In the digital age, mobile apps have become an integral part of our daily lives, offering convenience, entertainment, and solutions to a variety of problems. However, the process of creating a successful mobile app and turning it into a profitable venture requires careful planning, innovation, and strategic execution. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to create a mobile app that not only resonates with your target audience but also generates substantial profit.
1. Idea Generation and Market Research
Every successful mobile app starts with a solid idea. Identify a problem or a need that your app can address. Conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and existing solutions. This will help you refine your concept and identify a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets your app apart from the competition.
2. Define Clear Objectives
Set clear goals for your app, both in terms of functionality and profit. Are you aiming for a certain number of downloads, user engagement, or revenue generation? Defining these objectives will guide your development process and help you measure success.
3. Create a Prototype and Design
Before diving into development, create a prototype or wireframe of your app. This will allow you to visualize the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Design an intuitive and visually appealing interface that aligns with your brand’s identity and resonates with your target users.
Choose the right technology stack for your app’s development. Whether you’re building a native app (iOS, Android) or a cross-platform app, ensure that your app performs well, is responsive, and offers a seamless experience. Collaborate with skilled developers who understand your vision and can bring it to life.
5. Testing and Refinement
Thoroughly test your app for bugs, glitches, and performance issues. Conduct user testing to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments to improve the app’s functionality and user experience. Iterative testing and refinement are crucial to delivering a polished product.
6. Marketing and Promotion
Creating a fantastic app is just the first step. To make a profit, you need to effectively market your app to your target audience. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes:
- App Store Optimization (ASO): Optimize your app’s title, description, keywords, and visuals to increase visibility in app stores.
- Social Media Marketing: Utilize platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to engage with your audience and create a buzz around your app.
- Content Marketing: Create blog posts, videos, and other content that highlight the benefits of your app and provide value to potential users.
- Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers in your niche to reach a wider audience and build credibility.
- Monetization Strategies
There are several ways to generate profit from your mobile app:
- Paid App: Charge users a one-time fee to download and use your app.
- Freemium Model: Offer a basic version of your app for free and provide advanced features or content through in-app purchases or subscriptions.
- In-App Advertising: Display ads within your app and earn revenue based on impressions or clicks.
- Subscription Model: Offer premium content or features through a recurring subscription fee.
- E-commerce Integration: If your app aligns with an e-commerce concept, allow users to make purchases directly through the app.
- User Engagement and Retention
Retaining users is just as important as acquiring them. Regularly update your app with new features, improvements, and bug fixes to keep users engaged. Implement push notifications and personalized communication to remind users about your app and its value.
7. Gather Analytics and Insights
Integrate analytics tools into your app to track user behavior, engagement, and conversion rates. Analyze this data to gain insights into user preferences, pain points, and usage patterns. This information can guide your future app updates and marketing strategies.
Idea Generation and Market Research
In the bustling world of mobile apps, where innovation drives success, the journey begins with a brilliant idea. This initial spark can lead to a revolutionary app that not only solves a problem but also generates substantial profit. However, turning an idea into a profitable reality requires more than just creativity; it requires a solid foundation of market research and understanding. In this section, we delve into the crucial steps of idea generation and market research to set you on the right path to app success.
Idea Generation: Nurturing Creativity
- Identify a Problem or Need: The best apps often emerge from real-life problems or unmet needs. Pay close attention to your surroundings, personal experiences, and those of others. Consider what challenges people face and how an app could alleviate those struggles.
- Brainstorm Innovatively: Gather a diverse group of creative minds for brainstorming sessions. Encourage free thinking and the exploration of unconventional ideas. Sometimes, the most groundbreaking concepts stem from unexpected sources.
- Fill Gaps in Existing Solutions: Research existing apps in your chosen domain. Identify gaps, shortcomings, or areas that could be improved upon. Your app’s unique selling proposition (USP) could lie in addressing these gaps.
Market Research: Illuminating the Path
- Know Your Audience: Define your target audience with precision. Consider demographics, preferences, behaviors, and pain points. The more you understand your potential users, the better you can tailor your app to their needs.
