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Which is Better- A Mobile App or Mobile Website?

Planning to build a mobile presence for your company to reach a greater audience? Confused between choosing a mobile app development and mobile website development? Then, let me tell you something. For people who think there isn’t much difference between these two, actually, there’s a lot of difference. Here, we are talking about two connected and important different aspects of a company’s presence.

Today, in this post, we are not going to tell you which one is better. Instead, we will make you understand the huge difference between these two and the final decision will be yours as to which one you want for your business.

Before going further into this discussion, you should understand that these two elements serve slightly different purposes. Now, let’s get started.

What is the difference between a mobile app and mobile website?

Before you even start counting the advantages of one over the other, first let’s understand the important differences between a mobile app and mobile website. iOS and Android users (Includes smartphone and tablet users) can access both mobile apps and mobile websites.

Mobile websites are very much similar to normal websites which consist of browser-based HTML pages which are connected together and can be check with an internet connection. The basic and major difference between a normal website and a mobile website is that the latter one is developed especially for smartphone users. Increasingly, companies are now turning to responsive web designs as not only is a number of smartphone users greater than traditional desktop users but also they can scale to any sized device right from basic PC to all popular smartphones and tablets.

Just like any normal website, a mobile website too shows everything (Content, pictures, etc.) Users can also get to access certain mobile-specific features like click-to-call or even geographic based mappings.

Mobile apps, on the other side, are applications that are installed on our smartphones. Of course, there are apps which work on only online mode and offline mode such as games, image editing apps, etc. are built in such a way so that users do not have worry about having a good internet connection.

Which is better- A mobile app or mobile website?

Now the biggest question is that which is one is better. Honestly, that actually depends on your company/business goals. So you are the deciding factor here. Let’s say you are building a game then probably a mobile app would serve your purpose in a better way. But if your aim is to provide your users a smartphone-friendly content to a greater and broader audience then a mobile website would be the best option. However, in some scenarios, you may want to have both a mobile website and application but there are fewer people/companies who would want to develop an application without already having a mobile website for their business.

Nevertheless, if you have a specific goal which cannot be achieved through a website then you should consider building a mobile app first. Otherwise, a mobile website should serve your purpose of reaching to a greater audience.

Benefits of a Mobile Website vs Mobile App:

By the year 2019, India’s smartphones users number is predicted to reach 1.1 billion and China’s to 1.5 billion.

Benefits of a Mobile Website vs Mobile App:

If your goal is to increase customer base or even remotely close to public communication, then having a mobile website built first always makes sense in your mobile outreach approach. This is due to the fact that mobile website has more number of advantages/benefits over mobile apps. Let’s see how.

1) Compatibility

When compared to mobile applications, mobile websites are greatly compatible with almost all smart devices. No matter what kind of smartphone your customer is having, a mobile website just works fine on all smartphones.  Whereas a mobile app needs a different version (iOS and Android) to be built for each kind of device.

2) Upgradability

Without much effort and time, mobile websites can be seamlessly updated. They offer great flexibility when it comes to updating content. Whether it is color or design, all you need to do is just to click on the edit button and the changes are instantly updated. On the other hand, updating content in an application needs the updates pushed to the customers as well. And then should be installed so that the content can be updated for every type of device.

3) Reachability

More than mobile apps, mobile websites can deliver your get your message to a wider audience as they are accessible across platforms, search engines, and devices.

4) Shareability

Mobile websites can be shared easily. All users have to do is share the link within an email, SMS, or to even post on social media networking platforms. Businesses, with much ease, can direct their customers to a mobile website from a portal or even blog page. A mobile application cannot be shared in the same way.

5) Time and cost

Cost and time for developing a mobile website consume less as to a mobile app. Mobile websites, for sure, take less time and cost-effective than building an application and especially if you are trying to build a native mobile app.

Now, what about an app?

Despite the obvious advantages a mobile website has, applications are increasingly becoming companies’ choice and just like a mobile website, a mobile app has got its own benefits.

1. Gaming

For games, mobile apps engage and interact with users in the best way possible.

2. Frequent usage

If your targeted audiences use your mobile application on a frequent note then nothing does the job better than an app.

3. Works offline mode

If your app doesn’t need an internet connection to work or interact with your users then without any second thought you can go for it.

4. Native functionality 

Do you need to access your user’s camera, contacts, or anything related to their smartphone then an application will do a better job much more effectively.

At the end of the day, whether it is a mobile website or an app, everybody wants to get an optimal return on their investment. So the choice will be the one that costs less and gives you moderate ROI. Also, even if you are getting a mobile app done at a cheaper price, don’t make the most common mistake of making your app into the clone of your website. Your mobile app should solve a purpose. So choose features and functions that mirror the objective of your business.

Final thoughts

Of course, there is no doubt that the usage of a smartphone is only to increase, the common question “Mobile app vs. website” will remain as a question for companies who are seeking to build a mobile presence for their business. Nevertheless, if your business objective is marketing-driven or to deliver good content and build a wider mobile presence which can effortlessly maintain, and easily found on search engines then the mobile website would be the right solution for you.

On the other side, if your goal is to offer and enhance a better user experience which would be similar to a gaming app then a mobile application would be the logical choice. However, there is no such rule that says you can have either mobile app or mobile website.  So in the end, it’s all about requirements of your business and your users.