If you intend to create a mobile presence for your business one of the initial factors to consider is whether you go the mobile app development route, invest in a mobile website, or possibly both. Mobile websites and apps can seem quite similar if you’re not familiar with the concept, and to establish which is best suited to your needs will depend on some elements like cost, target audiences, intended function and essential features.
Consumers today are spending on average 85 percent of their time on their smartphones, using applications and browsing the internet. If you want to reach them, you need to support that. It’s evident that a responsive website is never a bad idea but do you also need a mobile app? Or is a mobile application a better option than a mobile website?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of mobile websites and mobile apps below:
Mobile website pros and cons
A mobile website, in most cases, isn’t a separate website. It is a responsive design that can fit on all screen sizes. Most of the content on your full website is usually accessible for mobile users, just on a smaller scale.
● A mobile/responsive website is affordable and typically included in the cost of your website design
● It works on all devices which means you don’t need a separate site for Android/iOS
● Since you only require a domain and hosting, it is straightforward to set it up
● No push notifications
● Can’t access it if not connected to the internet
● If not properly designed and optimized it can cause performance issues and poor usability
A well designed mobile/responsive website can be a tremendous business asset. Since over 30% of all internet traffic is mobile, it’s apparent you need one. They are affordable to set up, accessible on all devices, and easy to maintain and update.
In some instances, mobile apps are over-optimized to make it look like a mobile app and sometimes mobile sites are just cluttered with popups and ads which makes browsing less enjoyable and users lose interest quickly.
By having a well designed responsive website, you can avoid some of these issues, but it still doesn’t have all the functionality of a mobile app.
Mobile app pros and cons
Mobile applications have functions that mobile websites don’t have, like push notifications and offline access, but they also have disadvantages. Not everybody requires a mobile app. If you are a casual blogger, you probably won’t need an app. However, many businesses can benefit from it.
● Push notifications that enable you to send text messages to your subscribers
● Users can use the app while offline to read articles or browse your product catalogue
● Excellent performance when it comes to speed.
● Mobile apps tend to be less cluttered
● Free advertising, since you appear in the app stores
● A constant reminder of your business because you get a button on the user home screen
● Mobile app development is an extra expense, and while some apps are affordable it’s still an added cost to employ ios and android developers
● Takes additional time and effort to setup and submit to the app stores
By having a mobile app, you can reach your audience faster and keep them engaged.
Push notifications are an enormous benefit since you can use it to notify your audience of new articles published or new products available. An added advantage is that a mobile app makes content available without internet access.
They can cost extra time and money, and not all businesses are prepared for that.
When making the decision on whether or not to build a mobile app or a mobile website, it primarily depends on your goal. If you wish to offer mobile-friendly content to a broad audience, a mobile/responsive website is the option to go for. If you want to sell products or develop an interactive game, a mobile app is the way to go. You might even decide that you need both and that’s great as long as you use specialist ios and Android developers to build the best app possible.
It’s safe to say that it doesn’t make sense to develop an app without having a responsive website already in place. A mobile website should be seen as your starting point in creating a mobile online presence, while an app is perfect for a particular purpose that cannot be efficiently accomplished via a web browser.
The web is for reaching an audience while mobile apps are for driving engagement from loyal customers. If done right, both are valuable marketing tools. When it comes to mobile presence, it’s not a question of web vs mobile apps. It’s choosing the right approach that will produce better results for your customers.