Let’s suppose you just finished working on your mobile app and it’s finally ready. Now is the time to publish it, but you have no idea where to start the process. You’ve spent long hours refining the details of your work, and you’d like to finally share your achievements with the world. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting an app on the Play Store.
Google Play Developer Console
The first step to an app release is to set up a development account in the Google Play Console. You’ll be prompted to accept the distribution agreement and indicate that if your e-mail address violates this agreement, you will not be able to register as a developer. Next, you’ll need to make a payment to register. Provide your account details as well as the name of the application that will be displayed on the Play Store.
After selecting an application, you will see these navigation items, categories, and pages:
- Panel: Here you will find all the most important activities that will allow you to make the application available on Google Play and the essential data collected after its publication
- Inbox: This section displays all your Google Play Console messages from users or cooperation proposals
- Statistics: Detailed reports on the performance of your application
- Review of published changes: Changes made to your application
Link Developer Account with Google Wallet Merchant Account
To start, you have to have a profile in the Google Payments Center to sell apps and app products on Google Play. Once created, it will be automatically connected to the Play Console. Such a profile will allow you to sell services, sell reports, pay for transactions and perform other activities. In the play console, click download reports and then finance. Set up a merchant account and provide information about your application. If you do not have a bank account required to receive payments, Google may not be able to otherwise pay you for products sold on your account.
Create Your Android Application
After signing up for a Google Play developer account, you can create and configure applications in the Play Console. To create an application:
- Open the Play Console
- Go to All Applications and then click Create Application
- Choose a name for the app and then set the primary language
- Specify whether your product is a game or an application
- Specify whether it is a paid or free application
- In the Declarations section, accept all the required fields
- Click Create Application
As you fill in your App Store listing, be sure to follow some of the guidelines and fill in all the necessary details. Here’s also where you can add keywords into your listing to optimize your product for search terms. However, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help with building your Android app.
Upload Your Android App to Google Play Console
Whether you are uploading the app for the first time or updating it, the status of the publication allows you to determine its availability on Google Play. When you select an application in the Play Console, you will see the latest publication status under the application and package name.
There are three types of publication status:
- Application status: Check the availability of the application on Google Play and the audience, including testers
- Update status: Check for new updates
- Item Status: Check the availability of a specific part of the update (specific version, content rating, experimental app info).
Upload APK to Google Play
Every application intended for publication in the Play Store should have its own certificate with which it will be signed. The entire process of generating such a certificate can be carried out from the level of Android Studio:
- Select Build -> Generate Signed Bundle / APK from the top navigation bar
- Select the APK and click Next
- Choose Create new and add all information
- Key store path — this is where your certificate will be saved
- Alias — application identifier
- Password from the Key section, which you will provide when signing the application
- Confirm — password confirmation
- Validity — the validity of the certificate
- Confirm the data by pressing OK
- The rest of the information should be completed automatically, go further with the Next button
- Choose the release variant of the generated application
- Select the V2 option and click Finish
Test Your App
Now is the time to test your applications against a specific group of users and run some tests. It is important to confirm that an application is fault-free before sharing it. Test it to eliminate any technical problems and irregularities.
- Select the testing method
Internal test — managing a maximum of 100 testers, or Open test — publishing the test version of the application on Google Play.
- Create a version
Open test (versions for open tests are available to testers who can join the tests from the application information level)
Closed test (closed test versions are available to a limited number of testers of your choice who can test the pre-release version of the application and provide feedback on it)
Internal test (internal test versions are available for up to 100 testers of your choice)
Production (production versions are available to all Google Play users in the countries you choose)
- Share the app with testers
Testers will be able to find your test app on Google Play if you’re running an open test. For an internal test, share the URL with testers.
- Gather feedback
Testers can’t post public reviews on Google Play, so it’s a good idea to add a feedback channel or tell them how to provide feedback.
- End the test
Remove users from application tests. In the Play Console, find the test you want to end and click Manage Track. Then select Pause Track so that testers do not receive application updates after the tests are completed.
Publish the Application
Once you’ve set up your store listing, prepared your app for review and set up your app’s prices, you can go ahead and publish the app.
- From your Google Play dashboard, go to the Releases Overview page
- Select the right arrow to open the Release Details page next to the release you want to publish
- In the Release overview section click to view the release dashboard
- Click on the Releases tab and then Edit
- Add or edit any additional information you want and then click Save
- Next, review your release and be sure it looks how you want it to look
- If there are no errors, select the Start Rollout button
- If there are errors, you can review them with the Show more tab and fix them before rolling out
You can use standard or scheduled publishing to publish an update to an existing app:
Standard publishing — updates to existing applications are processed and published as quickly as possible.
Scheduled publishing — Updates to existing applications are processed as usual. Once approved, you have full control over when the changes will be published.
Play Store Optimization
It collects information from users about what they do in the first place in a newly downloaded application. By using this function, developers can focus on optimizing the application so that the most frequently used options of a given application work quickly and efficiently during the first launch. The algorithm successively collects information from users who decide to download a given application, including yours. The collected data is sent to Google, where algorithms set user behavior trends. The company informs that such information will translate into three main benefits:
- Accelerating the installation of applications from Google Play
- Shortening the time of opening the application
- Reduced load on the CPU, battery, and storage of the device
As you can see, a Google Play Store upload isn’t such a complex process. If you’ve managed to design a great application, adding it to the Play Store won’t be a problem for you if you follow these tips. Don’t skip any steps, act accordingly, and all the work will take a little time of your day…or two.