Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps: Do You Need Both?

There is a huge difference between an app and a website, and companies of all size need to consider whether theirs is a "one or the other" or "both" situation. While it is a given that any business has to have some accessibility for mobile devices of the Android or Apple varieties, many are unaware of which choice is the best. To help you make the right call about your company's needs, let's take a moment to compare a mobile website versus mobile apps.

The Differences

A mobile website is one that contains the entire website, and usually means that it has either been entirely redesigned for use on a mobile device or is the end result of responsive design that allows the site to automatically adjust based on the browser. Whether you are using an Apple phone with iOS or an Android, responsive design will know what to do to let you see the entire site.

Mobile apps, on the other hand are just that - applications. It must be downloaded like software and then installed before it can be used. It allows a user to access your business and find certain information or solutions, but a website it is not.

The Benefits

If you are wondering if your organization needs both, let's look at the benefits. The mobile website gives a visitor the full deal. It can feature the same content and functions as the website as accessed through a computer. However, the wise choice is to have it made with responsive design to allow it to appear and function on all devices.

The mobile apps may have a huge array of the same features as the mobile website, but there is one major advantage and that is that the app lives on the user's device. This means it can provide geo-targeted notifications, collect information about the user's behaviors and preferences, and mobile apps can be designed to make it amazingly easy to enjoy things like mobile payment or loyalty programs.

The End Call

So, should you stick with a mobile website or are mobile apps the way of the future? Again, it could be an either or answer, but in reality there is just one smart course of action for anyone with a business or organization in need of an audience. That answer is to be sure your website is mobile ready with responsive design, but to be sure that you have a mobile app in the works or ready in the near future.

In 2016, people are going to look at websites on their mobile devices more than they do on desktop or laptop computers. The shift away from typical computer behavior (even though Google remains king of search engines no matter what you use) shows that most mobile users access almost 27 apps each month.

However, it had better be a good one because statistics also reveal that 20% of consumers drop mobile apps that do not function well, and even if they give them a second try, less than 16% go back for a third shot. So troubleshoot any mobile apps long before they are released for loading by your audience or the consumer market.

Mobility is a must, and around 85% of the consumer market has indicated a preference for apps over mobile websites. Still a lot of people like to use browsers and search engines, and so accessing a mobile ready website is still a common action too.

It is interesting to consider where these technologies are going, but one certainty is that they are here to stay and your organization must be prepared to respond to whatever direction consumers go.

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