Mobile phones have revolutionized the way we live and do business. A few decades ago, the thought of small pocket-friendly devices doing everything for us would’ve sounded absurd – now it’s all a reality. Mobile phones quickly replaced the most important things in our lives and now we cannot imagine our lives without mobile phones at all.
In terms of business, mobile phones offer great opportunities for businesses around the world. With 6.64 Billion smartphone users in the world, mobile phones are the biggest attraction for businesses. Even the number of desktop users has declined as mobile phones became more and more popular. Now, the number of mobile phone users is higher than the number of desktop users.
Through websites or apps, businesses can provide services to customers easily. Mobile apps continue to increase at a greater speed. This has also resulted in extreme competition in app stores. To compete in the market, you need an app that provides something useful to users and has a user-friendly UI/UX.
Mobile websites are websites that are optimized for mobile platforms. Since many users are already on smartphones, they need to browse websites that they could browse on their desktop. Mobile optimized websites have their benefits when compared with mobile apps.
In this article, we’ll talk about mobile apps vs websites so you can find out the best one for your business.
Let’s get started!
Before we choose App or website, it is important to first look at the functions and differences between the two options. A mobile app is a software created and designed for mobile devices. You need to download and install mobile apps on your mobile device to use them.
Mobile websites on the other hand are websites that are optimized to run on mobile devices. Mobile optimization helps in terms of providing a better experience and less load time. Either website or app, which one is better, you will find the answer to this question as you continue reading.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that mobile devices offer.
• Push notifications
• Fingerprint scan
• Tactile gestures
These features help businesses in various ways. For example, the ability to scan fingerprints will have users to safely log in to their apps. When choosing between an app vs a website, mobile features certainly give extra points to apps.
First, let’s discuss what are mobile apps and websites to get a better understanding.
An app is a software application that we can easily download on a mobile phone. Apps are regularly created every day, especially with the app market gaining a huge market and mobile users. These applications are created for mobile phones to work on different operating systems, most commonly, iOS and Android. Almost every business that is available on the internet has an app built for customers to improve their interaction with the brand and get first-hand experience with different products or services.
Recently, PWAs or progressive web applications have pretty much replaced traditional apps. PWAs bring many benefits to the table without the challenges faced by traditional apps. The websites that display app-like interfaces on websites are called progressive web apps. Some of the features include a full-screen display, auto-screen adjusted for different screen sizes, and push notifications.
Having dedicated marketing is possibly the best advantage of an app. When a brand launches an app, it automatically gets the ability to directly communicate to customers in the form of push notifications. An app stays on customers’ mobile devices, it allows companies to send targeted messages to increase engagement and increase customer spending through the app.
Companies can study customers’ location, user behaviors, and interests, this can help in better understanding your users and provide tailored recommendations and offers. This further improves the in-app purchases which is the ultimate goal of any business. Since there is tough competition for everything on the app store, users expect personalized online experiences – apps make that possible.
Overall, the bottom line of any business, conversion, is better through apps. Your content and offerings can be accessed by users of applications considerably faster when compared with websites. There are lesser navigations, the flow is smooth and user experience is always prioritized when it comes to apps.
There are many other benefits of developing an app. This includes:
Making a strong connection with your customers is extremely important. However, that requires strong branding efforts and it’s not always successful. This is where having an app brings you the best advantage – a direct connection with customers. If you play your cards right, apps can be used to create that strong connection with your customers and increase brand loyalty.
Traditional marketing such as TV advertisements, billboards, etc. are still viable options but they don’t work as well as a branded app. Especially now when everyone is on the internet and using mobile phones, traditional marketing methods have become less effective.
As mobile phones have become a very important part of our lives, it has increased the usage time as well. Due to this, mobile apps are used as leverage to further communicate the brand’s voice and take actions that have positive effects on the overall brand.
Certain branding elements are incorporated within the app to enhance the marketing results. For example, logos and color combinations (primary and secondary colors) all are included within the app to place the brand right in the minds of customers and improve the overall results.
Apps also help in providing usage statistics and user behaviors that help companies target their product and services in the right direction. The whole marketing strategy can be set just by following the data collected from the apps. Further, brands use celebrity endorsements to increase the reach and acceptability of apps.
Accessibility is a big advantage since everyone uses mobile phones. An app lets you reach your customers in a better way, maybe even a personal way. There are many touchpoints you can focus on for existing users as well as new users.
