August 14, 2022

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Mobile App vs Mobile Website: Choosing The Best Option for Your Business

Mobile gadgets have become an integral part of our lives, and we hardly imagine our daily routine without them. According to statistics, there are 5.13 billion people using phones worldwide. Businesses use this huge coverage of users to attract a broader audience to their goods and products. For this, entrepreneurs create mobile software solutions such as Mobile App vs Mobile Website. Yet, the development of both those solutions is quite costly, putting many people in business to choose between the two options.

This article comprises a comprehensive comparison of mobile applications vs websites for business, the benefits, and drawbacks of each option to ease the decision-making process for entrepreneurs.

What’s the Difference Between Apps and Websites?

Let’s begin with discovering the concept of each solution:

A mobile website is a row of interrelated web pages that users can enter through the browser. By applying specific methodologies, they can adjust to various displays or have entirely converted UI (user interface) design layout according to the gadget they are accessed with.

Primarily, websites are developed for content displaying and require less interaction from users. Another peculiarity of websites is the necessity of the Internet connection to enter and use them. And another fact we should be aware of when comparing applications and websites is that the latter option is more cost-efficient.

Talking about mobile applications, we may describe them as software built for a particular OS (operating system), such as iOS or Android. To access the mobile application, users have to visit the market (App Store/ Google Play) depending on the platform of their gadget and install it. When it comes to the functionality opportunities, we may indicate that applications provide users with a broader spectrum of opportunities and capabilities and are more interactive in comparison with mobile websites.

Nevertheless, each business case should be considered individually when comparing mobile applications vs websites. Every project has its own requirements for the software. And nowadays, we can observe many large-scale companies providing their customers with excellent web platforms as well as great mobile applications satisfying the users’ needs with their features.

Benefits of Websites for Business

Looking back at about five years ago, we may see that the website was considered to be the only thing to reach success and company flourishing. What’s more, the rapid increase in mobile Internet traffic usage is conditioned by the progress of this solution.

As a result, the number of mobile gadget users continuously grows, whereas laptops and computers are less used currently. To illustrate, in 2020, the global mobile website traffic amounted to 52%, and this indicator keeps raising. Thus, companies’ owners have to ensure mobile-friendly web platforms which serve as a good substitution to native applications.

For this aim, developers commonly apply the two main creation methodologies:

  • Responsive. In a nutshell, this type of web solution adjusts to any device and therefore suits any gadget. They change their design components layout according to the environment. In addition, such an approach allows substantially cutting down development expenses, as there’s only a single web design and codebase needed.
  • Adaptive. In contrast with the first option, this approach refers to a creation of a website with static elements and the UI built for a specific screen. Practically, a website determines which type of gadget enters a page and shows the interface suitable for its display resolution. This approach raises the website design cost, as the UI is created for each device individually, taking into account its screen.

After understanding the C, let’s dive deeper into the studying of websites’ advantages:

Compatibility

When comparing apps and websites, compatibility is the key benefit of web platforms. The website can be run through any browser despite the operating system and the gadget type, making this digital product universal in terms of usage. This results in covering a broader target audience, which is more complex with mobile applications. As it was mentioned earlier, the apps creation cost is higher, and you’ll need separate development teams of programmers for each platform.  

Moreover, websites don’t require downloading, which is much more convenient. The audience enters the browser, accesses the platform in a couple of clicks, and is all ready to start using its features. This process is simplified in comparison with the one required for apps. Users have to search, install and wait for the app to fully download before running it.

Updating

Each solution has to be regularly upgraded to stay sought-after. With websites, this process is easier to accomplish. Users can access the latest website version as soon as loading to the server is completed. When it comes to apps, their updated versions have to be reviewed by the platform (depending on the OS the app is created for), which is more time-consuming. In particular, App Store completes this verification within two days, and Google Play requires two hours for this process.

Search Engine Optimization 

SEO optimization is the opportunity ensured exceptionally for the websites, serving as another great promotion tool. This process refers to filling the websites with specific keywords to raise the website’s ranking in search engines‘ results for particular user requests to increase network traffic of potential customers and subsequent monetization of this traffic. In case the website is properly optimized, it may serve as a potent lead-generating machine. In addition, SEO optimizations help reach your target audience, which is directly interested in your products/services, as your website will be displayed to the users who have typed in a specific query relevant to the content of your website.

Whereas mobile applications can be ranked higher only in case of users leave high rates and great reviews, so the advertising process with this option is much more complex.

Cost-efficiency   

As we’ve stated earlier, covering each platform requires a separate team of mobile app developers. Each OS requires individual product architecture, has specific peculiarities in development methodologies, and interacts with users diversely. As a result, to cover a wider number of users, you’ll have to make considerable financial investments in your software. When it comes to mobile websites, they are universal for all the platforms due to the fact that the only thing required for their usage is a browser.

Drawbacks of Mobile Websites

Mobile websites have a row of substantial disadvantages worth covering in this comparison.

No offline access

On the contrary to the prevalent number of mobile apps, websites can’t fulfill all of their functions without an Internet connection. For example, with offline mode, users can only open previously cached pages content. Yet, further interactions are unavailable in this case, as they require sending queries to the server through the Internet.

