Each year, billions of people shop or search for a product or service on their mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. For this reason, it's important that every business, no matter its size, has a mobile presence that consumers can access quickly and easily. It should load in seconds, look good on the device, and be easy to navigate. Most companies have taken the first steps in that direction by hiring a Mobile Web Specialist to create a mobile version of their website, but many of them are wondering if they need a mobile website and an app to keep up with current trends.
The Differences Between a Mobile Website and App
When discussing the differences between a mobile site and an app, it's probably best to start with the similarities. Both allow businesses to conduct eCommerce via mobile devices, and both use mobile Digital Marketing functions. When consumers visit your mobile website or app, they can take advantage of features like clicking on a phone number to call it directly or allowing the device to use their location to better serve them.
The big differences come into play when you access the website or app. Users typically find a mobile website through a search engine, bookmark, or by typing the address directly into the browser, while they download the app from a third-party store, like the Apple App Store or Google Play, and access it via an icon on their device. The app may use data from the Internet, or it may simply download information one time and need regular updates. The mobile website, like any other site you'd access on your computer, always requires Internet access.
Pros of a Mobile Website Only
The biggest pros in favor of having just a mobile website for your business are that it's cheaper and easier to maintain. Most web designers include it as part of the package when they build your regular website, and you don't have to take any extra steps to ensure it works with all of the unique mobile operating systems. You don't have to make sure it's for sale in the app stores, and it's readily available for anyone searching for your company or the products or services you sell. It's easy to update, users probably already know how to share pages from your site, and they can't delete it and forget about it like they can with an app.
Pros of Creating a Mobile App
There are some pros to creating a mobile app that you won't find with a mobile website. For example, you can use it to send push notifications to remind your customers you're there, even when they aren't necessarily thinking about you. Users can also access your information, even when they don't have access to the Internet or any type of phone service. As a general rule, apps tend to be sleeker and easier to navigate than a cluttered website, and when it comes to performance, well-developed apps load quicker than most mobile websites.