In today’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at the new software deployment model called SaaS and try to figure out some effective tips to build a SaaS application in the shortest possible time.
A Few Words about SaaS and Its Significance
If we need water, we just turn on a tap. And when it’s dark, we simple switch on the light. It’s not as if we need the whole reservoir or an electric power plant. Can the same be done with applications and computing resources on demand? In the past, you hit the road with the dedicated development team, spending a lot of money to buy services, storage and provide security. You had to decide on what business apps to use and spend valuable IT resources installing, maintaining, and supporting your IT infrastructure. And if that wasn’t enough, you had to pay for licensing and upgrading. Needless to say, this takes away focus and resources from your core business; and that’s why many businesses turn out to be unable to take off. But with the introduction of cloud computing things started to look up for entrepreneurs.
Cloud computing is on-demand services such as software as a service and infrastructure as a service. To get access to them, you just need to plug in and subscribe. It’s like a shopping mall that shares the same main entrance, the same electricity supply, and common 24-hour security. But each tenant has their own door and lock, which means that all the important things like data are kept secure and private.
SaaS is a much simpler and more cost effective way to plan your business and develop it without spending a fortune. No wonder so many entrepreneurs, even those who have no relevant experience in programming and coding, set their mind to SaaS application development. Presently, many business solutions can be made available through SaaS. And getting these applications up and running in just a couple of minutes is as easy as can be. Something that was completely unheard of in the past. SaaS provides clients with out-of-the-box software via a web browser or mobile application, which is cost effective, convenient, and time efficient.
Now that you know what a SaaS application is you can try and create similar software that will go a long way toward helping others develop their businesses and bringing you solid revenues.
How to Build a SaaS Solution
It’s a common misconception that the process of creating a SaaS web application should necessarily start with SaaS platform development. But prior to getting down to building your app, you need to figure out what niche to set your sights on, research the market, get to know your major rivals, and come up with a well thought-out marketing strategy. In other words, you need to take in the idea of your entrepreneurial venture, define your potential customers, and understand how you can make your project profitable. Once you’re done with that, you can start looking for a reliable cloud service provider. The reason why cloud-based apps are currently riding the crest of popularity is that they spare users the bother of downloading and configuring software on their devices. Moreover, cloud services allow you to save a bundle on maintenance and storage. Plus, there’s no need to own a super powerful machine to sustain the growth your business. That being said, computing power is a prerequisite for building SaaS applications. Therefore, choosing a reliable cloud service should be a top priority when it comes to SaaS application development. Lots of users opt for more budget-friendly solutions, but cost efficiency isn’t the only criterion you should pay your attention to.
Your cloud hosting should also allow for your platform’s further growth and scalability. We recommend that you set your sights on AWS, short for Amazon Web Service. Nowadays more and more SaaS developers rely on this reliable IT infrastructure to run their web applications and organize portals. But Amazon isn’t the only worthy cloud service provider on the market. We suggest that you do some research to find the provider that can cater to your SaaS platform’s specific needs.
Tips to Build a SaaS Platform
And now, we think, it’s about time you gained a deeper insight into the nuances of SaaS platform development. Below are five simple but truly effective tips that will help you create a successful SaaS app that will bring in decent profit.
#1 Find an Idea
Research is one of the most important steps you need to take to ensure your SaaS product is a success. Though this recommendation may seem way too trite to be of any use, make sure to heed it.
To our experience, the best way to do research is to have an idea. At the initial state, you may not have a concrete idea for the software you want to build. And the best way to find it is to look at yourself, your friends, or family. This may give you a useful hint and help you develop a SaaS solution wherewith you can solve some of yours or your close people’s problems. Maybe, you’re working with some software right now and you’re dissatisfied with the way it fulfills the tasks. Maybe, you think this particular SaaS app may benefit from this or that feature. Should you find yourself thinking this way, don’t hesitate to seize the opportunity, since chances are you’re not only one who’s having issues with this software.
#2 Validate Your Product’s Viability
Once you find the idea, you need to validate it. Otherwise, other people besides you may take advantage of it. And you’re going to end up finding that nobody actually wants it. The best way to validate the idea is to go check Facebook groups for Amazon, provided you’re intending to build an Amazon-based solution. If you SaaS software helps comedians find venues, you may want to join Facebook comedy groups and put out feelers to them.
Furthermore, take a look at other actors who may compete with you for the niche you want to occupy. Take note of their strengths and weaknesses and draw proper conclusions from your observations. Think of the features you can implement in your app to best satisfy your customers’ needs and wants.
It’s also desirable that you do the minimum viable product (MVP) and see how your target audience will react to your app. Some developers test their fundamental hypothesis, their assumptions without even creating a SaaS application’s most basic version. Don’t make the same mistake and do the MVP to be able to get your prospective clients’ feedback and properly share your app into its full-fledged workable version.
#3 Attract Customers
If you want to get your SaaS app business off the ground and win more customers, consider doing the following.
- Get rid of your free plans. If your product has a lower price point, you might consider a trial model instead. As a result, you can see a significant increase in customer conversions by letting them try before they buy. This model improves the quality of leads and customers, while free plans tend to attract lots of people with questions and complaints.
- Shorten the trial period of your app. Most trials are 30 days. Yet some extend beyond that to 60 and even ninety days, which is not a good idea. Your customer won’t find out something about your software in four weeks that they weren’t able to find out in one week. So, make sure not to delay your clients’ buying decision by your unwise software trial policy. We found that 14-day trials are enough for your SaaS app to engage a prospect for a finite period. The short window of use entices customers adding a greater sense of urgency to the buying decision.
- Offer prepaid annual contracts. Give your customers the ability to pay for the full year’s worth of service upfront. Offer them a discount and enjoy your spike in revenue.
#4 Choose a Technology Stack
Now that SaaS apps are ubiquitous across the web, more developers wonder what tools, or what technology stack to pick to create a successful SaaS app. In this section, we’re not going to delve into the subtleties of SaaS architecture. Instead, we’ll provide you with a short list of the basic stack components you may want to be using when building your product.
- PHP (Laravel)
- Ruby on Rails
- MySQL and PostgreSQL (databases)
- Apache and Nginx (servers)
Choose technology stack components wisely and you’ll be able to create awesome apps on the cloud.
#5 Find Professional Developers
The success of your product rests on the professionalism and diligence of the people involved in its creation and promotion. There are loads of web developers and designers out there eager to help you with your SaaS product. To choose the right person, make sure to take a look at a potential candidate’s portfolio. You should know that the developers with strong portfolios charge quite a lot of money, but their work is definitely worth it.
It’s also important that you cooperate with someone who understands what you’re doing. Ideally, the person you’re hiring should be knowledgeable not only about web development or design, but also have at least a basic understanding of your business, be it an inventory management solution like HubSpot, or an ecommerce store like Shopify. Also, ensure you have a good communication with the developer to avoid any misunderstandings. You should be able to discuss and brainstorm ideas with your developer freely, not make assumptions. In case you outsource web development, use email and video chats to discuss all important points with your employees prior to going about developing your SaaS app.