: Alternative Loans
These are loans from private lenders rather than traditional banks. Most of them operate online exclusively. We’ve listed a few for you below. Be sure to double check details like required credit score and interest rate, as these things can change without notice.
Fundbox is going to be one of the first lenders to pop up if you search for alternative business loans. It is a line of credit rather than a loan, but it is a great funding option because there is no minimum credit score requirement.
They offer an automated process that is super-fast. Repayments are automatic, meaning they draft them electronically, and they occur on a weekly basis. One thing to remember is that you could have a repayment as high as 5 to 7% of the amount you have drawn currently, as the repayment period is comparatively short. This means you need to be sure you have enough funds in whatever account you connect them to so that it can cover your payment each week.
Loan amounts come as low as $100 and as high as up to $100,000, but the max initial draw is $50,000. Though there is no minimum credit score requirement, they do require at least 3 months in business, $50,000 or more in annual revenue, and a business checking account with a minimum balance of $500.
The minimum loan amount available from BlueVine is $5,000 and the maximum is $100,000. Annual revenue must be $120,000 or more and the borrower must be in business for at least 6 months. Your personal credit score has to be 600 or above. It is important to note also, that BlueVine does not offer a line of credit in all states.
Upstart uses a completely innovative platform for alternative loans. The company questions the ability of financial information and FICO alone to truly determine the risk of lending to a specific borrower. Instead, they choose to use a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect alternative data. They then use that data to help them make credit decisions.
Alternative data can include mobile phone bills, rent, deposits, withdrawals, and even other information less directly tied to finances. The software they use learns and improves on its own. You can use their online quote tool to play with different amounts and terms to see the various interest rate possibilities. Typically, business loans are available ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Interest rates vary greatly, ranging from 7.5% to 35.99%. You can pay back loans over either 3-years or 5-years.
To be eligible for a loan with Upstart, you must meet the following qualifications:
- Credit score of 620+
- No bankruptcies or negative public records
- No delinquent accounts
- Meet debt to income standards (they only note they will check this ratio, not what their standards are.)
- Have fewer than 6 inquiries in the past 6 months on your credit report, not including those related to student loans, vehicle loans, or mortgages
These are the requirements they list on their website. One independent review said that the requirement for the debt to income ratio is a maximum of 45%. It also says that the minimum annual income has to be at least $12,000.
Fora Financial funds more than $1.3 million in working capital around the United States. There is an early repayment discount if you qualify.
This is a great option for business loans with bad credit. Why? Here is what Fora Financial says about credit score:
“At Fora Financial we do not believe that the number of your credit score defines who you are as a business owner. We look at your entire business model along with your future plans to create a financing program that will help you reach your goals.”
As you can see, there really isn’t a minimum credit score requirement.
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $500,000. The business must be at least 6 months in operation and the monthly revenue has to be $12,000 or more. There can be no open bankruptcies.
Obtaining financing from OnDeck is quick and easy. First, you apply online and receive your decision once application processing is complete. If you receive approval, your loan funds will go directly to your bank account. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $500,000.
They do require a personal credit score of 600 or more for at least one owner. Also, you must be in business for at least 3 years. Annual revenue must be at or exceed $100,000. In addition, there can be no bankruptcy on file in the past 2 years and no unresolved liens or judgements.
Kiva is an online lender that is a little different. For example, the interest rate is 0%, so even though you have to pay it back it is absolutely free money. They don’t even check your credit. However, there is one catch. You have to get at least 5 family members or friends to throw some money in the pot as well. In addition, you have to pitch in a $25 loan to another business on the platform.
Accion is a microlender, a nonprofit, that offers installment loans to both startups and already existing businesses. You don’t have to already be in business, but if you are not, you must have less than $500 in past due debt. In addition, your business needs to be home or incubator based.
Loans are from 6 to 60 months and interest rates range from 7% to 34%. A personal guarantee, and sometimes specific collateral, is necessary in most circumstances.
What’s the minimum credit score? Accion says it best in their FAQ’s:
“Credit is just one of many factors that we look at when we work with business owners. If your credit isn’t well established or damaged, we can work to find strengths in your business or finances to make the loan possible. We do have firm requirements on past due debt and bankruptcies and have credit score minimums in some areas, so please check our loan requirements to see if we are a good fit for you.”
Basically, depending on your other information, Accion can be a good option for business loans with bad credit.
Get our business credit building checklist and build business credit the fast and easy way to beat the recession blues.
Build and Improve Business Credit and Forget About Business Loans with Bad Credit
Maybe one of these options will work for you. But what if you didn’t have to worry about finding business loans for bad credit? What if you could have good business credit? Guess what? You absolutely can! How? Well, first, you have to set up your business to be an entity separate from yourself. That way, when you take out debt in your business name and repay it, the accounts will report to your business credit report and not your personal credit report.
There is a lot to building fundability and business credit, but here is a starting point.
- Make sure you and your business do not share contact information. Your business needs a separate phone number and address.
- Get your business an EIN so you can apply for business credit without your SSN.
- Incorporate your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation.
- Make sure your business has all the licenses it needs to operate legally.
- Open a separate, dedicated business bank account.
After your business is set up properly, you can work with starter vendors to build business credit. These are companies that sell things you use in the course of everyday business, like office supplies, cleaning supplies, even packaging materials. They will issue net invoices without doing a credit check, so you don’t have to have credit to get credit with them. Then, they will report your payments to the business credit reporting agencies. That gets the ball rolling.
It is Possible to Get Business Loans with Bad Credit
It is absolutely possible to get business loans with bad credit. However, once you get the funding you need, don’t stay in a bad credit hole. Get to work building a ladder to get yourself out. Get the funds you need to stay open, but at the same time, work to put yourself in a better position for the future.
Get our business credit building checklist and build business credit the fast and easy way to beat the recession blues.