There’s no secret that modern society can’t do without phones. Nowadays, there are 5.13 billion mobile device users globally. Businesses of diverse scales profit from such an immense audience by attracting it with digital products like mobile apps and websites. Yet, the creation of both products is not that affordable, so many entrepreneurs have to make a proper choice between these two options.
Difference between app and website
Let’s begin with the concept and characteristics of each product.
Here’s a brief characteristic of websites:
- Comprises a row of interrelated pages
- Accessible through the browser
- Useful for content displaying
- Requires less interaction from users
- Requires Internet connection
- More compatible
- Relatively more cost-efficient
And here are mobile apps’ peculiarities:
- Built for a specific platform
- More costly
- Requires installing
- Access native device features
- Usable offline
- Extended functionality
Each project case should be considered individually, as business goals determine which solution is more suitable for you.
Benefits of mobile websites for business
Several years ago, a website was considered to be the key for business progress. And this solution keeps enhancing till these days, especially, by businesses which want to deliver an efficient product to clients and expand the company. To illustrate, in 2020, the mobile Internet traffic share was 52%, and this number keeps raising.
There are the two main website development approaches, let’s characterize them:
- Responsive. The UI of such a product adapts to any device’s screen.
- Adaptive. The interface layout is built for a certain display and its resolution.
Those approaches define that the websites can be mobile-friendly and useful despite the devices they are accessed. It’s time to discuss the pros of the website:
The audience is able to enter and use the mobile website with any gadget, as the only thing necessary for those actions is the browser. In comparison, apps have to be installed prior to usage.
The website’s new version is available as soon as it is uploaded to the browser. With applications, this process involves the verification from the market of the OS the product is built for (App Store/ Google Play).
Search Engine Optimization
The website may serve as a lead-generating machine in case it’s well optimized. SEO refers to a set of measures raising the website’s visibility from the clients and achieving a higher ranking in the browser. For apps, their rating depends on the users’ reviews and feedback.
As it was stated above, the websites can be run on any device despite its platform, and thus, provide broader coverage of the audience. They are the one universal solution accessible for every user with Internet connection. This fact makes website development cost relatively lower.
Disadvantages of mobile websites
No offline access
Website usage is almost impossible without an Internet connection. Else, users can only open the previously-cached page content with no interactions available, as they are completed by sending queries to the server, which also requires online access.
Each OS has a row of restrictions and bounds for the websites’ functionality; let’s list them:
Considerable limitations for iOS:
- Push-notifications inaccessibility
- Unavailable Siri integration
- ARKit, Touch ID, Face ID, Bluetooth data are inaccessible
Considerable limitations for Android:
- Restricted calendar
- Limited SMS and calls features
Due to such a functionality restriction and the need to adapt to all the screen resolutions, the user satisfaction level is decreased. Applications, on the contrary, are built for the specific OS, taking into account its architecture peculiarities, so the product operates more smoothly.
Benefits of mobile apps for business
Let’s start the definition of mobile apps’ advantages with quick statistics: it’s a well-known fact that every person uses a smartphone a lot daily. In particular, the average American spent 10% more time in the second quarter of 2020 than in the first one (3 hours).
This fact impacts the increase of mobile apps development by businesses, as they are highly convenient in terms of usage. Here are some more benefits:
Mobile applications can access native apps’ features and offer a broader functionality in contrast to websites. Besides, they operate smoother and perform flawlessly, attracting a new audience to a company.
The previous advantage results in a higher user satisfaction level, as all the apps’ UI elements are built for a specific OS’s peculiarities and characteristics, user interaction details, gestures, etc. This significantly enhances the overall impression of app usage.
If your product requires offline features, you should go for app creation, as it allows offline usage, which is impossible with websites.
Customers with downloaded applications can receive personalized offers, discounts, delivery updates, and other helpful information that may engage them in ordering your products/services.
Disadvantages of mobile applications
Creating an app for both platforms (iOS and Android) requires two separate teams, significantly increasing development investments. Yet, you may decrease them with Flutter, a framework allowing developers to build a cross-platform application from the initial code.
Updates & support
The upgrading process is much more complex with applications as if you have the two apps for each OS, they’ll have to be maintained individually.
When releasing an app, your product will be verified by the OS market of the selected platform. This process is time-consuming, as App Store and Google Play have their own guidelines your product has to comply with.
Mobile apps vs. websites
Let’s make a conclusion from the information stated above and briefly characterize each digital product once again.
- Mobile applications provide excellent performance, have a broader functionality, operate offline, and cover the limited audience (according to the chosen platform). Their development and support cost is higher.
- As for the websites, their functional opportunities are narrower, as there are not many customized features and certain OS-specific limitations. Yet, they are accessible for everyone with online access (requiring the Internet connection for usage) and have a lower building and maintenance cost.
Each business case requires separate consideration to choose the best option. However, regardless of the selected product, it should be built by an experienced software development team, which will ensure top-notch quality and make your solution is profitable for your company as well as brand expansion.
Guest article written by: Yuliya Melnik is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It is a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. She is passionate about innovative technologies that make the world a better place and loves creating content that evokes vivid emotions.