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How To Publish An Android App on Google Play

The Google Play store is the largest, best-known marketplace for apps geared towards Android users.

The Google Play store is the largest, best-known marketplace for apps geared towards Android users. For most people who want to create and publish an app listing, it’s their go-to option, and for good reason. If you have ever wondered how to successfully publish an app you have developed with Android to Google Play, then continue reading the following guide on just how to do so. 

Want to learn how to publish an app on iOS App Store? Check out our guide on publishing apps on the Play Store.

Taking the necessary pre-publishing steps

Before you can begin publishing your app, you need to make sure that you have all of the relevant material that is going to be needed later on. These include not only the APK, or the app itself, but a few other things which are listed below.

Generate an app key

Android requires that all APKs are digitally signed with a cryptographic key, also called a digital certificate, before being installed. These essentially act as a signature that verifies the app, and you as its author. Uploading the key is a requirement to sign your app for the play store, and Google uses this to ensure your identity.

Keeping the keys to your apps secure is imperative, because if you lose access to it, you will need to republish your app with a new package and a new key, which will cost you. However, this is not a difficult task to do. Make sure you set a strong password, do not give anyone else access to the key or said password, and keep the file in a secure location.

Collecting your app’s preview assets

The first impression that most potential users will have of your app comes from the App Store page. While this page is visible after publishing, you will need to gather the right material beforehand so that when the time comes to publish your app, you will have everything you need to make the most of the app store page immediately available to you.

  • Create a strong description

A good description not only tells potential users what your app’s purpose is, but improves its visibility in search engines. Before publishing your app, determine which keywords you may want to include in this description, and make sure that what you put down is something that will draw in the target audience for your app.

  • Gather relevant screenshots

High quality screenshots of your app are crucial marketing assets. They show off its interface to potential users, let them know what to expect in terms of the idea behind the app itself, and are a great opportunity for you to emphasize its greatest features and functionalities. Take and choose them wisely.

  • Design an appealing icon

Your app’s icon is the first thing that potential users will see, even before the name of the eye is naturally drawn more towards images than words. Design an icon that is visually appealing, but without too many elements thrown in which would clutter it.

This doesn’t mean you need to stick to minimalism, but focusing on one core, creative element will make your icon stand out amongst the rest, and naturally catch the eye of those who are perusing the Play Store.

In addition to these, you can include videos, graphics, and other materials which which will all help improve the download rate of your app

Preparing your app for release on Google Play

After the preemptive steps to publishing have been taken, it’s time to take the steps to get your app ready for release.

Create a Google Play Console developer account

To publish an Android app to the Google Play store, you will need to create a developer account which gives you the rights to publish an unlimited number of apps at any given time, from any given place through this account. There is a one-time fee of 25 USD, and after it’s paid you are free to begin releasing apps.

Uploading APK files and confirming app size

To upload an app to Google Play, you need to upload APK packages and name them. There is a 100MB size limit to take into account when uploading, and while APK expansion files are available, it is better if you keep the size of your app within this limit.

Determine your app’s Google Play content rating

This is an important step as not only are unrated apps filtered out of searches, but they ensure that your app reaches its desired audience. This is determined by filling out a questionnaire which assigns a content rating to your app.

Select an app category on Google Play

Another important step, this makes sure that potential users are able to find your app when searching for category-specific apps on the Play Store. Selecting the correct category improves both the visibility of your app, and the chances of your app being downloaded.

Writing privacy policies and EULA

You need to disclose whether or not your app is going to be using any private users’ data, and if so, you must add a privacy policy agreement. This includes a guarantee to not use this information for your personal advantage, an explanation of which data is kept, and which parties will have access to it.

In addition to this, you should include an End User License Agreement or EULA, which are the terms and conditions set for using your app so that the intended purposes for it are its only use. Google Play clearly lists the terms and conditions of publishing for developers, and after you’ve written your EULA, simply include a link to it in the description on your app’s App Store page.

Setting a price and payment methods for your app

Deciding on whether your app will be free of paid is a crucial step. If you choose to publish your app for free, then you will not be able to change it to a paid app later on. If you decide to set a price for your app, you can alter it anytime you want, or even set it to free—but if it is made free, you won’t be able to change it back to a paid app, so you must be sure about this decision.

If you are going for a paid app, then you should also determine how much you are going to charge prior to publishing. This is also when you can select your country targeting, and when you should decide on prices according to different currencies.

In addition to this, you can monetize your app by making use of in-app billing services which include in-app purchases and subscriptions.

One of the benefits of Google Play is Licensing for Google Play, which is a secure means of controlling who has access to your paid app. This is available to any app you publish through Google Play.

Publishing your app to Google Play

If you’ve completed all of the precious steps, it is finally time to launch your app. Navigate to the app release management tab, where you can choose to either publish it for testing, or, if you have already tested your app prior to deciding to publish it, go right to production which will release your app and make it available to everyone in your target market.

Following up after publishing your app to Google Play 

Whether or not your app is actually viewed and downloaded relies on the quality of its release, but retaining and acquiring users depends on what you do after its launch.

After putting in all the effort to successfully develop and launch your app, even more effort should be put into making sure you keep your users happy. The best way to do this is to listen to your users.

Active users of your app are the ones who offer the greatest advice on where you can improve. Taking all of their feedback into account when fixing bugs, making tweaks, and regularly releasing updates will right away let you know if you are on the right track to providing an excellent user experience.

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