How do I increase the user base of my Chrome App?

So, you have made a nice, lovely Chrome App, and it has received positive five star reviews from your friends. You pay the $5 fees and publish it to the Chrome Web Store. But, even after around 3-4 weeks, you are disappointed with its user count. You wish (and had hoped earlier) that there should be more users than are at present given the concept, usability and desirability of the extension. Well, do not worry at all! This guide is for you who wants to improve the search engine visibility and user count of your Chrome App/Extension. It goes without saying that more the search engine visibility, more the chances of your App/Extension getting downloaded.

(From now on, I will use the word “App” for both App and Extension)

Fit keywords into your description

This is the first and foremost advice I give to any person. Ask this question to your relatives, friends and other people in your community: “What would you type into the search box if you wanted a Chrome App that does this-this-this?”. Note down the answers of all of them. Then, filter the common words. Make sure that these common words appear in your App description. This will improve search engine visibility. This does not imply that, you do a keyword spam in your app description 🙂 Fit only those word which relate to what your app does.

Real example: A user might type “text snippets” looking for a extension which saves custom  abbreviations which expand to longer text (like, typing “brb” expands to “be right back”). Here are the results he/she gets:

sample1

Notice that all the extensions that come in the top five list had the word “snippet” in their description. They have a higher chance of being downloaded. A similar extension, Auto Text Expander, missed out on an opportunity to grab a user, though it provides the same functionality the user wanted, just because it did not have the word “snippet” in its description.

Create impressive promotional images

This is the second most important guideline if you want your app downloads to skyrocket. If you upload impressive promotional images in the sizes Chrome recommends, especially the large promotional images, you have a bright chance of getting featured in the front page of the Web Store.  Don’t believe me? Head to the Chrome Web Store and view the apps that appear in the marquee. Notice that they not only have cool concepts, but also super-cool promotional images that make them feel premium and better than the other lot.

Another important rule that Chrome guidelines say is:  “Apps that don’t have a small promotional image will be shown after apps that do have that image.” It clearly implies that a promotional image, a good one, improves ranking in search pages.

Real example: When a user searches for “auto text expander”, he/she gets this:

sample2

Notice that even though ProKeys has much, much less installs and reviews than Popchrom, yet ProKeys is placed before Popchrom, and this is primarily because ProKeys provides a promotional image, while Popchrom does not. Thus, promotional images are seen to have a large impact on search visibility.

Write a detailed app description

Cover all the aspects of your app. Do not leave out anything. Try to keep it short, but do not be afraid to make it long if the need arises. Short bullet points are highly recommended as they let the user go through your description quickly. Make sure the unique, better features come first and are highlighted, with asterisks or stars. Such descriptions, ensure that the busy “person” easily understands all of your app’s features, and soon becomes a “user” 😉

Of course, do not put spam text/keywords in the description as they are more likely to decrease app downloads than increase them.

Avoid typos and grammatical errors

This is the worst mistake that highly excited developers do commit. They are in a hurry to get their app published to the world, to see the user count touch heights, to get rave reviews, ….. and so forget the important app description. They will insert all sorts of typos in it, and ignore the rule I previously dictated. This leaves a real bad impression on the user’s mind. They are more likely to close the window if, instead of understanding your app’s working, they are forced to decipher your typos.

Make sure to test your code in a spelling/grammar checker like Microsoft Word to get rid of those pesky typos.

Screenshots are a must

Inserting screenshots into your apps display page in the Chrome web store makes sure that the users instantly connect to your app and thus have a greater chance of downloading your app. Avoid using text-only screenshots. Though, there can be little text, it’s recommended you put images (real ones; not those which make a false impression on the user about your app) which quickly communicate the concept to the user. It should be not cluttered but crystal clear, for we do not want to make the user bewildered instead of impressed 😉

Not only screenshots, try making videos which are a better medium to communicate to users. Though, do provide the screenshots also along with the video just in case the user might have videos disabled.

Localize

Chances for your app installs are bound to increase if you localize your app in popular languages other than English. French, German, Spanish are some great starts. Chrome has a great guide on how to internationalize and then localize your app. Apps that provide greater locale support are seen to have better download rates than similar non-localized ones.

Carry your app signature with you

Although this is one method I do not personally recommend, but if you are hell-bent on increasing your app installs, then carry your app with you wherever you go, whether it’s the online forum or emails or anywhere else. Like, if there is a forum post on some X blog about how to do Y thing, and you made an app that does exactly the Y thing, then go there and post about your app. Of course, don’t only put a link to your app, put some other descriptive text also (like how to achieve the aim without your app), otherwise your post might be flagged as spam!

You can also append a signature to your emails. It may have a format like this:

“Name,

Company,

Creator of Chrome app XYZ”

and put a link to your app in place of XYZ..

Market from within your app!

Embed Google+, Facebook, Twitter share buttons within your app. Request users to share your app with their friends. Also put a “Leave a review” button requesting users to rate your app. Don’t, though, make it too big, large, or flashy if you don’t want to irritate the user!

Ask bloggers to test your app

Chances are that if you ask some person who runs a cool blog or some person with a strong twitter following to test your extension, and then blog/tweet about it, your app installs will definitely go up. Apurva and EW are the best for it 😛

Be responsible to your users

Provide regular updates to your app if required. Do not just publish it and then ignore later bug fixes/updates. Visit your app’s support page regularly. Respond to all sensible feature requests, suggestions, problems. Learn to say “no” to suggestions which are out of scope for your app. Try to help your users as much as you can to solve their problems. Provide your email (or create a new email address for that purpose) so that users can directly email you about anything they want to, in case they don’t want to use the public support page. This builds the users’ trust in you. Be ready for a massive user base for soon they will spread your app’s name through word of mouth – which is, believe me, the best advertising medium a product can get.

Conclusion

Hopefully, I covered almost all the ideas you can follow to increase the user base of your Chrome App/Extension. If you want to request any clarification, or suggest anything interesting, please feel free to do so in the comments!

If you liked my post, you may also like – ProKeys – a free productivity tool I created.

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