Mobile Website vs Mobile App
There has been a long debate on whether businesses should invest in a mobile app or a mobile website so in this post we will discuss the pluses and minuses of both.
So lets just think about it for a minute.
93% of local searches are done on mobile phones, according to Google.
That means if you sell a product or service in your local area and you don’t have a mobile-friendly web site, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
What do you do on your mobile phone aside from calls, sms. Most of us have a phone full of apps and probably only use a few on a regular basis and this can tell you what apps work and what don’t.
Basically mobile apps are those programs you have to download to your phone. When developed, to get maximum exposure, you need to develop for at least the two main platforms, apple and android. They are also more for function rather than information.
Some other things are that they are more expensive, slow to update and if building for apple you have to pass their rules etc.
Web apps have some defining attributes that bring them closer to their native counterparts:
- rich/interactive user interface, possibly mimicking the native UI of the device
- using advanced device capabilities – like geolocation, camera integration, or other technologies that the W3C Device APIs and Policy Working Group is developing
- action-oriented rather than information oriented
- not relying heavily on (or hiding when possible) the browser chrome (back button, reload button, address bar)
- working off-line, for example using HTML5 ApplicationCache, localStorage, or indexed database
Mobile websites on the other hand are cost effective and can provide all the information about your business on all platforms.
They can be easily activated when people go to your normal website and can be updated almost immediately. These days they can also be added to a mobile phone so they act somewhat like an app.
- REACH PEOPLE FROM SEARCH: If you want your business to be found through a mobile search query, a mobile website is the way to go. Google has seen 400% increase in the number of mobile searches within a year. For Apps, you’re found on the Android or Apple App Stores, not mobile search
- BENEFIT FROM LOCAL SEARCH: While we’re on the subject of search, if your business has a local client base, local searches on mobile device is fast outpacing desktop. Of the estimated 30 billion annual mobile searches, about 12 billion are local searches. Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the fist time in 2015 (Source: Search Engine Land).
- SIMPLE CROSS PLATFORM SCALABILTY: Mobile websites work across all platforms, while apps are device-specific (i.e. iPhone, Android), requiring a business to develop an app for each platform. Mobile websites are generally easier to manage from a development standpoint.
- LOW DEVELOPMENT COST: Since a mobile website is essentially a different front end for a website, the development is generally less involved than an App.
- LESS RED TAPE: For an app, you need to request permission and go through an approval process with Google and Apple. The approval process with Apple can take up to a month. For a mobile website, there is no approval process.
- NO DOWNLOADING REQUIRED: Mobile website don’t have to be downloaded to use. On the internet, every extra step is a reason why a customer drop offs.
- ANALYTICS FRIENDLY: Tracking clicks and behavior is as simple on a mobile site as it is on an old-fashioned webpage. Almost a third of website traffic now comes from mobile devices, +73% from a year ago, according to the Walker Sands Quarterly Mobile Traffic Report.
Mobile Site VS. Responsive Design
Responsive Web Design (RWD) as it is commonly referred to, implies the formatting of Website design in a way that it most optimal for viewing and navigation across a wide range of devices, including traditional PCs, smartphones and tablet devices.
While it is more expensive due to development time, Google thinks this is the better solution for avoiding any complicated
redirects and simplifying the sharing of web addresses.
Having said this responsive design is still fairly new and is a great progression from desktop to tablets however people want different information when on a mobile so in most cases a simple mobile website that works on all mobile smartphones is the best option.
Here are some samples of our work.