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Step-by-Step Guide to Building a SaaS Platform Like Canva!

71 Views | 8 min | Published On: June 12, 2024 Last Updated: July 9, 2024

“Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula” – Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva

Of course, you have often heard that content is king, but with graphic design, it becomes the emperor. Unquestionably, you have heard of Canva, the most popular, easy-to-use graphic designing tool.

Launched in 2013, Canva has paved its way from top businesses or brands to even high school projects. In 2023, Canva reached an impressive milestone, generating   in annual revenue and attracting over 16 million paid subscribers.

But what makes it so popular? – It’s a simple, user-friendly, easy-to-use design tool, and most importantly, anyone can use it. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create professional-looking designs.

Now, you might wonder – can you build a SaaS platform like Canva? – Yes, of course! And that’s what we are here for. In today’s guide, we’ll navigate through every aspect of the Canva-like app development process, including features & functionalities, involved costs, and much more. 

Ready to start your graphic designing app development journey? Let’s begin!

10 Must-Have Feature to Include in Canva-like SaaS App Development

Here, we’ve listed the top features to incorporate into your app like Canva. Choose features that will align best with your project’s objective and requirements. Let’s get started:

top features to incorporate into your SaaS platform like Canva

1. Video Editing Capabilities

Research shows that articles with images get 94% more views, and videos on landing pages boost conversion rates by 80%. 

With the video editing capabilities feature, users may now make and edit videos directly within the site. This feature offers tools for trimming, effects, transitions, and adding a soundtrack, giving users a flexible way to create multimedia content.

2. User-friendly Interface

A user-friendly interface is crucial to enhancing customer experience and satisfaction. It assists users in quickly navigating the platform features and other components. This involves intuitive design, clear instructions, and a seamless user experience catering to beginners and experienced designers.

3. Analytics & Insights

Integrating analytics and insights in a SaaS platform like Canva helps users understand the performance and effectiveness of their designs.

This feature can include metrics like view counts, engagement rates, and demographic information to help users make better decisions and plan their content.

4. Customization Options

With the help of customization choices, businesses can adapt their design to meet their specifications and demands. It offers customization possibilities for its designs with different fonts, colours, layouts, and other elements.

The customization option lets them express their distinct branding and style per their requirements

5. In-built PDF Edition

Users can edit and annotate PDF documents directly within the platform because it has an integrated PDF editor. This functionality helps produce and edit documents, presentations, and other PDF-based content without the need for additional software.

This tool promotes cooperation and boosts productivity by successfully assisting businesses and individual users in managing document workflows.

6. Collaboration Features

Collaboration capabilities enable several people to work on the same project at once, which promotes teamwork. This facilitates effective team collaboration by offering real-time editing, commenting, and version control. 

7. Design Tools

Full-featured design tools are the foundation of a platform such as Canva. These give users all the tools they need to realize their creative ideas, including elements for text editing, picture editing, layout management, and graphic creation.

8. Third-Party Integration

Third-party integrations enhance the platform's usefulness by connecting it to other popular apps and services. With the aid of productivity apps, social networking platforms, and cloud storage services, users may enhance their capabilities and streamline their procedures. 

9. Offline Access

Due to offline access, users may keep working on their projects even when they are not connected to the internet. This feature guarantees continuous production and is particularly useful for those who must design while traveling or in locations with irregular internet connectivity.  

10. Mobile Compatibility

The platform's mobile adaptability guarantees that it may be accessed and used to its full potential on tablets and smartphones. Users can create and edit designs from anywhere with the flexibility and convenience of a dedicated mobile app and responsive design. 

Develop a SaaS Platform like Canva: Step-by-Step Development Process

Before you dive into the development process, let’s learn the overall process involved in creating a platform like Canva:

Process to build a SaaS platform like Canva

Step 1: Project’s Ideation & Planning

The development process begins with the ideation phase of the project when the key components of the platforms are defined. It involves conducting thorough market research, determining the target market, addressing user issues, defining features and functionality, identifying potential competitors, and more.

It will help you define the project's objectives, goals, and scope and establish the foundation for developing a platform like Canva.

To adhere to budgetary constraints, timetables, and platform requirements, companies must develop a detailed plan considering each factor. In general, it aids in the creation of a strategic strategy that ensures your platform's success.

Step 2: UI UX Design

Businesses must focus on the platform's UX UI design to enhance customer satisfaction and user experience. It is crucial to create intuitive, accessible, and interactive user experiences.

Designers must focus on developing visual elements, layouts, and navigation structures that are aesthetically pleasing and simple. This step involves creating style guides, user flows, and interactive elements that align with the brand’s identity.

Step 3: Prototyping and Wireframing

Businesses must invest in prototyping and wireframing to create platform blueprints. Wireframes provide a skeletal framework of the app’s layout, while prototypes offer a more interactive model to simulate user interactions.

These tools help visualize the platform's functionality and refine design elements before development begins.

Step 4: Testing & Quality Assurance

Testing and quality assurance are critical to ensure the platform functions smoothly and meets user expectations. This phase involves rigorous testing of all features, including functionality, performance, security, and compatibility across different devices and browsers. Identifying and fixing bugs early helps maintain a high standard of quality.

Step 5: Deployment & Launch

The final phase is deployment and launch when the platform is publicly available. This involves setting up servers, databases, and other infrastructure and deploying the application.

A successful launch is often accompanied by marketing and promotional activities to attract initial users and gather feedback for future improvements.

5 Factors Influencing the Development Cost of SaaS Platforms like Canva 

Creating a platform like Canva inculcates several factors influencing the overall development cost. Below, we’ve covered those factors, let’s learn:

factors influencing the development cost of Canva

1. App’s Complexity

The complexity of your app significantly impacts development costs. Building a basic platform with limited features and functionality will be less expensive.  It will take more money to develop an application with Canva. level of functionality and engagement, though. 