- Analyze Competitors: Study the apps that are already successful in your chosen niche. Analyze their features, strengths, weaknesses, and user reviews. This insight will help you differentiate your app and provide a better user experience.
- SWOT Analysis: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for your app idea. This framework will help you identify your app’s advantages, areas that need improvement, potential avenues for growth, and challenges to overcome.
- User Surveys and Feedback: Engage with your potential audience through surveys, questionnaires, and feedback sessions. This firsthand input can reveal insights you might have overlooked and validate your app concept.
- Trends and Emerging Technologies: Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and emerging technologies relevant to your app idea. Integrating cutting-edge features can give your app a competitive edge and attract tech-savvy users.
- Monetization Strategies: Explore the monetization strategies used by similar apps. Understand how they generate revenue through in-app purchases, subscriptions, advertisements, or other methods. This knowledge will inform your app’s business model.
The Symbiotic Relationship Between Idea and Research
The journey from idea to a successful mobile app is a symbiotic relationship between creativity and research. An idea alone is like a seed; without proper nurturing through thorough market research, it might not reach its full potential. Market research, on the other hand, provides the necessary nutrients for your idea to grow into a profitable app.
By combining innovative idea generation techniques with comprehensive market research, you’re laying the foundation for a mobile app that not only resonates with your target audience but also addresses their needs in a unique way. Remember that this process is dynamic and ongoing—continuously gather insights, refine your idea, and adapt to changing market trends. With a solid foundation, your journey toward creating a profitable mobile app is well underway.
Define Clear Objectives
In the realm of mobile app development, having a great idea is just the beginning. To transform that idea into a profitable venture, it’s essential to set clear objectives that guide your development process, help you stay focused, and provide a metric for success. In this section, we’ll explore the significance of defining clear objectives and outline how they can pave the way to mobile app success.
The Importance of Clear Objectives
Clear objectives serve as the roadmap for your app’s development and eventual profitability. They provide a clear direction, allowing you to align your efforts and resources towards achieving specific outcomes. Without well-defined objectives, your app development process may lack structure, making it challenging to measure progress and success.
Types of Objectives
- Functional Objectives: These objectives pertain to the functionality and features of your app. Examples include creating a user-friendly interface, implementing specific features, or integrating third-party services.
- Business Objectives: Business objectives focus on the financial aspects of your app. They may involve achieving a certain number of downloads, generating a specific amount of revenue, or attaining a particular return on investment (ROI).
- User Engagement Objectives: These objectives center around user interaction and retention. They could involve goals like achieving a certain number of active users, maintaining a high user retention rate, or increasing user engagement through specific features.
Guidelines for Setting Clear Objectives
- Specific and Measurable: Objectives should be clear, specific, and measurable. Avoid vague statements like “increase user engagement.” Instead, aim for “increase daily active users by 20% within three months.”
- Realistic: Set objectives that are attainable based on your app’s current stage of development, market conditions, and available resources. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and disappointment.
- Time-Bound: Attach a timeline to your objectives. Establishing deadlines creates a sense of urgency and helps you track progress over time.
- Aligned with Overall Vision: Ensure that your objectives align with the overarching vision you have for your app. Each objective should contribute to the larger goal of creating a successful and profitable app.
Benefits of Well-Defined Objectives
- Focus and Direction: Clear objectives provide a focal point for your app’s development efforts. They keep your team aligned and focused on the end goal.
- Progress Measurement: Objectives act as benchmarks against which you can measure progress. Regularly assess whether you’re meeting your objectives and make necessary adjustments.
- Resource Allocation: Objectives help you allocate resources efficiently. By knowing what you’re working towards, you can allocate time, money, and manpower accordingly.
- Motivation and Accountability: Objectives create a sense of purpose for your team. Achieving milestones and meeting objectives fosters motivation and a sense of accomplishment.
Defining clear objectives is an essential step in the journey to creating a profitable mobile app. They provide structure, direction, and measurable goals that guide your app’s development process. Whether you’re focusing on functionality, business goals, or user engagement, well-defined objectives ensure that your efforts are strategic and purposeful. As you move forward with your app development, keep these objectives in mind, and consistently evaluate your progress to stay on the path to success.
