You have finally embraced the idea of a mobile presence for your business and now it is time to decide between a mobile app or a mobile site. Bear in mind that there is really nothing stopping you from having both. While they do look similar there are some pretty big differences between the two that will ultimately affect the option that you choose. Let’s look at the differences and you can decide which that your business needs.
What’s the Difference?
A mobile website is just that, you access it from your phone’s browser and it is a bunch of HTML pages all linked together. Typically there are some code differences so it looks better and it is easy to use for mobile users. It displays text, video, graphics and maybe a couple of mobile only features like click to call. An app is different in that you download it and install in on your phone, you go to the App Store to get it and install it. Apps can pull information from your phone and the web similar to a website.
Which is Better?
There is no easy answer to that it really depends on your business goals. Here’s a real world example, if you own a taxi company then you may be better suited building an app, repeat business is your bread and butter. An app makes it easy for customers to remember you and call a cab when they need one at the push of a button, take out restaurants are another good example of a business that benefits from an app. However if you own a plumbing business then an app is not only unnecessary it is expensive to develop and you are better off having a mobile site.
There are other advantages to going with a website versus an app, starting with you don’t have to wait for approval nor will it cost you money to develop. Mobile apps don’t come cheap however that doesn’t mean they aren’t good for business. With a website you also don’t have to worry about compatibility, no worrying about whether your user has an android or iPhone. Mobile websites are easier to optimize for SEO and they won’t be deleted in the future. Users delete apps they don’t use regularly all the time.
In the end you will have to make the best choice for your business and that means looking at the customers that you are targeting and how you want them to interact with you. Bear in mind that a well designed mobile site can do many of the things an app can do as well.