For many people who are entering the world of mobile web the first thing to consider is whether they should build a mobile version of a website, accessible through the mobile browser, or the application that people will download to their device. In some cases it’s obvious which one you need, but in most, it’s more difficult to decide; and if you aren’t inclined to develop both (not very cost effective) and if you don’t really, really have a fantastic reason to develop an app, mobile website is probably the solution for you, and here are the reasons why:
1. Greater reach
Usage of an app is restricted to users of compatible handsets; a mobile website is accessible across platforms (iPhones, Androids, Smartphones, tablets), and therefore has a significantly greater reach capability since it isn’t restricted to one type of mobile device.
Mobile websites are easier to build and less expensive than apps, especially since multiple apps have to be developed for different platforms to reach more people. Furthermore, supporting and developing an app (upgrades, compatibility issues etc.) is much more expensive than supporting a website.
3. Findability and immediacy
Users will easily find a mobile website through search results and directories, when they search for a particular product or service on their mobiles; also important, if they visit your regular website, they can automatically be redirected to the mobile version if a device-detection shows that they are on a handheld. The app is visible mainly inside the manufacturer’s app store; it requires that a user actively searches for it, and download and install it to his phone. The long way puts a barrier between initial engagement and conversion, while with mobile websites you can attract more impulse buyers.
4. Promoting your app
There are thousands of apps in dozens of app stores today, and new apps coming in every day in hundreds and thousands; to make your app stand out, especially if you’re a smaller retailer, you have to actively promote your app to let the users know it exists. For mobiles, you only need to promote your product – which you’re already doing.
When it’s time to upgrade the website or to make a change in design or content, on a mobile website you simply publish the edit and you’re done, visitors will now see the new version. With an app, it requires it to be pushed to users who then must download and install it all over again. It’s annoying for most standard users.
6. Links and shareability
You can’t link to and from an app; you can link to where the app can be found, but not to the app directly, and hyperlinks don’t work in it either. With mobile web, users can normally use hyperlinks and any browser will open them.
7. No approval process
With mobile website, you’re in control of everything that is going on, including changes and updates. With an app, you have to wait for approval before release, and for every adjustment you need to make. The process can be very slow sometimes.
8. Mobile website can come pretty close to an app
The native apps provides extra functionality – barcode scanning, detecting user’s location etc. – and that’s one argument for apps over mobile sites; however, some of these things can be recreated with mobile web now: if you allow it, a mobile browser can detect your location, and Androids and iPhones can read barcodes. If you want it, a mobile website can even be developed as database-driven web app, and come very close to the functionality of native apps.
Of course, there are cases when developing an app is a better choice, but even then, creating a mobile website should probably still be the first step for most businesses – unless you’re developing an interactive game, then a mobile website will do you little good. So eventually it all comes down to your end goals, but it’s safe to say that for if your goals are marketing-driven and you aim to establish a broad mobile presence, a mobile website will cover it.
Take Ladbrokes for example. They have created an on Android for mobile poker, but not yet on iPhone. However, you can still play poker on your iPhone by playing directly through the mobile site. The best of both worlds! Click here to see all the games available from Ladbrokes.
Author bio : Being an SEO expert, Jeff knows that following new technologies and trends can have a strong impact on website visits; percentage of mobile users are increasing month after month, and he firmly believes that every webmaster, small businesses or big brands, need to adapt their websites to this audience. Jeff contributes to many websites and blogs, including serijskiubojica.hr.