Responsive design has come a long way in the last few years. It's easier than ever to create a mobile-friendly website that looks great on any phone or tablet.
However, a website still doesn't replace an app, and an app doesn't replace a website. They both offer unique advantages to companies, and they can work together.
It can be more useful to consider how a website and an app can work together, not whether you should choose one over the other. You don't have to choose between a website and a mobile app.
Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of a mobile website vs. an app, and what each can offer your business.
Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps
A website is often how businesses who are considering a mobile app get started. Here's a quick overview of how a website compares to an app.
- A website is often less expensive than an app
- A website works on all devices
- A website is easier to link and share than an app
A mobile website can be easier for people to find when searching online. From a business perspective, a website is less difficult to create and update, as well. You don't need separate versions of your website for iOS and Android, either.
App stores are constantly improving search functionality to make new apps easier to discover, but the app stores aren't as accessible as the web. Websites still give smaller companies a better chance to be seen than a mobile app.
Creating a website is often cheaper and takes less time than creating an app. However, an app can give your business unique advantages you simply can't get from a mobile-friendly website.
Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites
Creating a mobile app for your business can improve your marketing reach, and provide a unique channel for attracting new customers or engaging with existing customers.
- An app can attract new customers through the app stores
- An app can take advantage of phone and tablet hardware
- An app can provide a unique experience to your customers
A mobile website is a great way to start a relationship with a customer, and an app can deepen existing relationships. Mobile apps give you unique options to engage with existing customers, as well as providing a personalized experience.
Customized user experiences start with hardware features native to phones and tablets. While it's true that HTML5 has come a long way, making it much easier to deliver unique experiences, websites can't track user behavior as well as an app can, or customize the user experience by taking advantage of features like geolocation and push notifications.
For example, a mobile website can't deliver customized local recommendations via geolocation, or inform a user of special events and deals with push notifications. You can also reach your customers any time you have something to share with push notifications, rather than waiting for them to check their email, or come back to your site.
How Your Website and an App Can Work Together
As mobile apps become easier to create and maintain, many businesses are combining a mobile-friendly website with a mobile app. This combination can give you the best chance to expand your reach to new customers, as well as delivering a unique experience and customized content, deals, and information to your most loyal customers.
A common use case is to add language to your website, prompting visitors to download your mobile app. This gives you an excellent channel for reaching out to people, contacting them immediately via push notifications, as well as taking advantage of the capabilities of a mobile app.
You don't have to choose between an app and a website. Your website and an app can (and should!) work together.