If you haven’t established your mobile presence for your business yet, it’s not too late. You might be considering which is best for your business – a mobile website or a mobile app. There are some fundamental differences between the two and when trying to decide which one to go with, you should do your homework on which will best suit your business needs.
An “app” is a software application written in the native language of specific platforms, such as Android or Apple, and is downloaded onto a device, such as you’re phone or tablet. A mobile app can only be accessed on the device that it’s been downloaded on. Unlike a mobile website, the mobile app can be accessed at any time and doesn’t need an Internet connection to operate.
A mobile website is a website that is set up for mobile browsing. This means that the website can be accessed by any mobile device with an Internet connection, no matter the platform. Basically, the website “adjusts” to maximize the space of whatever device it’s been viewed on and you don’t have to “pinch” the screen to view the site. Mobilized websites are less expensive to create and is a natural first step in establishing your mobile presence.
Some pros and cons to both a mobile app and a mobile website can help one make a decision. Mobile apps can be developed to do certain tasks, such as keep track of personal exercise goals or help calculate a tip. An app can access the mobile device’s native features, as well, including the camera, GPS, contacts, phone and more, where a mobile website cannot.
Since mobile is still a relatively new frontier for many businesses, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for businesses pursuing a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be found on search engines, then a mobile website is probably the best first step. However, if your goal is interactive engagement with users, building user loyalty, or to provide an application needing to work more like a computer program than a website, then a mobile app is the way to go.