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Should Your Business Choose A Mobile Website or a Mobile Application?

Various studies have shown that Internet usage through mobile devices will surpass web browsing with either a desktop or laptop within a couple of years. It is apparent already that businesses need to become more mobile-friendly, especially since mobile commerce is booming, but as always, there are choices. In this instance, online businesses need to decide if they should choose to develop either a mobile website which is less expensive that mobile native apps using the mobile operating system. While there is no definitive answer when the inevitable ‘which is better?’ The pondering question is asked, it is true that there is best choice for each individual business and this is what we will explore below.

Defining What is a Mobile Apps vs a Mobile Websites

One thing mobile apps and websites share in common is that they are both accessible via a hand-held device such as a tablet or Smartphone and via a laptop or PC with access to the internet.

Mobile websites are designed to be navigated like their desktop counterparts but since they are smaller, clicking on things is not quite as easy and the user interface has to be really well thought through.  Plus mobile websites are made with browser-based HTML pages and no FLASH content can be used.

Mobile apps on the other hand are downloaded by consumers onto their mobile devices but these apps won’t run on a mobile browser. You can find and download mobile apps from the Android Market, Apple Store or other similar outlets. Once downloaded, the app appears as a logo on the mobile screen and users need to click on the logo in order to activate the application or visit your website.


Pros & Consof a mobile app

The benefits of using a purpose built mobile application include:

  • Fast access which makes it easy to use and extremely convenient.
  • Unlimited access to features on your phone including camera, address book and image store settings.
  • A better user interface which leads to an improved user experience.
  • The apps are approved by the Apple and Android stores so you enjoy user security.
  • No support required for internet browsers

The downsides of using a mobile application are:

  • You will need a smart phone or tablet to download them.
  • You will need to build an alternative application for the tablet as well as the smartphone
  • You have to at times go through lengthy approval processes to buy from Apple and Google etc.
  • More expensive

The benefits of mobile websites include:

  • Relatively fast access speed but not as fast as with apps.
  • It is possible to reach people from an internet search which is not the case with the mobile app.
  • They work across all platforms which is convenient e.g. Smart Phone and Tablet.

The downsides of mobile websites:

  • The user experience is not as good as with a mobile apps.
  • It is not as convenient when it comes to browsing.
  • You don’t get the same access to your device’s capabilities as you do with apps.

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to choosing between a mobile website and apps including budget, target audience and features your business must have. Though a recent survey said that customers preferred apps to mobile websites, this doesn’t tell the full story. In the end, a mobile website is a good choice if you want a mobile presence on search engines and are looking to develop brand identity on the mobile devices of users. If you want to be more interactive with users and are interested in promoting customer loyalty with competitions and giveaways, perhaps a mobile app is a better bet. However, if you have the money, why not have both?