Platform limitations

A significant fact to think over when choosing between mobile apps and websites is that some features are working unstable or are completely unavailable for the web platforms. So the functionality of such solutions is not as broad as in applications. Here’s the list of limitations for mobile websites depending on the OS:

Significant limitations on iOS

  • Unavailable push notifications.
  • Unavailable Siri integration.
  • No access to Touch ID, Face ID, ARKit, Bluetooth, and battery data.

Significant limitations on Android

  • Inaccessible calendar 
  • Restricted communication features like calls and SMS 

Yet, such features as GPS, camera, and some other elements of functionality can be accessed for mobile websites on Android through special APIs and libraries.

User experience

Mobile websites’ technical restrictions and functionality limitations hinder delivering a higher satisfaction level to users. Some functions may work unstable, making the operation less smooth and seamless. On the contrary, the architecture of mobile applications takes into account the device’s peculiarities and accesses its native features, ensuring flawless work and a top-class user experience.

Benefits of Mobile Apps for Business

To assess the demand for mobile applications, let’s consider the statistics. Mobile gadgets are extremely handy and are widely used globally. To illustrate, an average American spent 3 hours daily on using the phone for the second quarter of 2020. This indicator has raised by 10% from the first quarter.

Due to this fact, it’s no surprise why companies’ owners use app development as a business expansion tool. A mobile strategy raises the number of engaged audiences who can become regular purchasers of the goods and services supplied by the brand. 

It’s time to talk about the applications’ potency for business:

Extensive opportunities

While comparing websites and apps, it may be indicated that the second option ensures broader capabilities and can have more features implemented performing more efficiently. In case your domain requires the software to contain certain features (for example, accelerometers), you should definitely choose app creation.

Despite the fast progress of IT solutions, conventional mobile applications haven’t lost their popularity and demand. Thus, they remain to be an excellent way to deliver a solution helpful in overcoming various challenges and completing daily tasks for users. 

User experience

Unlike websites, mobile apps are built for a specific OS providing for the characteristics of its features and functions. The mobile app design cost is higher than the website’s, so its interface is more enjoyable in terms of usage. It may refer to certain native UI elements peculiarities or gestures. Such an approach makes the software more qualitative and enhances its navigation. Thus, creating an app for business can help you in satisfying users’ needs and requirements with user-friendly and convenient functionality performing flawlessly on each OS. 

Offline access

The opportunity to use the app with no Internet access is one of the major benefits of this option. In case the concept of your project and business goals require offline access from the product, then you should go for app creation. 

Brand promotion

Another key opportunity of mobile apps is a way to advance your brand. In practice, implemented push notifications can inform users concerning sales, suggest personalized recommendations, provide special discounts and other useful information. 

To illustrate, we can observe such world-famous brands as IKEA and Coca-Cola take promotional advantage of their applications.

Disadvantages of Mobile Apps 

It’s time to discover the disadvantages of this solution.

Cost

Due to the fact that the mobile app has to be created for each platform individually, it significantly raises the development expenses. To embrace the bigger audience, you’ll have to invest in both iOS and Android app creation services, which may bring certain difficulties to some business owners

Nevertheless, modern technologies provide a more cost-efficient solution for cross-platform app development, which is Flutter. It’s an open-source UI software development kit useful for the creation of applications for both iOS and Android from a single codebase. This technology allows businesses to substantially cut down development expenses and cover both platforms at once.

Maintenance and upgrades

Mobile applications require more effort when it comes to maintenance and support. The functionality of such software should be constantly upgraded (new features implementation, bug fixing, etc.) to meet the clients’ and market requirements. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that the app for each platform has to be supported individually. With mobile websites, this process requires less time and financial resources, as you’ll have to update and support a single platform.

Complex release 

The release phase of mobile applications is usually time-consuming and difficult, and its complexity doubles in case you’ve decided to launch an app for both iOS and Android OSs

The main challenge of this process is to receive approval from the market where the app will be placed. For iOS, the software should comply with App Store Review Guidelines. The moderation takes approximately four days. In case the app lacks bugs or other operation issues, it will be accepted.

With Android, the mobile app verification lasts seven days or more, and the list of rules to follow isn’t short as well. The main difference of Android is the fact that you’ll receive the refusal reason to fix and complete the review. With iOS moderation, you’ll have to look for it on your own.

Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites

Now let’s make a final comparison conclusion assembled in the table below:

IndicatorMobile appMobile website
User experienceExcellent performance, access to native features, convenienceLimited by the need to account for all devices
CustomizationBroad functionality opportunitiesSome features are restricted
Offline accessApp data is stored on the gadget memory, operates well with no InternetOnly provides access to the previously cached pages
CompatibilityRequires individual architecture for each platformSingle product universal for all the gadgets
AvailabilityLimited depending on the chosen OS’s audienceAccessible to all users online
CostHigh architecture and support costLower development and maintenance price

Summarize

To understand which option is more beneficial for you, you should make a choice depending on your business niche and goals, target audience, and your requirements for the product. 

Despite what you’ll select, a mobile app or a website, it is worth applying to a trustworthy software development vendor. A team of professionals will provide you with a comprehensive consultation to help you in picking the right option for your particular case and develop a full-fledged product that will attract a broader audience to your brand.

My name is Katherine Orekhova and I am a technical writer at Cleveroad – mobile app development company. I’m keen on technology and innovations. My passion is to tell people about the latest tech trends in the world of IT.