How a Custom Web App Helped Our Client Increase Organic Traffic by 10x!

if you need custom web app development services, read this story of a client who was so satisfied with their PWA that hired NaNLABS twice after that.

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by Matias Emiliano Alvarez Duran

06/01/2022

Two years ago, NaNLABS entered into an exciting partnership with a client looking to build a progressive web app (PWA) that would make a big impact on the vacation real estate market. 

This innovative client trusted NaNLABS to develop an MVP to help them get their first sales and raise money for the project. By augmenting their team, NaNLABS was able to work closely with them to meet the client’s expectations and requirements, while building a solution that would lead to a 10x growth in their organic traffic

They liked it so much that they invited us back one year later to make updates to the app and continue our dynamic partnership. How did NaNLABS do it? We’re about to break it down.

Table of contents 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

The brief: Develop an MVP in 90 days 

When this client first reached out to NaNLABS, they needed to design and develop a prototype of a responsive web app that they’d test with real users and gather feedback. 

The second time they reached out, they needed our development team to redesign and develop a progressive web app (PWA) with insights gathered from their target audience testing round. The last time they reached out to NaNLABS, they needed some visual and content updates as well as some features development to increase user conversion rates. We’ll keep working together as long as they need us.

NaNLABS developers followed Agile methodologies to ensure high quality results during this client’s PWA development.

The client: Who are they and what do they do?

Based in San Francisco, California, this startup connects buyers and real estate brokers with vacation rental properties for sale. They provide house prices and annual revenue estimates. They wanted to build a web application that helps buyers, investors, real estate agents, and property managers get insights into properties and their jobs.

The client’s challenges

When the company founders discovered NaNLABS, they were just two people with an idea. And they needed custom web application development services to make it a reality. 

The founders were really good at strategic and technical thinking. They could explain exactly what they needed to do, but didn’t have the know-how to put it into practice. The biggest challenges they faced were a lack of technical expertise, time constraints, and limited capacity to hire people with the right skills.

The decision: Why they chose NaNLABS

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“We wanted a company that was large enough to have a range of knowledge, but not so big that we didn't know who we were working with,” remarked the company co-founder.  

Originally, the client considered hiring a single developer to join their team, rather than contracting a web application development company. But this came with risks, including

  • Not finding the right fit for team compatibility

  • Project delays caused by an inevitable learning curve

  • Having to start onboarding again if the new hire quits

  • Finding back-up to cover sick days and personal days off

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“We did interviews and immediately found NaNLABS to be very well engaged. We were able to talk to one of the founders of the company, which was a good sign for the size we were looking for," the client explained.

How our MVP development stands out 

At NaNLABS we understand how important it is for our clients to get high-quality software fast. That’s what allows them to start making money with their product, either in funding rounds or finding their first buyers. 

That said, we won’t just create your software without ensuring it’s going to be a success. We’ll evaluate your project, recommend improvements, and shorten your time to market without any hassle. 

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“NaNLABS were organizers, advisors, and creators, but they were also people,” said the client.
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“They took an idea that was ready, and they made it better. They knew how to execute it faster and how to design it better than what we could have done." 
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“NaNLABS take what you think you need, and help you figure out what you really need.” 

Collaborating with NaNLABS was a great fit for this project because our developers always use the client’s preferred communication methods and respect their business processes. We work to truly understand our clients’ requests and work from day zero to come up with solutions. 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

The challenge for NaNLABS: A limited time frame and SEO considerations 

The client’s idea was to build the MVP of an SEO-driven PWA that allowed users to access vacation properties and revenue estimations in 90 days. These were the biggest challenges when it came to designing the app: 

  • Reducing user friction for non-tech-savvy users in a traditional industry like real estate

  • Accelerating new and existing partners' participation

  • Blending the emotional experience of travel searching with the rational experience of real estate research

  • Using a programming language with shelf life

  • Incorporating emotional factors into the UI/UX design

The solution: A mobile-first and SEO-optimized custom web app 

The NaNLABS custom web application development team built a PWA that was user-friendly and SEO-optimized. Here’s what the NaNLABS team did to achieve that:

  • Designed and developed a slick experience emphasizing discoverability and analysis features

  • Developed a platform that supported 3 user personas in the space with different motivators: 

a) vacation property managers

b) real estate agents

c) vacation home buyers

  • Coded an easy-to-use and SEO-friendly Progressive Web App (PWA) that worked as a native mobile app.

What is a progressive web app? 

There are some characteristics that make progressive web apps (PWAs) different from native apps.

Native apps are built for a specific operating system and device, i.e., Android or iOS. They usually require a user to download them onto their device and create an account to be used.

PWAs use web browser APIs. They’re designed to be discoverable via search engines and will adapt progressively so that their features can be used across different devices and web browsers.

