App vs Website – Which Should You Choose for Your Business?
Establishing an online presence for your business also means that you need to think about people that use mobile devices for browsing. To attract potential customers through phone screens, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to show your brand through a downloadable application or a website.
There are companies that have both an app and a website available. The two can be quite similar to each other, however, each of them has its own benefits. You need to take a few things into account before choosing, including your target audience, business goals, current budget and the features you want to provide through your app or website.
Further on, we are going to provide you the key facts that will help you determine whether you need to set up an app or a website for your business. Let’s get started by talking about the differences between the two!
Similarities and Differences between Applications and Mobile Websites
Before talking about the main benefits of choosing one over the other, let’s see the differences between apps and websites. Firstly, a mobile website is pretty much like any other website you can access on the Internet with different HTML pages linked together in the same way.
The main difference between a standard website and a mobile website is that the latter is designed for lower screen resolutions and touch-screen devices. Nowadays, web developers can easily provide websites with responsive web design. This means that you get a website that scales down to any required screen size, from desktop monitors to various smartphone screens.
With mobile websites, it’s easy to present your business brand to your online audience by using images, video, text and a well-designed theme like with any other website. Accessing a website through a mobile phone also comes with some extras such as location-based mapping and calling phone numbers just by tapping a website button or link.
On the flip side, applications need to be downloaded and installed before someone can use them, instead of being rendered with browsers like websites. There are various app markets available which are device-specific as people use different operating systems. Finding the desired app through the search and installing is usually a one-click process. Depending on the type of the app you downloaded, it can either stream its data from the Internet or download all the required data beforehand, making you able to run it offline at any time.
Despite the differences, there are some important similarities you might want to know about. Firstly, mobile websites and applications are both developed by programmers in a similar fashion. They use Agile, Lean, Object Oriented programming and a wide range of programming languages that can be used to create apps and websites as well.
By taking a look at a website and a mobile app, you can see that both of them has a similar structure. These include a proper graaaign, an interface that is easy to use, and some useful features such as forms, integrated map and the ability to get in contact as quickly as possible. Apps and websites can be built in a few days, but if they want it to be top-notch and more detailed, it might take months.
So, Should You Choose an App or a Responsive Website?
The main factors that will help you decide whether you need an application or a mobile website for your company are your business goals. If you want to make it more interactive – by creating a fun game for example that popularizes your brand – then creating an application is absolutely the best choice.
On the other hand, if you want your products or services to be accessible for a wide range of people, then you should set up a mobile website. It makes you able to provide mobile-friendly content that can be easily viewed by your potential customers. They only need to open a link or type in a URL and then they get what they want within a few seconds.
If you come to the conclusion that you need both an app and a website, consider the following: What makes more sense, to set up a website first and then the app or to build up an application first? Of course, setting up an easily accessible website first and then thinking about the app is much smarter.
When you established your online presence with the mobile website, you can set up an application for something more specific that works better as an app than being implemented on a web browser.
The Advantages of a Mobile Website
If one of your main business goals is to reach people through social media, communicate with your customers and make your online presence powerful from a marketing standpoint, you should definitely start a responsive mobile website. The reason why this is such a great first step is that websites have plenty of advantages compared to apps if you want to reach these goals. These advantages are the following:
Advantages that Benefit Your Customers
- It’s quickly accessible – Users can check your website by loading it up on their browser within seconds. They can do so by using a huge variety of devices and there is no need to install anything. The delay of installing an app before using it is often a barrier that prevents customers from engaging and actually buying stuff.
- Users can find it much easier – If visitors are searching for it, they can surely find it because your website will be available through search engines and your social media pages. Not just your website, but pretty much all of its pages can be found and linked.
- Device-detection also guarantees that the mobile version of your website pops up immediately on smartphones and tablets. Apps can be found in app stores. Moreover, users can also share your web pages between each other.
- Upgrades are instantly live – If you want to upgrade the website content or even the design, you can do it immediately. Once the changes are ready and you published them, it becomes visible and every visitor can see it in seconds just by refreshing the site.
