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Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps

Everyone loves the idea of apps. Apple first had mainstream consumers excited about using apps after its release of the iPhone. Ever since then, the world has not looked back and apps have grown to become a part of our daily lives. Consumers are currently spending 86% of their time on smartphones using apps compared to 14% of their time being spent on mobile browsers. Although apps use up the majority of a consumer’s time on smartphones, does this mean your business requires an app?

Mobile website

Whether or not your business requires a mobile app depends on your business’s strategy. Regardless of whether an app is appropriate for your business, a mobile website is necessary for your business (as per our previous article). A mobile site helps to provide an optimised experience for new visitors discovering it for the first time or old visitors browsing your website. It is also critical for driving traffic to your business’s mobile app, if it decides to develop one.

Mobile app

An app provides a mobile centric experience for existing and loyal customers but make sure it has a real purpose, rather than developing an app for the sake of it. It can be most beneficial for businesses publishing specific content, such as a news reading app, or businesses that provide a tool, for example a calorie recording app.

If you decide a mobile app is suitable for your business, it is important to first assess which mobile devices are being used the most to visit your website. If a large majority of your mobile site visitors are entering the site on an Android smartphone, creating an app for the Apple or Windows platform may be pointless if your target audience isn’t using these app stores to download its apps.

Pros and Cons of developing an app

Pros

  • Releasing an app in app stores can assist with improving your business’s reach and building awareness
  • Apps can take advantage of a smartphone’s functionality, such as a built-in camera, whereas a mobile website cannot
  • Apps have an operating speed that cannot be achieved with a mobile site
  • Unlike a website, an app can be used offline, but often features of an app are only available for use when connected to the internet
  • An app can often access more data from a user therefore can provide a more personalised and unique experience through the use of push notifications, product recommendations, suggested content to view or other specific user-driven actions

Cons

  • It can prove costly in terms of resources and may not be the best idea for small to medium sized business
  • Apps can be expensive to maintain
  • Mobile apps cannot be indexed by search engines which means other methods will have to be used to drive traffic to the app
  • Individual apps must be made for each platform, i.e. Apple, Android, Windows etc., which will increase development costs
  • There are fees involved in promoting an app on an app store
  • Apps require approval from an app store before it is listed in the store

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