Mobile App vs. Mobile Website: What to Choose?

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Mobile devices are firmly rooted in our lives, and today there are more than 5.13 billion mobile phone users in the world, which is 65% of the planet’s total population. And all mobile phone users want high-quality applications and convenient mobile sites on their devices that will satisfy their needs. However, the development of a mobile website and a mobile app simultaneously is a rather time-consuming and expensive task not available to all companies. As a result, many businesses have to choose between the two.

In this article, we will take a closer look at mobile applications, mobile websites, find out their strengths and weaknesses, and compare them so that you can make the right choice for your local business. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Websites and Mobile Apps. How They Differ?

mobile phone website

So let’s dive deeper into the topic and first take a look at what mobile websites are. A mobile website consists of several pages that are linked and opened using different browsers. These pages can adapt the size and structure of their content depending on the device’s screen size. Most mobile sites leave much to be desired in terms of interactivity. However, they are great for delivering content. However, simplicity is one of the advantages of mobile sites, as they are easier to develop and therefore cheaper.

A mobile app is a full-fledged software developed for a specific mobile platform (iOS, Android, or both). All applications are downloaded directly to devices from various mobile markets. Mobile applications are often highly interactive and multifunctional, allowing mobile applications to deliver content and solve user problems. Nevertheless, the development of a mobile app is a complex process associated with a lot of time and money expenses.

Strengths of Mobile Websites

Let’s talk about the strengths of mobile websites that can leverage your business.

Compatibility

Compatibility is one of the main advantages of mobile sites, as the mobile site is accessible regardless of the platform. The user only needs to have any browser on the device to open your website. In addition, users do not need to carry out any additional manipulations (installation, granting rights, and other operations with which mobile applications are associated). The user needs to go to the browser and find your site.

Updates

The release of updates for the site is many times easier than for mobile applications. All app updates must be certified by Google or Apple before being available to users. Users will also need to download the update before they can see the changes you made. With a mobile website, everything is much easier since you need to install the site update on your server, and it will be seen by all users the next time the site is loaded.

SEO Part

Mobile websites benefit from SEO techniques that allow them to achieve high traffic and conversions through intelligent optimization. You will rank higher in search terms which will attract more customers to you. Mobile applications are deprived of this technique, and the main influx of users comes only from marketplaces related to the platforms.

Cheapness

Mobile websites are much cheaper to maintain than mobile apps. Mobile applications require a separate team of specialists who have experience in developing applications for a specific platform. And the more versions of mobile applications you have, the more teams you need to support them, and all this will bite off a decent part of your budget.

Advantages of mobile websites

Weaknesses of Mobile Websites

Now let’s discuss in a little more detail the weaknesses of mobile websites that can create some difficulties if you choose this solution for your business.

Internet-Dependent

Mobile sites are useless without a constant online connection. As soon as the user loses the Internet, he will not be able to use your services, while mobile applications, for the most part, have an offline mode.

Platform Limitations

Mobile websites are extremely limited in using the features of the mobile device they are running on. For example, on iOS, mobile sites do not have access to Siri and push notifications, which significantly narrows your website’s channels of interaction with the user.

User Experience

Disadvantages

Mobile websites lose to applications in terms of user experience since they cannot provide the smooth design and capabilities embedded in mobile applications, taking into account the capacities and features of the platforms.

Strengths of Mobile Apps

Now is the time to talk about in what aspects mobile applications are revealed in all their glory.

Average time spent

Feature-Rich

It would be foolish to deny that mobile applications, thanks to the support of their platforms, can have many different features and valuable functionality that cannot be compared with the capabilities of mobile websites. For example, if you need to use gyroscopes in an application, you can quickly implement this in a mobile app but not on a website.

User Experience

Mobile app give a richer user experience because they are specially tailored to work on a particular platform and take advantage of its advantages. The user gets smooth navigation, a pleasant interface, a wide range of features, and all these aspects add up to a user experience that is many times better than that of mobile websites.

Offline Mode

Mobile apps can provide users with their functionality, regardless of whether the user has an internet connection or not. Meanwhile, mobile websites are strictly tied to internet connectivity.

Greater Promotion Capabilities

Mobile apps are an excellent brand promotion tool. This method is extremely popular as mobile applications have many ways to stay in touch with the user and be visible to the user while promoting the brand. For example, an app can send notifications about promotions and unique apps, encouraging users to visit your app more often and interact with the brand.

Advantages of mobile apps

Drawbacks of Mobile Apps

As with any software solution, mobile apps also have drawbacks that you should be aware of.

Сostly Development

The development of mobile app is always associated with high costs since it should work ideally on the platform for which it is being created. In addition, to cover the maximum audience, you will have to develop an application for both iOS and Android, which doubles your app development cost.

Challenging Maintenance and Upgrade

Support for mobile applications is also a headache for many businesses, as updates must be released regularly and contain various fixes and new features. Continuous application support will eat up a decent chunk of your budget.

Long Approvals

The mobile app approval process is time-consuming and has some pitfalls. For example, iOS has strict App Store Review Guidelines, and if your application does not comply with at least one guideline, it will be rejected without explanation. On Android, the approval process is slightly easier, and in the case of a reject, you will be shown what edits should be made, but it also takes much time.

Disadvantages of mobile apps

Mobile App vs. Mobile Website

To have a complete picture of the comparison, we decided to add all aspects of the comparison to a convenient table. Thus, we will finalize our comparison, and you will be able to make the right choice for your business.

Criteria Mobile App Mobile Website
User experience Rich experience with smooth performance Decent experience limited to browser capabilities
Customization Unlimited customization Average customization
Offline use Yes No
Compatibility Various versions for different platforms One-fits-all version
Reach Device-limited reach Accessible to everyone with an internet connection
Cost High Low to average

Author Bio:

My name is Katherine Orekhova, and I am a technical writer at Cleveroad – a mobile app development company. I’m keen on technology and innovations. My passion is to tell people about the latest tech trends in the world of IT.

Source@techsaa: Read more at: Technology Week Blog

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