While mobile websites are flexible and dynamic, applications are more difficult to update. Users need to download the new version and after it’s applied, they can open it in its new form. Moreover, websites need to be updated only once, whereas apps will require you to create a specific version for every different type of device.
Advantages that Benefit Your Business
- Websites last much longer – Websites are always available and your customers will gladly revisit your site if they want something. An application, on the other hand, lasts 30 days on average before people forget that it even exists. It has to be truly useful and well-designed in order to last longer than that. A website only needs Internet access, while an app is stored on the user’s device.
- Mobile websites can be turned into Apps – If you have some storage and memory to spare at your web hosting provider, it might be a great idea to start a web application. It can be directly on your website as a practical solution, providing an app for your client base.
- Easy to set up and costs less – It is certainly a smaller investment to set up a website instead of an application. Mobile websites are not only cheaper but also less time consuming than developing an app. An application needs to be ready to run on all platforms, meaning that you have to create not only one, but plenty of apps to reach everyone.
- Website maintenance is much easier – You can either launch a mobile website or an application, but the story won’t end there. Both of these need proper maintenance and updates that include testing, further development and making sure it’s always compatible. This technical part costs more by a high margin when it comes to applications. You don’t need to be a programmer to take care of a website, thanks to the wide range of tools available online.
- Web technology is simpler – Online website building tools and applications require little to no experience in web design, so you can set up your mobile website in no time. Furthermore, an application that is based on web technology is easier to develop than a downloadable mobile app. The latter requires comprehensive knowledge about the operating system you are creating the app for.
The Advantages of an App
Although setting up a mobile website comes with plenty of benefits, applications are highly popular as well. There are a number of specific scenarios when it’s a great idea to create your own app and share it with your customers.
For example, an application requires more memory than a website. The user constantly interacts with the app and the process needs to rely on the memory of the device in order to run smoothly. When you already have a powerful online presence, an app is an outstanding tool to solidify it even further. The main benefits of developing an application are the following:
- Access to native functions – Applications can have access to certain hardware functions of smartphones. Extras such as click-to-call, flashlight, camera, SMS and GPS can all work while using the application. Mobile websites can do that too, but apps use the processing power of the smartphone, providing a better user experience.
- Gaming Apps – Even if you have a strong web hosting plan that ensures you a fast website with lots of memory, games always work better as applications. There are some highly demanding games available that can only work by using the resources of the smartphone.
- You don’t have to be online – With an application, you can make sure that your users can access the data and essential features offline as well. Once they download it, the information is there to stay until the next update. For example, if you download a game or a calculator, you usually want it to work without Internet connection.
- Applications can be personalized – Applications can easily pull data straight from the user’s phone to track and calculate different things. These calculations can be based on user input as well, such as by tapping the touchscreen or simply entering numbers and functions. There are highly popular applications that can keep track of your heart-rate, location and calorie count for example.
When business owners decide to develop an application for their company, they usually want to provide something that would be difficult to implement on a website. If you have an interesting idea, you should ask the question whether the concept is simple enough to present it on your website instead of building a whole application. This can save you a lot of money because you want the application to be a good investment at the end of the day.
Mobile use is continuously growing on a global scale, which is why businesses keep on developing websites and applications as well to establish their presence for people that use mobile devices. If you own a business and want to focus on marketing and campaigns, then it’s essential to have a mobile website.
It has to be responsive, making you able to provide high-quality content to a wide range of smartphone users. This way, your clients can find your products and services at any time, wherever they are with the help of search engines. On top of that, developing an application is a great tool if you want to ensure an interactive user experience which is either based on a game or similar to a computer program. These rather make use of the user’s own storage and the functions provided by their hardware.
Either way, setting up a website can’t be an all-around solution, especially if your company has some specific goals. Mobile websites are public, fast and great for building up an online presence in general. Downloadable applications, on the other hand, can come in handy for more specific projects. Each has its own benefits, it’s all about choosing the right alternative.