Mobile apps and mobile websites look similar at a glance. However, any organization or business that is planning to establish a mobile presence has to consider creating a mobile application or mobile website, or both. And determining which suits the business depends on many factors like the budget, required features, target audience, and intended purpose.
Difference between Mobile app and website
Before evaluating the app’s advantages, it is necessary to determine the difference between the mobile apps and mobile websites and help analyze the best option suitable for the organization or business.
Both the mobile websites and the mobile apps are accessible on the handheld devices like tablets, iPhones, Blackberry, and Android.
Mobile apps are not rendered within a browser; instead, they are downloaded and installed on the handheld device. To download and install these apps, the user must go to device-specific portals like Blackberry App World, Android Market, or the Apple App Store. Like the websites, the data and the content are pulled from the internet, or they can even download the content and access it without a data connection.
The mobile website is the same as the browser-based websites accessed and linked over the internet. The only difference between the standard website and the mobile website is that it is designed to be accessed using handheld devices with a touch screen interface. Like traditional websites, mobile websites can display the videos, images, and text contents and access the handheld device-specific features like the mapping and click-to-call features.
Mobile websites or apps – the right option
While deciding to build the best option between the mobile website and the app that is applicable for the business depends solely on the end goal. If the main aim of the business or organization is to offer mobile-friendly content to a vast audience, then the mobile website is the better option. But, if the company focuses on developing a game, they have to choose to build the mobile app.
Some business models require both the mobile website and the app to better their business. However, the right and safest method are to develop a mobile website before creating an app. Because the mobile web presence is considered the first step in making an online presence. And the apps are developed only when the platform cannot be accomplished through the browser. The mobile app is applicable for people who frequently use on-demand services like car bookings, rental properties, and other services like mobile recharge.
Many startups are developing mobile apps and trying to receive millions of downloads and improve customer loyalty. However, the users can even access the contents in slow internet connection without any hindrance while using the mobile website. Therefore, it plays a vital role in customer engagement.
Benefits of the mobile sites
Suppose the business is based on public communication or marketing communication. It is better to use the mobile website to reach out to the customers because mobile websites have many benefits over mobile apps.
Instant availability: The mobile sites are readily available to the users through the browser in handheld devices like Android, Blackberry, or iPhone. While the mobile apps can be accessed only when downloaded and installed from the portal, it forms a barrier to the conversation or action and initial engagement.
Compatibility across the devices: Different types of devices require their respective version of the app, but in the mobile website, it is accessible across any device through the browser and does not need any specific version of the site. And the URLs of the mobile websites are integrated within the mobile tech, such as the QR codes, NFC (near field communication), and SMS.
Instant upgradability: To update the contents with pure flexibility, the mobile sites are more dynamic when compared to mobile apps. And if the user wants to modify the content or design of the site, they can instantly publish the edited ones, and they are readily visible. But, updating the mobile app requires to be pushed to the user, and it is then downloaded according to the version of the device.
Easy find-ability: It is easy for the users to find the mobile websites because the webpage is listed in the industry-specific directories and is available in the search results. The regular visitors of the website are directed to the mobile site when they use the handheld device. But, the mobile app is restricted to the manufacturer’s app store.
Easily share the contents: It is easy for the publishers to share the mobile website URL through simple links. They can direct the users to their mobile website from a print website or blog. At the same time, the mobile apps cannot be shared like in this format.
Website cannot be deleted: The mobile sites do not have a shelf life, and the users can return to the webpage anytime, but the mobile apps have a shelf life. The average shelf life of an app is not more than thirty days unless it is a useful or unique app.
Accessibility: The mobile sites can be accessible across the platforms, and it is easy to share the pages among the users and the search engine.
Sustainability and support: The investments in developing the mobile website and app do not end with the initial investment. The further aspects like the development, support, testing, upgrades, ongoing development, and compatibility issues require more investments and are expensive for the mobile apps compared to the mobile sites.
Mobile site to mobile app: The mobile website can also be developed into a web app, just like the standard website.
Affordability and inexpensive: The time consumed in developing a mobile website and the amount spent in the development process is lesser than the development of the mobile apps because they must be designed on different platforms.
Need for mobile apps
Even though mobile websites have various advantages, the mobile apps are popular among the users and seem to be the best option in specific scenarios like,
The mobile browsers are good at accessing specific mobile specifications like GPS, SMS, and click-to-call features. However, the apps are much more effective when accessing the user’s processing power or camera. The apps are well suited for interactive games and the users who use them regularly.
The mobile app helps calculate complex calculations related to the investment and banking sector and generates reports and charts. In addition, the users can use the mobile apps to access the contents offline and perform functions without net connectivity. The main aim of developing the app is to provide the desirable return for the investment made by the company or organization. And, it is necessary to analyze whether the project can be easily developed into a site rather than spending more money on the app.
Till the existence of mobile technology, the question of which is better between the mobile site and app keeps remaining in the industry. The mobile app applies when the user wants an interactive platform that works like a computer program. In contrast, mobile sites aim to establish a mobile presence by delivering market-driven content easily found in the search results and shared between the users.
Author Bio: Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Zoplay.com, the best PHP scripts development company in India. Zoplay is a part of Casperon Technologies, a leading social and mobile development company that developed Zoplay Scripts. I’m a Tech geek; Digital marketing expert, Entrepreneur, and Atheist who loves to write everything about PHP Scripts and mobile application development.