Building a good relationship is easier since you can always reach out to your customers. Further, many apps have the option to be used in offline mode. This provides additional accessibility to users as well.
Apps have their drawbacks as well. Even though apps are convenient to use, it’s not just one-time investments. You need to constantly invest in your app whether it's time, money, or research. The work that goes into app development is a long process itself; however, post-development work is not short in any way.
Post-development, you need to invest in making your app better, bringing out updates, newer features, marketing, and maintenance. Even though a mobile website also needs the same, the efforts aren’t that much. With apps, there is so much confidence, that you need to ensure a solid experience for users.
You need to think about how your app is different from the other apps available in the same niche, what differentiates you? And why would users prefer your app over other apps in the play store? For this, you need to invest time heavily in coming up with valuable functionalities for users of your app.
The cost of regular upgrades, bug fixes, and compatibility issues arise constantly for apps. Users have to download the apps on their mobile phones based on their operating system (Android or iOS) you need to ensure the app works perfectly for your targeted operating systems. Also, you need to give timely updates to users about new changes being made to the app.
Now, let’s look at mobile websites and how they are different from apps.
A website works as a company’s front. Especially for e-commerce, your website provides the first impression of your business to users and it guides them towards the purchase journey where they become paying customers. Recently, people use mobile phones to access websites even for their shopping needs. Your users want a mobile-first experience and a website that works seamlessly even on their mobile. Here, you need mobile-optimized websites that are responsive and user-friendly.
A responsive website can perform the same functions on all desktop versions, but the same version may not give the exact experience throughout multiple mobile devices. Optimization of a website for mobile devices offers the same impressive experience to customers without compromising the quality. The development of mobile-optimized websites is likely to cost more than desktop-ready websites. However, this will offer significant benefits in the long run.
Here are some benefits offered by mobile-optimized websites:
A mobile-ready website is a ready-to-go solution. You do not need to download it from any operating system to run on the device. Just provide internet connectivity to your mobile device and search the site on the web browsers. A well-designed website can provide the same experience the only prerequisite being, a good connection.
According to Google, if your site is identical and responsive on desktop and mobile versions, then you don’t need to do anything further to rank your website. All you need to do is measure the load time of pages on a mobile device. If all goes well, indexability will make it easier for users to find your website.
A responsive design is a major property of any website no matter if it is only for desktop or mobile-optimized sites. It automatically grabs the attention of the user and scales the size of the site accurately across all screen sizes and provides an immersive viewing experience.
This is something that mobile applications do not have, they are only limited to a few platforms whereas a mobile-optimized website is compatible with any device. A well-oriented website can be easily accessed from any mobile if it does not require permission from the operating system.
Maintenance of mobile-optimized websites is much easier than mobile apps. Unlike mobile apps, any update increases the storage size of mobile apps and it also requires a specific version of the OS, a mobile-ready site does not need any specifications. It will display the same across all screen sizes and mobile phone devices.
Mobile usability is essential when it comes to making mobile-ready websites. You need to ensure that the website is designed in a way that fits every screen size – this proves to be a big problem for website developers. Having great website responsiveness is imperative since it will allow all users to view a website on their respective mobile screens without any hassle.
The bounce rate is sometimes very high for websites viewed on mobile because the readability is not there. Navigating a website easily is important for visitors and if a website is sloppy in any way, users will leave quickly. It’s not an easy job to accomplish but if it’s done right, users will stay longer on the website and they might even become paying customers.
It’s hard to avoid mobile websites these days since more than half of the web traffic is from mobile devices. Therefore, mobile compatibility is essential. Another issue that mobile websites face is of loading time. When we talk about mobile optimization it also means reducing website loading time. If a website takes forever to open because it’s heavy and not properly optimized, users will leave without even waiting for the website to open.
App vs website is a matter of choice and business preference as well. Here we discussed the pros and cons of building an app and a mobile-ready website. Depending on what you need, you can choose one of these two or even both.
If you’re looking for either of these, a great way to start is by selecting the right app development company. We can help you realize your business goals just get in touch and we’ll figure it out.
01, Jun 2022
Arsal is a business grad who loves everything about content marketing. He loves to write about tech, cybersecurity, business, and gaming. You can find him playing Dota2 or binge-watching Netflix. You can follow him on Twitter for the latest updates!