Create a Prototype and Design
In the dynamic world of mobile app development, a seamless user experience is paramount. To achieve this, the process of creating a prototype and designing your app’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) takes center stage. This stage is where your app’s concept begins to take shape visually, ensuring that users engage with your app effortlessly and find value in its features. In this section, we’ll explore the significance of prototyping and design in mobile app development.
The Importance of Prototyping and Design
Prototyping and design serve as the bridge between your app’s concept and its real-world implementation. They provide a tangible representation of your ideas, allowing you to visualize how users will interact with your app. Through thoughtful design, you can create an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing experience that resonates with your target audience.
Creating a Prototype
- Sketching Ideas: Begin by sketching rough outlines of your app’s screens on paper or using digital tools. This helps you visualize the flow of the app and how different screens will connect.
- Wireframing: Create a digital wireframe using specialized tools or software. Wireframes are basic, low-fidelity representations of your app’s layout, focusing on content placement and structure rather than visual aesthetics.
- Interactive Prototyping: Use prototyping tools to create interactive mockups of your app. This allows you to simulate user interactions, transitions between screens, and the overall flow of the app.
Designing the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
- Consistent Visual Language: Develop a consistent visual language, including colors, typography, icons, and imagery. Consistency enhances brand recognition and creates a polished appearance.
- User-Centric Approach: Design with the user in mind. Prioritize user needs and preferences to ensure a user-friendly experience. Consider user flows, accessibility, and ease of navigation.
- Simplicity and Clarity: Keep your design clean and simple. Avoid clutter and unnecessary elements that could confuse users. Clarity in design enhances usability.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Design for various screen sizes and orientations to ensure a seamless experience across different devices. Mobile responsiveness is essential for user satisfaction.
- Visual Hierarchy: Establish a clear visual hierarchy by emphasizing important elements through size, color, and placement. This guides users’ attention and helps them understand the app’s structure.
- Feedback and Iteration: Seek feedback from potential users or focus groups on your design. Iterate based on feedback to refine the design and improve usability.
User-Centered Design Principles
- Empathy: Put yourself in the users’ shoes and consider their needs, emotions, and goals when designing the app.
- Usability: Prioritize ease of use and simplicity. Users should be able to achieve their goals intuitively without unnecessary complications.
- Accessibility: Ensure that your app is accessible to users with disabilities. Implement features that make your app usable for everyone.
- Feedback: Provide visual and interactive feedback to users when they perform actions. This informs them that their actions are registered and guides them through the app.
Creating a prototype and designing your app’s UI and UX are pivotal stages in mobile app development. They bridge the gap between your concept and its real-world implementation, enabling you to craft an engaging and user-friendly app. Through thoughtful prototyping and design, you can create an experience that resonates with users, enhances your brand, and sets the stage for a successful app launch. Remember, a well-designed app not only attracts users but also keeps them engaged and satisfied, contributing to the overall success of your app venture.
With a solid idea, clear objectives, and a well-designed prototype in hand, it’s time to embark on the development phase of your mobile app journey. This phase brings your concept to life, turning it into a functional and interactive application that users can engage with. In this section, we’ll delve into the essential aspects of mobile app development and guide you through the process of transforming your vision into a tangible reality.
Selecting the Right Technology Stack
Choosing the right technology stack is crucial for the success of your app. The technology stack encompasses the programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and tools that you’ll use to build your app. Consider factors such as the platform (iOS, Android, or both), the complexity of your app, the skills of your development team, and the scalability requirements.
Front-End Development: Front-end development focuses on creating the user interface (UI) that users will interact with. This involves translating the design elements from your prototype into actual code. Key aspects of front-end development include:
- User Experience (UX) Optimization: Ensure that the app’s user flow is intuitive, and user interactions are smooth and seamless. Pay attention to animations, transitions, and touch gestures.
Back-End Development: The back-end is the foundation that supports the front-end interactions and manages data storage, processing, and communication. Key aspects of back-end development include:
- Server Setup: Configure servers to host your app’s data and logic. This could involve choosing a cloud provider (e.g., AWS, Google Cloud) and setting up databases (SQL, NoSQL).
