Mobile Website vs. Mobile App
“You should release an app!”
Everyone tells you to release an app when you’re first starting a business or looking for a way to promote a project or event. And by “everyone” we mean “mostly people who have never launched a business before.”
Sometimes, an app is just the thing. Sometimes, it’s way more trouble than it’s worth and a mobile website will do the same job better. Let’s run down the pros and cons of each:
- Total freedom in design and use
- Push notifications and addictive features can make a mobile app part of a user’s daily routine
- It just looks and feels really professional, which can be incredibly useful in branding
- It’s expensive. We’re talking about paying your programmers, paying application fees to get into the store, publishing costs, licensing fees for the app-making platform and on and on
- It might not even be accepted to the app marketplaces to which you submit it
- Great user interface can be a pain to try and develop
- Easy to develop. You can go to a free web-building site right now and have the site made in less than an hour
- Easy to release. As soon as you’re done, you hit publish, and people can browse the site
- Offers most of the same features you want from an app, including push notifications
- It’s harder to charge for premium content with a mobile website compared to an app
- Anyone can make a mobile website, so it doesn’t come with the same level of trust that an app provides
- Since nobody ever downloaded your website, people are more likely to check it once or twice and forget all about it
So neither is inherently superior to the other, but you’re going to have to pick one or the other. Here’s our advice:
When You Need A Mobile Website…
If you’re just starting out, do a mobile website, not an app. Just trying to figure out how to develop an app and release it in the first place is going to rob you of a lot of time and mental effort you need to be putting into other areas of your business right now.
Likewise, if your focus is on free content, you might not need an app. If you’re pushing a blog, a webcomic, video content, and relying on advertisers rather than paying users, a mobile website does the job just fine.
When You Need An App…
If you’re developing something that does something, a program that edits photos or books hotel reservations, an app makes a lot more sense than a mobile website.
Even if you don’t absolutely need an app, if you have the budget for it and you know a good coder, you can convert your mobile website into an app just to lend your brand a more professional appearance.
These aren’t hard-set rules. Every business is different. Your best bet is to do what feels right, and what you can cover with your current budget and resources. Good luck!