If you want to establish a presence on the web, you need to make sure your site is mobile friendly.  Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are responsible for a growing percentage of web searches, and their use is only expected to grow.

If your website is not responsive and mobile friendly, you could be missing out on an enormous amount of business.  Even worse, your mobile-unfriendly website could be penalized by the search engines, making your business even harder to find.

Mobile Website or Mobile App?

Whether you are establishing a new web presence for your business or updating your look for the 21st-century user, you need to find the best approach.  Will your business benefit from a mobile website, or would a mobile app serve your customers better?  Do you need both - a mobile-friendly website and an easy to use mobile app?

Mobile websites and mobile apps may be similar at first glance, but there are some key differences.  Finding the best solution for your business means knowing your customers and understanding the underlying technology.

The decision between mobile website, mobile app or both will also depend on factors like your budget, the features you require and the purpose of the site.  It is also important to understand the key differences between a mobile website and a mobile app - differences that are outlined below.

  • Both mobile apps and mobile websites are accessed via handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • Mobile websites use HTML pages which are linked together and accessed over the internet.
  • Mobile websites are specifically designed for handheld devices like tablets and smartphones.
  • Mobile apps are also designed for smartphone use.
  • Mobile websites display data, text, images and video, as well as mobile-specific features like mapping and click-to-call to contact the business directly from the phone.
  • Mobile websites are accessed via browsers on smartphones and tablets, while mobile apps must be downloaded prior to use.
  • A mobile app can pull information directly from the internet, but it can also download content so that it can be accessed when the user is offline.

Which is Better - A Mobile Website or a Mobile App?

Both mobile websites and mobile apps have their advantages, and determining the right one to use means assessing your needs and budget, as well as the needs and nature of your customers.  If your number one goal is allowing customers to access your website via their smartphones and tablets, a mobile website will probably give you what you need.  If you want to develop an interactive game, you should probably choose a mobile app instead.  If you want to give your customers access to your site and let them play games, you may need to develop both a mobile website and an accompanying mobile app.

If you do not yet have a mobile web presence, a mobile website is generally the best place to start.  You can use that mobile-friendly site to gain more exposure, improve SEO for your business and make the site easier to navigate for your customers.  As time goes by and your budget allows, you can start to experiment with mobile apps, extending your reach even further and making the user experience that much better.