The time and resources required for advanced features like extensive template libraries, real-time collaboration, and connection with external technologies drive up costs. 

2. UX UI Design

The intricacy and quality of the robust UI/UX design also impact the final cost.

A significant amount of design work, including multiple iterations and user testing, is required to produce a well-designed, user-friendly interface that offers a seamless experience.

3. Tech Stack

To build a SaaS platform like Canva, you must invest in the modern, robust technical stack. This entails utilizing back-end languages like Node.js or Python and front-end technologies like JavaScript, HTML, etc.

Comprehensive app development also requires experience with databases, cloud storage providers, and APIs for collaboration features and image processing.

It is critical to realize that the technological stack has a big impact on the tasks involved in developing apps, including maintenance requirements, scalability, and development time.

4. Location of Development Team

The location of the development team may have a significant effect on costs. 

Hiring developers or mobile app development companies from regions with lower costs of living, such as North America or Western Europe, usually results in lower costs than hiring from Eastern Europe, Asia, or Latin America. 

However, finding a balance between the development team's dependability, cost, and quality is essential. 

Region Hourly Development Rates
USA $90 - $110
UAE $55 - $65
Australia $65-$90
Eastern Europe $50-$55
Western Europe $80-$90
Asia $35-$45

5. GDPR Compliance

For the secure and responsible use of user data, compliance with data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is essential. 

Additional development work and resources might be needed to comply with GDPR, especially in the areas of data encryption, user consent procedures, and data access limits.

5 Monetization Strategy for SaaS Platform-like Canva

Canva reached a massive 170 million users. Among those 67% of people use paid subscriptions instead of free accounts giving them access to an array of premium features and templates. 

Implementing monetization strategies is critical to generating revenue from a SaaS platform like Canva. Following, we’ve listed crucial monetization strategies that you can incorporate into your platform:

top monetization strategies for SaaS platform like Canva

1. Subscription Model

With a subscription model strategy, you can make billions of dollars exactly like Canva. Here, users pay a subscription recurring fee (monthly or annually) to utilize premium features, services, or content. 

You can offer various tiered subscriptions to cater to different user preferences. Each tiered subscription provides a different level of access to templates, tools, or features. 

Canva user base and subscribers data

2. Freemium Model

With the freemium model, you can attract a huge user base and convert them into paid customers. You can offer all users free features or services while they enjoy premium features or content through in-app purchases. 

3. Advertising & Sponsorship

You can also monetize your app through advertising and sponsorship. This strategy works best with a large user base.

Here, brands or businesses collaborate with your application to promote their products or services in exchange for a fee. However, it is important to ensure that they do not disrupt the user experience.

4. Print Service

Canva offers print services where users can print their designs on various materials such as posters, flyers, banners, t-shirts, mugs, and more. You can also implement this option by partnering with printing companies and earning a commission or markup on each order.

However, the pricing structure for these print services may vary depending on factors, including shipping destination and item type. Through print sales and delivery services, you can boost user satisfaction and engagement while making more money.

5. Data Licensing and Insights

Gather and examine user data to produce insightful reports on design inclinations and trends that can be licensed to companies and advertising agencies. As a result, they can comprehend and take advantage of these trends for their goods and services. As you monetize these insights, ensure data privacy and regulatory compliance are maintained.

What is the Cost to Build a SaaS Platform like Canva?

Several factors influence the overall cost of build a SaaS platform like canva. These factors include the project’s complexity, UX UI design, features & functionalities, tech stack, and more. 

Below, we’ve listed the estimated cost range depending on your app’s complexity. Check out:

Complexity Cost Range
Basic Complexity $25,000 - $50,000
Medium Complexity $50,000 - $1,00,000
Advanced Complexity $1,00,000 or above

Note: Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Development Approach

Using the MVP approach to develop a cost-effective SaaS platform like Canva would be best. Here, your app will launch with the bare minimum of functionalities and features that are required.

Once you have tested your app in the market, identified key areas that still require attention, and thoroughly understood your audience, you may approach investors to raise funds for a fully developed app.

Partner With Apptunix to Build a Robust SaaS Platform like Canva

Partnering with Apptunix, a leading mobile app development company will assist you to build a robust SaaS platform like Canva. We are the top industry experts dedicated to delivering high-quality, innovative solutions. Our team of experienced developers, designers, and strategists work closely with clients to understand their unique needs and deliver tailored solutions that drive business success.

Apptunix stands out for its commitment to excellence and cutting-edge technology. Leveraging the latest tools and frameworks, we build scalable and secure platforms designed to grow your business. 

Choosing Apptunix means benefiting from a partner that values transparency, innovation, and client satisfaction. We will guide you through every step of the development process, from ideation and design to deployment and support. 

With us, you can confidently launch a platform that competes with industry players, knowing you have a reliable and skilled team backing your project every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q 1.How much does it cost to build an app like Canva?

The estimated cost to build an app like Canva ranges from $25,000 to $1,00,000 or above depending on the several factors. These factors include project’s complexity, UX UI deign, tech stack, and much more.

Q 2.How long it takes to build an app like Canva?

To develop an app like Canva can take around 2 to 12 months or more depending on your project’s complexity, design, and development phase.

Q 3.Is it worth to build an app like Canva?

Yes, building an app like Canva is highly profitable. Brands or businesses require top-notch graphic designs or templates to create brand identity and attract customers to use their products or services.

Q 4.How can I build a robust design app like Canva?

To achieve success with an app like Canva, partner with a leading mobile app development company like Apptunix. We will guide you through every step of the development process, integrating top-notch features and functionalities to set your business apart from competitors.

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