Mobile apps and mobile websites look similar at a glance. Any organization or business that is planning to establish a mobile presence has to consider in 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 advantages of the app, it is necessary to determine the difference between the mobile apps and mobile websites and helps in analyzing the best option that is 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.
The mobile apps are applications that are not rendered within a browser; instead, it is downloaded and installed in the handheld device. To download and install these apps, the user must go to the 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 without a data connection.
The mobile website is the same as the browser-based websites that are accessed and linked over the internet. The only difference between the standard website and the mobile website is that it is designed in such a way that it can be accessed using the handheld devices with touch screen interface. Like the standard websites, the mobile websites can display the videos, images, and the text contents and also 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 contents to the vast audience, then the mobile website is the better option. But, if the company focuses on developing a game, then they have to choose to build the mobile app.
Some business model requires both the mobile website and the app for the betterment of their business. However, the right and the safest method is to develop a mobile website before creating an app. Because the mobile web presence is considered as 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 the people who frequently use the on demand services like car bookings, rental properties and other services like the mobile recharge.
Many startups are developing the mobile apps and try to receive millions of downloads and improve the customer loyalty. However, the users can even access the contents in slow internet connection without any hindrance while using the mobile website and it plays an important role when it comes to customer engagement
Benefits of the mobile sites
If the business is based on public communication or marketing communication, then it is better to use the mobile website to outreach the business to the customers. Because the mobile websites have many benefit over the mobile app.
Instant availability: The mobile sites are readily available to the users through the browser in any kind of handheld devices like the Android, Blackberry or iPhone. While the mobile apps can be accessed only when it is downloaded and installed from the portal and it forms a barrier 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 case of the mobile website- it is accessible across any types of devices through the browser any do 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 the 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 it 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 are available in the search results and 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 app store of the manufacturer.
Easily share the contents: It is easy for the publishers to share the URL of the mobile website through simple links. They can direct the users to their mobile website from a print or website or blog. Whereas, 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 useful or unique app.
Accessibility: The mobile sites can be accessible across the platforms and is easy to share the pages among the users and the search engine.
Sustainability and support: The investments on the development of 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 when 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 the development of a mobile website and the amount spent in the development process is lesser than the development of the mobile apps because it must be designed in different platforms.
Need for mobile apps
Even though the mobile websites have various advantageous, the mobile apps are popular among the users and seem to be the best option in certain scenarios like,
The mobile browsers are good at accessing certain specific mobile specification like the GPS, SMS and click to call feature. However, the apps are much more effective when it comes to accessing the user’s processing power or camera. The apps are well suited for the interactive games and for the users those who use it on regular basis.
The mobile app is useful in calculating complex calculations related to the investment and banking sector and in generating reports and charts. The users can use the mobile apps to access the contents in offline and perform functions without the net connectivity. The main aim of developing the app is that it must 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 the mobile technology, the question of which is better between the mobile site and app keeps remaining in the industry. The mobile app is applicable when the user wants an interactive platform that works like a computer program, while the mobile sites aim to establish a mobile presence by delivering market driven contents that are easily found in the search results and is shared between the users.
Author Bio : Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Zoplay.com, best PHP scripts development company located in India. Zoplay is a part of Casperon Technologies a leading social and mobile development company which developed a 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.