Weekly Indie Log #32

Weekly Indie Log #32

Topics: HabitKit 1.7 Launch, First Feedback & Landing Page Work

Check out my apps: HabitKit, Liftbear and WinDiary

This week has been a busy one. After 4 months of ongoing development (with some longer breaks in between), I was finally able to release the next big HabitKit update to the App Store and Google Play. Really happy that I pushed this one out to the world and that I can focus on other things now. This update has been a real "roadblock" for me, because I always thought "No, you can't do X or Y because you need to release this update first" when a new idea popped up in my head.

Now I can finally tackle all the quick-wins and new features that I planned for the app!

HabitKit 1.7.0 Launch

So, HabitKit 1.7.0 is out and includes the revamped home screen widgets. They support interactivity on both platforms and you can check off your habits right from your home screen now. On Android they even should adapt to the configured width of the widget.

On Monday I started the phased release for the update and it already hit a good portion of my users. I'm pretty confident that everything works well on iOS because that's where I did the most testing. On Android I'm still a little bit conservative and the update only hit 50% of my user base right now. I'm planning to release it to the rest over the course of the next week.

Phased releases are definitely a great way to mitigate risks and allow you to quickly react to bug reports before the bug will be released on over 100,000 devices. Quickly after the update became available to 1% of my iOS users, I got a nice message from one of my users stating that the app doesn't start anymore after updating to 1.7. Of course, that's pretty horrible and I had to instantly hotfix this.

Turns out that I forgot to add a safety check around my widget interactivity for devices running below iOS 17 (which actually introduced widget interactivity). So everyone below this version wouldn't be able to open the app anymore. I quickly stopped the rollout, fixed the code and handed the new version of for review at Apple.

For situations like these, Apple offers a cool way to speed up the review process: Expedited reviews. You can request it on their site and your update is usually reviewed within one or two hours. This really saved me and I could rollout the update after a couple of hours. Quickly after that, the user from the initial bug report confirmed that I fixed it!

Funny side story: I had to request the expedited review three times. After they approved the first update, I had to revoke the release because forgot a line of code. The second time they actually rejected the update because one of my texts asking for permission wasn't detailed enough. Feels crazy, that they reject such a critical bugfix in an expedited review, because of a text that has been in the app for ages. Felt super random, but I changed the text and after the third review the update finally got approved.

I already got first user feedback. A couple of users are pretty excited about the interactive and automatically updating widget. This is definitely one of the best feelings as an indie developer: When you release something and people are happy and excited about it. This makes all the hard work that you've put in your app feel worth it. Thanks to everyone leaving feedback and kind words!

Landing Page Work

I thought it was a good idea to let HabitKit 1.7 slowly unfold on all the users' devices and focus on something different: I tried to improve the landing page of the app. Over the past 1.5 years I gathered a lot of feedback on it and tried to improve the page a little bit.

Another thing I want to try out: I claimed the Google Search Console for the habitkit.app domain to see how many people find the page through Google search. Turns out: Not so many (<1k clicks per month). I definitely want to try to up that number and improve on SEO. I have no clue about it but I'm happy to learn a thing or two and improve the site continiously.

First problem that I identified: The site doesn't have a lot of content. So my first task was to add a section which highlights the features of the app. I even added some cool images for the most recent updates (widgets + "multiple completions per day" feature). I also made some changes to the hero section of the app to better explain the purpose of the app.

And I added a completely new page to the app: A changelog which highlights all the big and recent content updates that I developed and released for the app.

I will definitely continue to improve the site over the course of the next weeks. I have some cool ideas like adding the amount and average of ratings/reviews that I've collected on the App Store and Google Play for the app. I'm sure that's a great way to increase trust and credibility. For SEO-reasons I will probably play around with some form of blog, talking about habit tracking in general.

That's it for this week, see you in the next one 👋

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