Over 70% of today’s internet traffic and hits are coming from mobile devices, so not targeting mobile users when you have a website – or a product and service – is clearly a mistake. There are two approaches you can take to reach mobile users. You can either make your website mobile-friendly (or responsive) or you can have native mobile apps to support the brand.
Both approaches have different advantages and disadvantages and they both work great in different situations. What if you’re a small business? Which one is right for you?
One of the first things you will consider when choosing between a mobile-friendly website and a mobile app is the cost of making them. Mobile apps are almost certainly more expensive than a mobile website. More importantly, you need to create an app for each mobile operating system to reach the maximum amount of users.
Mobile web is relatively more affordable because the developers only need to follow one standard. The HTML5 and CSS3 combination works with all mobile browsers, regardless of the operating system and device the users have. It is also worth noting that mobile web can look great in different screen sizes without having to spend extra money to create multiple versions.
Where mobile apps excel is experience. That brings us neatly to our next point, which is…
Performance and User Experience
Even with the best standards and programming technologies available today, native mobile apps will still be faster and feel more fluid than mobile websites. There are hardware and other resources available to mobile apps that aren’t available when you choose the mobile web route.
When you need to take advantage of the phone’s GPS module, for instance, you have to go through one or two steps longer with a mobile website. A mobile app, on the other hand, only requires one permission – usually when the app is installed – and will have access to that same GPS module at any time.
When it comes to offering the best user experience, mobile apps win. You can create a very light, good-performing mobile website that comes close to offering that same level of experience, but it will not be the same; at least not today.
The kind of content you’ll be serving to the audience matters, too. If you have a lot of static contents or if you still need that same content to be accessible from everywhere, mobile-friendly websites are certainly better. You can use affordable hosting services such as the packages from Planet Hippo web hosting and you’re good to go.
Mobile apps are much more complicated than that. To serve the same static content, you need to either add the content directly to the app or have a backend system developed for content management. The end result is the same, but the route you’ll be taking to get there with mobile apps is certainly much longer.
Which one of these two methods is best for your small business? Take a look at the three factors we talked about in this article and you’ll be able to decide the best route to take without a problem.