PWAs feel exactly like native apps for end-users because they have all the same functionality, but they can be found and accessed more easily. It made sense to build a PWA for this client because 

  • The company relies on SEO to make the web app discoverable by users (this wouldn’t have been possible with a native app)

  • They wanted to have a very good user experience across different devices and screen sizes (desktop, tablets, mobile) to serve their different platform users 

  • They needed a fast solution.

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“A PWA is cheaper and faster to build than a native app,” said Joaquin Zapata, a NaNLABS developer.
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“You can use them without installing them on your mobile device because they run on a browser. Regarding performance, native apps can be more powerful but PWAs load much faster.”

For this client we chose to develop a progressive web app because it’s accessible through different devices and fits SEO purposes better.

The importance of SEO and mobile-first 

According to Internetlivestats.com, by the time we wrote this article (5:35 pm), Google had received over 6,612,833,752 search queries in the day. Somewhere among that huge number, there are people looking for a product just like yours. But you’ll only reach them if you know how to optimize your content for search engines.

Ranking highly in search engines like Google ensures you land right in front of your target audience. That’s why this client needed the PWA to be SEO-optimized and mobile-friendly.

In fact, since SEO optimization was such an important part of this PWA, it was taken into account from the beginning of the workflow and the web design was built around that need.

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“SEO is one of the many tools a website uses to achieve its goal,” explained Daiana Del Castillo, a NaNLABS UX/UI designer.
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“Thus, design and SEO don’t conflict. The role of the designer is to incorporate it as a very important factor when designing in order to offer a customized experience and visuals that fit all the business needs"
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“Mobile-friendliness and readability were a couple of the most important points from a UI/UX design perspective, which aimed to enhance a highly enjoyable adaptation of the experience to a very small mobile format.”

How to combine emotional vs rational decision-making design

Since the web app was intended to be a marketplace, one of the biggest challenges was to maintain a balance between rational and emotional decision-making represented in the design. 

The platform needed to give clear information and establish trust, but also appeal to the subconscious emotional side of making a big purchase.

Since humans are emotional beings, the way a website or a mobile application makes us feel has a lot to do with the way we’ll make purchasing decisions. If an app is too complicated or makes us feel unsafe, we’re going to abandon it right away.

On top of that, the client wanted to display properties, with an estimated buying price, estimated annual revenue, pictures, and a description for each listing. If it was hard to use or looked scammy, people were going to drop it pretty quickly. That’s why UI/UX design played a huge role in this MVP development

The client came with some preliminary designs, like wireframes and sketches. The designer gave form to those ideas and polished them taking into account usability and user emotions. 

The NaNLABS designer listened closely to the client from the beginning to transform their ideas into development-ready designs. The Figma design was ready one month before the development process even started. To deliver the perfect design that merged all of those things, the team focused on:

  • Understanding all of the users’ needs and expectations

  • Offering the right quality and quantity of information at every step for every user

  • Reducing all the factors that may have caused friction

  • Communicating trustworthiness and transparency all across the experience.

The tools we used 

At NaNLABS, we’re massive fans of Agile. We live and breathe Agile methodologies. Naturally, for this project we used the following Agile software development tools for different goals: 

  • Project management: ClickUp

  • Designs: Figma

  • Team communication: Slack, Google Meet, and Email

  • Tech-stack/development: ReactJS as the main front end framework. Redux for state management. 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you

The results: 10x organic traffic increase and 3x growth

NaNLABS allowed this client to have a working PWA with great UX/UI and a solid, bug-free back end in 3 months. Also, they were able to get the following results three months after launching the final version of the PWA: 

  • Increased the organic traffic by 10x

  • Tripled the number of listings (they have a presence in more than 30 US states)

  • Increased the property manager proposals exponentially. 

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“We were able to accelerate our ideas into production much faster than we would have been able to do it if we had learned it ourselves. Plus, the product was better than we expected. It reached further than we had hoped, and it was done faster than we would have been able to do without them,” explained the client.

Bottom line: Should you partner up with a custom app development company?

If you need to get high-quality software solutions fast, streamline processes, or build a MVP, the answer will always be yes. At NaNLABS, we have nine years of experience building custom software app solutions for others.

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“There's an element of luck in every project, company, or idea, and ours, was being lucky enough to find NaNLABS,” claimed our client.

NaNLABS helps businesses like yours shape and polish your desired solution. We trigger discussions about your software and come up with alternative paths or cases you hadn’t initially thought of. 

It’s not uncommon for our clients to come back and work with us again, for one simple reason: we do more than just build software fast. We also build personal, collaborative relationships and show our clients how to take their ideas from tiny seeds to high-quality, top-performing products.

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you.

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