- API Development: Design and implement APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow the front-end and back-end to communicate. APIs enable data exchange and functionality execution.
- Authentication and Security: Implement user authentication and authorization mechanisms to ensure that user data is secure. Use encryption and security best practices to protect sensitive information.
Testing and Quality Assurance: Thorough testing is essential to ensure that your app functions as intended and provides a positive user experience:
- Unit Testing: Test individual components and functions to verify their correctness.
- Integration Testing: Test how different components interact with each other.
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Engage real users or beta testers to evaluate the app’s usability and functionality in real-world scenarios.
- Performance Testing: Evaluate the app’s responsiveness, speed, and scalability under different conditions.
Iterative Development: Mobile app development is an iterative process. As you gather feedback and insights, you’ll likely identify areas for improvement or features that could enhance the user experience. Be prepared to make adjustments and enhancements as your app evolves.
Version Control and Collaboration: Use version control systems (e.g., Git) to track changes in your codebase and collaborate effectively with your development team. Version control ensures that you can revert to previous versions if needed and helps manage code changes in a team environment.
Mobile app development is the phase where your vision truly comes to life. Through careful selection of technology stacks, meticulous front-end and back-end development, rigorous testing, and collaborative efforts, you’ll transform your app concept into a functional and engaging application. Remember that development is a dynamic process that involves continuous learning and adaptation. Embrace feedback, stay open to improvement, and be prepared to iterate on your app to create an exceptional user experience that aligns with your objectives and drives profitability.
Testing and Refinement
As you near the completion of your mobile app’s development phase, there’s one critical step left to ensure its success: testing and refinement. Rigorous testing allows you to identify and address any bugs, glitches, or usability issues that could hinder the user experience. By refining your app based on feedback and testing results, you’re setting the stage for a polished and well-functioning product that users will love. In this section, we’ll guide you through the essential aspects of testing and refinement in mobile app development.
Types of Testing
- Functionality Testing: Ensure that all app features and functionalities work as intended. Test every interactive element, form submission, button, and link.
- Compatibility Testing: Test your app on various devices, screen sizes, and operating systems to ensure consistent performance across different platforms.
- Usability Testing: Engage real users to test your app and gather feedback on its usability. Identify any confusing elements, navigation issues, or user experience bottlenecks.
- Performance Testing: Evaluate your app’s speed, responsiveness, and resource usage under different conditions, such as varying network speeds or high user loads.
- Security Testing: Assess your app’s vulnerability to security breaches, data leaks, and unauthorized access. Implement encryption and other security measures.
- Localization and Internationalization Testing: If your app targets a global audience, ensure that it functions well in different languages, cultures, and regions.
User Testing and Feedback: User testing is an invaluable part of the testing process. Enlist a group of real users or beta testers to interact with your app. Their feedback can highlight areas for improvement that you might not have noticed. Listen to their suggestions and concerns, and use their insights to guide your refinements.
Iterative Refinement: Based on testing results and user feedback, refine your app iteratively. Address any identified bugs or glitches promptly. Focus on enhancing the user experience, improving performance, and ensuring that your app aligns with your original objectives.
Performance Optimization: Optimize your app for speed and responsiveness. Minimize loading times, reduce the app’s memory footprint, and ensure that it runs smoothly even on devices with lower processing power.
Final Testing and Quality Assurance: Before launching your app, conduct a final round of comprehensive testing to ensure that all identified issues have been resolved and that the app meets your quality standards. Perform thorough regression testing to make sure that new fixes or changes haven’t introduced new problems.
App Store Guidelines: If you’re planning to publish your app on app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store), make sure your app adheres to their guidelines and policies. Ensure that your app’s content, functionality, and design comply with their requirements to avoid any rejections or delays.
Testing and refinement are pivotal stages in the mobile app development process. By subjecting your app to various types of testing, gathering user feedback, and iteratively refining the user experience, you’re working towards creating a high-quality, reliable, and user-friendly app. Remember that the goal is to launch an app that not only functions flawlessly but also resonates with your target audience, setting the stage for a successful app that delivers value and profitability.
