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Mobile Website versus Mobile App – Which one is the best for my business?

How many debates have you come across about the demise of mobile websites at the hands of mobile apps? It is talk of the town but it still has not yielded any fruitful results.

So why is it a stalemate?

The time spent on mobile websites is far less than the time spent on apps. At the same time, some sources say that almost 85% of the total time spent by users on apps is limited to only the top 30 apps. Visiting a mobile app is easier compared to mobile site as the latter takes more time to load but once it loads, the accessibility is easier with it.

Following the rise of the internet, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing most of the online advertising take place in the PC browsing software. However, by 2016, the majority of internet users surf on a different platform.

Recent research suggests that we spend a whopping 90% of our time utilising mobile apps and the other 10% browsing the internet. Why? Consumers prefer apps to mobile websites simply because other ease of access, better user experience and interface, speed and extra features that come along with using an app. This is especially true amongst shopping cart apps where the average person spends 201.8 minutes per month using a shopping app compared with 10.9 minutes per month using a mobile website.

But aside from the statistics, what is the actual difference and why is it so apparent that mobile apps are just better for today’s society?

Mobile Website versus Mobile App – Which one is the best for my business? -

The actual difference

Even though they are both built for smartphones and nearly identical purposes, there are certain traits that set them apart.

·  Mobile websites

Exactly like ordinary websites, except that these are developed to fit the screen of your smartphone, usually with no need to side-scroll, along with an interface optimised for touch-screens. They may also contain certain mobile-friendly functions like one-press dialling and location tracking.

· Apps

Downloadable software, developed for iOS or Android platforms, usually highly interactive and customisable, depending on the services it provides. Apps can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store and Blackberry’s App World. Accessed through the operating system instead of the browser.

Mobile Website versus Mobile App – Which one is the best for my business? -

Comparison by category

Mobile websites and applications have different types of functions that they can provide to handheld devices, most of which can be compared by being analysed in the following factors.

· Accessibility

While mobile websites can be reached with a simple URL on any browser, mobile apps need to be downloaded and installed first, along with the occasional first-time-use intro that also takes a bit of time. The mobile website instant access takes significantly less time than the downloadable approach. As technology advances though, the time taken to download and setup apps have become much quicker.

· Compatibility

Mobile apps need to be developed for each of the three platforms separately, which costs significantly more, while mobile websites are universally available to any device. They can also be packaged into contemporary mobile services like SMS, QR codes and NFC.

· Updatability

A mobile website can be instantly updated by simply publishing the rectification of any content, making the update available right away, or after refreshing the page (if users are browsing the page at the second of its update), while mobile app upgrades require users to update and code them, taking more time.

· Traceability

Mobile websites can easily be found through the use of any larger search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), by simply searching with desired tags or typing out anything that may connect to the site, while they can also replace the standard version of your portable website once accessed on handheld devices. Mobile apps, on the other hand, need to be searched for either in their respective store or through websites that promote them, such as “Top 10” lists.

Mobile Website versus Mobile App – Which one is the best for my business? -

· Shareability

Mobile websites can be shared across all devices with a simple link, which is especially useful today, as most people spend their online time browsing social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), meaning that mobile websites grant the highest advertisement potential, unlike mobile apps, which simply aren’t this shareable and must be mentioned or suggested before getting looked up in the store of their manufacturer.

· Range

Thanks to the simplicity of its sharing, a mobile website can reach any desired audience on the internet, while mobile apps are restricted to their app stores. However, since mobile websites cannot cover app stores, having no mobile app means you will face difficulties in reaching out to heavy app users of which the number of which is constantly increasing.

· Lifespan

Mobile apps have an average duration span of 30 days, meaning that’s how long an average user keeps a standard app on their device before uninstalling. Unless your mobile app is a masterpiece, extremely useful, interactive or informative, a one-month period is the best you can hope for. A mobile website, though, cannot be deleted unless you decide to remove it yourself.

· Interactivity

Mobile websites offer nearly identical services that ordinary websites do, while apps contain a completely touchscreen accommodated interface. As much as mobile websites can contain web player plugins that allow the user a highly interactive web-experience, the main purpose of mobile apps is their ultimate user interaction. This is where mobile apps reign supreme.

· Irreplaceability

A mobile app can be developed so that it is nearly identical to a mobile website, and a mobile website can contain all the plugins necessary to function similar to any mobile app. As much as both mobile websites and mobile apps may serve a nearly identical purpose, a few different functions are almost entirely restricted to one or the other. For example, if your business involves mobile gaming, having a mobile website is a welcome option, but it’s completely unnecessary, since the entire function of your business can be maintained by the app that represents the game itself. However, if your business is focused on any type of writing (the news, for example), there is nearly no need for a mobile app, as your customers will spend most of their time reading, which includes little to no touch interaction.

· Affordability

Developing a native mobile app when compared to developing a mobile website is, to say the least, uneconomical. Mobile apps also take considerably more time to develop, unlike mobile websites. Also, the cost of sustaining and constantly updating a mobile app is quite expensive, while maintaining and upgrading a mobile website is significantly more affordable. It has been shown though that designing and developing an app is becoming more affordable

Mobile Website versus Mobile App – Which one is the best for my business? -

Mobile App or Mobile Website, you decide?

A mobile app is a great solution for those types of businesses that deal in highly interactive software, such as games and other active-use services, with the offer of certain offline availability and a significant boost to the image of success of any business that comes with it. While a mobile website covers the remainder of the range of services accommodated to the mobile platform, in addition to being a more economical solution that qualifies as sufficient for nearly any type of business.

As technology advances though, it is hard to deny that mobile apps are the future of the online world. However, making the decision to invest money into developing an app for your business should be align with your business objectives. Not all businesses suit the conditions of having an app. In many cases it depends on what you want your business to achieve.

If you decide that you want to invest in either a mobile website or mobile app or maybe both, look no further than Jezweb. Multi award winning experts in website development and innovators in the digital world, Jeremy and the team at Jezweb can get your business sorted for the mobile world. Contact them today to see where they can take your business.