Don’t know whether to build an app or a website? Since apps took off around ten years ago, the app market has swollen and there is now an app for everything imaginable! Before this, we used websites for a lot of what we now use apps for. However, apps haven’t totally replaced websites, as they both have their good points and their bad points.
To begin with, let’s clarify the difference between the two. Although both can be accessed via a mobile device, a website is accessed over the Internet and rendered in a browser. Apps are downloaded onto your mobile device, and each app normally serves one particular purpose/company etc., whereas using a browser gives the user access to any website and does not only have one specific use and function. Responsive websites are also becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to adjust to different screen sizes and layouts.
Here we will cover the main pros and cons for both mobile applications and websites to help you decide what you need!
The Pros of Apps
- Apps are a great platform for games, especially interactive ones. Games are easy to personalise in a mobile application, and people can easily keep track of their game history and stats this way.
- Lack of internet connection – many apps do not require an internet connection for usage, which means that even when there is no connection, users are able to continue using the app. This differs from websites, where users must be connected to the Internet at all times for the website to run.
- A native app can interface with the device’s features and hardware, such as the camera, GPS location, and so on. Apps add personalisation for the user and create convenient ways for users to achieve their goals. For example with online banking, users previously had to open a web browser, go to the website of their bank, enter all their details and then they could proceed to their internet banking. Now, with the invention of mobile banking apps and a progression in technology, users can simply press on an app, have their fingerprint read and bam! You’re in.
- Mobile applications are good for recording and storing data. Many businesses need to keep track of or store their data, and apps hold this information easily, making it ideal.
- Apps can send instant and automatic updates and notifications, for example, push notifications. This means that getting messages across to user is easy, keeping you much more connected with your customers.
- According to Econsultancy, 85% of consumers prefer using mobile apps to websites due to ease, convenience, and better user experience being the main points. So if customer satisfaction plays an important part in your business, an app is naturally a good investment for your company. For example, Amazon has more mobile app revenue than web revenue, showing that regular Amazon shoppers prefer to use the Amazon app rather than have to go into a web browser to purchase items.
The Pros of Websites
- Websites display a wider range of content because any website can be accessed from one browser. This means that a user doesn’t have to go to the effort of downloading an app to access your business/company, which is especially important if you get a lot of traffic by one-off users. When individuals make one-time purchases from shops, they are highly unlikely to download an app to do this.
- Websites are easily accessible, which ties in with our previous point. Unlike apps, users do not have to download and install a website, which makes it much more accessible. Having a website also means that regardless of whether a user is using a mobile phone or a computer, they will be able to access your content.
- Website content is much easier to update than app content, and once an update has been made to a website, this automatically shows for everyone using the website from then on forward. However, app updates involve users having to accept updates on their mobile devices, not to mention developers having to make any changes to their app stores. Also, websites don’t need as much maintenance as an app. Apps crash quite frequently, which can potentially discourage users from using an app again!
- Websites are easy to find and can be viewed on multiple platforms. Some apps are also only native to iOS or Android, meaning they are not accessible to everybody with a smartphone, whereas websites are accessible to everyone!
- According to business.com, people only use around 5 apps for 84% of the time they spend on their phones, and these apps are normally ones which they use frequently and are loyal to. So if yours is not the type of business which will generate this type of audience, a website could be more advantageous as it can be accessed quickly without the need to download it. For example, if a user repeatedly shops online with the same store, they are likely to download the app for that store as it will simplify a process which they regularly undertake. However another person may enjoy shopping all over the place, so this person would be more likely to use the web, as they can have multiple tabs up of a variety of shops, all at the same time. This means that the web has a broader audience reach.
Developing a website AND a mobile application can sometimes be an expensive investment, and if you are on a budget you may only be able to choose one. Sometimes, choosing can be completely dependent on your specific business needs, one person’s problem could well be another’s solution! While both platforms have their pros and cons, mobile applications are more convenient and offer a better user experience to your customers!
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