Marketing and Promotion
Congratulations on nearing the completion of your mobile app! However, your journey doesn’t end with development; it’s time to unveil your creation to the world and attract users. This is where effective marketing and promotion come into play. A well-crafted marketing strategy can generate buzz, build anticipation, and drive user engagement, setting the stage for a successful app launch and ongoing growth. In this section, we’ll explore the essential steps to effectively market and promote your mobile app.
App Store Optimization (ASO): Optimizing your app’s presence on app stores is crucial for visibility and discoverability. Follow these ASO best practices:
- Keyword Optimization: Choose relevant keywords that users are likely to search for. Incorporate these keywords into your app’s title, description, and tags.
- Engaging Title and Description: Craft a compelling title and description that concisely communicates your app’s value proposition and features.
- Eye-Catching Visuals: Use high-quality app icons, screenshots, and videos that showcase your app’s interface and functionalities.
- Regular Updates: Continuously update your app’s description, visuals, and keywords to stay relevant and competitive.
Social Media Marketing: Leverage social media platforms to create excitement and engage with potential users:
- Create Profiles: Establish a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Content Sharing: Share engaging content related to your app, such as behind-the-scenes glimpses, teaser videos, and informative posts.
- User Engagement: Respond to comments, messages, and user interactions promptly to foster a sense of community.
- Paid Advertising: Consider using paid social media advertising to target specific user segments and drive downloads.
Content Marketing: Develop informative and valuable content to attract and engage your target audience:
- Blog Posts: Create blog posts on topics related to your app’s niche. Share insights, tips, and industry news to position yourself as an expert.
- Videos: Produce video content, such as tutorials, app walkthroughs, and explainer videos, to demonstrate your app’s features.
- Infographics: Visualize information in easy-to-digest infographics that provide value to your audience.
Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with influencers in your app’s niche to expand your reach and gain credibility:
- Identify Influencers: Find influencers who resonate with your target audience and have a significant following.
- Partnerships: Reach out to influencers for partnerships, such as reviews, sponsored posts, or giveaways.
Press and Media Outreach: Contact relevant media outlets, bloggers, and journalists to get coverage for your app:
- Press Release: Create a compelling press release that highlights your app’s features, benefits, and launch details.
- Media Pitching: Pitch your app to media outlets and offer them exclusive insights or early access.
App Launch Events: Organize a launch event or campaign to generate excitement and anticipation:
- Countdown Campaign: Create a countdown on your website or social media platforms to build anticipation.
- Launch Party: Host a virtual or physical launch event to showcase your app and interact with your audience.
User Engagement and Retention Strategies: After launch, focus on engaging and retaining your users:
- Feedback Loop: Encourage users to provide feedback and reviews, and use this feedback to improve your app.
- Regular Updates: Continuously improve your app by adding new features, fixing bugs, and responding to user needs.
- Push Notifications: Send targeted and valuable push notifications to keep users engaged and informed.
Marketing and promotion are integral to the success of your mobile app. By effectively implementing ASO, engaging on social media, creating valuable content, collaborating with influencers, reaching out to the media, and organizing launch events, you can create a buzz around your app and attract a dedicated user base. Remember that marketing is an ongoing effort, and staying engaged with your users, gathering feedback, and adapting your strategies based on data and insights will help you drive continued growth and profitability for your mobile app.
Gather Analytics and Insights
In the ever-evolving landscape of mobile app development, data is the compass that guides you toward informed decisions and continuous improvement. The process of gathering analytics and insights is essential for understanding user behavior, measuring the effectiveness of your strategies, and making data-driven adjustments to ensure the success of your app. In this section, we’ll explore the significance of analytics and insights and how they contribute to the growth and profitability of your mobile app.
Why Analytics Matter: Analytics provide a window into how users are interacting with your app. By collecting and analyzing data, you gain valuable insights that inform your decisions and strategies. Here’s why analytics matter:
- Understanding User Behavior: Analytics reveal how users navigate through your app, which features they use most, and where they drop off. This understanding helps you optimize the user experience.
- Measuring Engagement: Metrics like session duration, frequency of use, and retention rates provide insights into how engaged users are with your app.
