Bits n Bobs | Blog | Marketing Madness | Website Wizardry

Use My Website or Get a Mobile App?

27/08/2013

When going into the world of mobile, businesses have one main question to answer. Am I best going for a mobile website or a mobile app? Each one has his pro’s and con’s but today we are going to be flying the flag for the mobile websites (of course!).

Before we begin, let it be said that apps are cool and with a great developer you can really turn some heads. The biggest drawback (as you’ll see shortly) is that you are restricting your reach.

Here are a handful of points that we have advised on over the last couple of years when asked about the comparison;

1. Accessibility

Mobile sites can be accessed instantly via a browser and across a range of devices (mobiles and tablets). However required to find and then download mobile apps before you can start using them which takes time. This time can impact the user experience and satisfaction, especially if they are looking for the information quickly (whether be knowledge based or a product).

2. Compatibility

A mobile site can reach users across many different types of devices, however an app will need multiple versions developed if you are looking to expand your reach.  For example, an Apple app will not work on a Blackberry or Android – the expanion can be quite expensive. Further to this, the web address of a mobile site can widely be used within other programs that the mobile/tablet device uses (such as text messages, emails, QR codes etc).  This makes it a lot easier to share.

3. Updates and Upgrades

Any website (whether mobile or not) can be updated instantly – by accessing the content management system. If any styling (i.e. the design) needs to be updated then this is also a very simple process. This makes mobile sites much more flexible. In most cases, if you want to change areas such as design and content of an app then you have to push the updates to users and the user will have to trigger the upgrade for the new information – a much more inconvenient process.

4. Easy to Find

The fact that mobile sites are able to appear within search engine results pages (Google, Bing, Yahoo) makes them a lot easier to find. Mobile apps can’t be found within the search engines, they can only be found from within the four walls of their app stores.

5. Sharing

When using Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus – the user can share a website URL with all their friends. They can also pass a referral link using email, text messages or simple word of mouth.  With an app, it’s a little harder to share because you’ll have to find it first before spreading the word. When it comes to word of mouth, it’s more of an explanation of how to find it rather than an address.

6. Market Reach

It’s fairly safe to say that a mobile website can be seen by anyone connected to the internet. If developed correctly (using responsive design) they will display perfectly on all devices (both mobile and tablet). As mentioned above, mobile apps can only be viewed on the platform that have been built for.  Also consider that iPad apps can’t be used on iPhone’s – so this gives you an idea of the restrictions.

7. Time and Cost

Developing websites is a lot more cost effective and quicker.  The technologies are a lot simpler and you have much wider options on where to get built.  Mobile apps are more complicated and there is far less service providers.  So with all this said, it’s much cheaper to have a mobile website built for a business and it actually acts like an app itself – so it’s a win win really.

8. Support and Growth

We’ve found that with mobile apps, you’ll tend to need more support after launch as compared to a mobile website.  The reason for this is because it’s quite common to come across unexpected compatibility and functionality issues.  Also, when you want to update an app you’ll likely need your developers so that they can roll out the necessary upgrade procedures.  The more you need your developers, the more you’ll be likely to invest.

So if you’re looking to increase your business reach by utilizing the ever increasing mobile market, hopefully this article has helped weigh up the pro’s of going for a mobile website rather than an app. We’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have so please either leave your comments, send us an email or give us a call.