- Identifying Pain Points: Analytics can pinpoint areas where users encounter difficulties or obstacles, allowing you to address these pain points.
- Tracking Conversions: Monitor the conversion funnel to identify where users convert (e.g., sign up, make a purchase) and where they abandon the process.
- Optimizing Marketing Strategies: Analytics help you assess the effectiveness of different marketing channels, campaigns, and tactics.
Key Metrics to Track
- User Acquisition: Monitor the number of new users who download and install your app.
- Retention Rate: Measure how many users continue using your app over time.
- Session Length: Track the average time users spend in each session.
- Churn Rate: Calculate the percentage of users who stop using your app.
- Conversion Rate: Measure the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up.
- Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): Calculate the average revenue generated by each user.
- User Engagement: Monitor interactions per user, such as clicks, swipes, and shares.
- Geographic and Demographic Data: Understand where your users are located and their demographics.
Analytics Tools: Numerous analytics tools are available to help you gather and interpret data effectively:
- Google Analytics: A widely used web analytics service that provides insights into user behavior and app performance.
- Firebase Analytics: A platform by Google that offers comprehensive analytics tailored for mobile apps.
- Mixpanel: Offers advanced event tracking, segmentation, and funnel analysis.
- Amplitude: Focuses on user behavior tracking and provides insights into user journeys.
- Localytics: Offers user segmentation, push notifications, and in-app messaging.
Interpreting Insights and Making Data-Driven Decisions
- Identify Patterns: Look for patterns and trends in the data. Are there specific days or times when user engagement is higher? Are there common paths users take within your app?
- Set Goals: Define specific goals based on the insights you gather. For example, if user engagement drops after a certain point, set a goal to improve that aspect of the app.
- A/B Testing: Use A/B testing to compare different versions of your app or marketing strategies and determine which performs better.
- Iterative Improvements: Continuously refine your app based on insights. Focus on addressing pain points, enhancing engagement, and optimizing conversion paths.
Gathering analytics and insights is the backbone of informed decision-making in mobile app development. By tracking key metrics, identifying user behavior patterns, and making data-driven adjustments, you’re setting your app on a path toward growth, engagement, and profitability. Remember that analytics is an ongoing process; regular monitoring, analysis, and adaptation will help you keep your app aligned with user preferences and market trends, ensuring its continued success in a competitive landscape.
Congratulations on completing the journey from idea to creating a profitable mobile app! Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the essential steps and strategies to turn your concept into a successful and revenue-generating application. From idea generation and market research to development, testing, marketing, and analytics, each phase plays a crucial role in your app’s journey to success. Here’s a recap of the key takeaways:
- Idea Generation and Market Research: Start with a solid idea that addresses a problem or need. Conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience and competition. Refine your concept and identify a unique selling proposition.
- Defining Clear Objectives: Set specific, measurable, and realistic objectives that guide your app’s development and measure its success.
- Creating a Prototype and Design: Develop a prototype to visualize the user interface and experience. Design an intuitive, user-centric interface that aligns with your brand identity.
- Development: Choose the right technology stack and collaborate with skilled developers to bring your app to life. Focus on front-end and back-end development for a seamless user experience.
- Testing and Refinement: Thoroughly test your app for functionality, compatibility, usability, and performance. Gather user feedback and refine your app iteratively to ensure a polished product.
- Marketing and Promotion: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes ASO, social media engagement, content marketing, influencer collaborations, and press outreach.
- Gathering Analytics and Insights: Collect data to understand user behavior, measure engagement, and make data-driven decisions. Track key metrics and optimize your strategies based on insights.
As you embark on your app’s launch and beyond, remember that the app development landscape is dynamic. Stay open to user feedback, market trends, and technological advancements. Continuously iterate, improve, and adapt to create a user-focused, valuable, and profitable mobile app.
Your app’s journey doesn’t end with its launch; it’s just the beginning of a new phase of growth, engagement, and success. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and keep the spirit of innovation alive as you navigate the world of mobile app development and strive to make a lasting impact in the digital realm.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article “How to Create a Mobile App and Make Profit”, hope it helps!