“Should I create a mobile app or a website?” – Most business owners ask.
Ideally, it would be best to create both. 48% of traffic is usually mobile, and 49% is desktop. You wouldn’t want to miss out on either.
Also, if you look at the stats from the product analytics platform Amplitude:
App usage grew by 36% in 2020-21, while website usage saw a growth of 57%.
In 2021, 54% of users were on apps, while 46% were on websites.
These stats may favor mobile apps, but looking carefully, you would realize websites are not lagging by a significant margin. Hence, business leaders must prioritize both the app and the website.
However, not all businesses can develop both solutions simultaneously, and if you’re one such organization that has to decide between an app and a website.
Purpose of building a mobile app or website
The primary goal behind building a mobile app is to better interact with your customers. Since mobile apps are directly accessible from smartphones, users check them more often, leading to better interaction, more streamlined communication, and increased loyalty.
The purpose of building a website is to offer friendly content to a large audience. Since anyone can open a website on any platform, many people can access it.
So, you can decide whether to build a mobile app or website based on your business.
Comparing the Advantages & Disadvantages of a mobile app
While the use of mobile apps is growing, they have pros and cons that you must keep in mind before you decide to build an app:
Advantages of a mobile app
As users interact more closely with apps than websites, UI/UX designers have more possibilities to offer an immersive user experience.
Mobile apps let you directly connect to your target audience without involving any third party, like a web browser or search engine, that reinforces their guidelines.
Users who see your mobile app more often on their home screen can reinforce you as the answer to their daily needs. Hence, they’re more likely to use them.
Mobile apps are more compatible with mobile devices and platforms than websites. Hence, you can use the device and platform-specific mobile application features like ARKit, Siri, calls, messages, camera, audio, and push notifications to offer a unique experience.
The offline mode in mobile apps lets users access some mobile app features even without the internet.
Accessing a mobile app is much quicker and easier than a website, even if users have bookmarked it on their mobile phones. It leads to greater visibility and access as compared to websites.
Mobile apps let you gather many actionable insights regarding use, activity, and buying habits. You can use them to improve your mobile apps.
Disadvantages of a mobile app
The development cost of mobile apps is higher as they’re platform-specific. Although, there are cross-platform development tools like Flutter and React Native that brings down app development costs.
Mobile app maintenance is more complicated than website maintenance. Especially upgrading apps is complex as all the updates need approval from Apple and Google. Hence, mobile app updates don’t release as quickly as website upgrades.
Mobile apps require regular updates that cater to the revisions from the platforms like Apple and Google. Addressing these updates can cost you a fortune.
Users need to download and install the app first on their devices. However, some of them are hesitant to do so. Hence, much promotion and marketing are required to encourage the wide-scale adoption of mobile apps.
Comparing the Advantages & Disadvantages of a Website
Let’s look at the pros and cons of a website in detail:
Advantages of a website
Websites are responsive and can adapt to any device. This way, a website can save you a lot of costs as you only need a single code base and a single website design.
Websites are more compatible as your target audience can use them irrespective of their device or operating system.
Updating websites is more accessible as the updates are rolled out on a website as soon as they’re rolled out to the server.
You can easily share a website URL between users. All you need is a simple link within an email, text message, or social media post. Web admins can also direct users to a website from a blog. You can’t similarly share a mobile app.
Websites are easier to discover as they’re optimized for Google searches. Also, search engines like Google have complete visibility over websites. That’s why websites attract more traffic than mobile apps.
Developing websites takes much less time than mobile apps.
Compared to mobile apps with a short shelf life (less than a few seconds if a user is unsatisfied), users can always return to websites when they want.
Developing a mobile website as database-driven web applications that behave like native apps is possible.
Disadvantages of a website
Users can’t access a website without the internet. They can view previously cached pages but need the internet to interact with any elements.
Websites can’t use device capabilities the way mobile apps can. For example, on the iOS website, you can’t access push notifications, Siri, FaceID, Touch ID, or ARKit as you can with mobile apps. Similarly, on Android, you can access calls or SMS.
Users expect the interface and the usability to be consistent with the platform they’re on. However, most websites can’t even come closer to that. Hence, websites often lack the user experience mobile apps offer.
Changes and upgrades to web browsers often introduce new vulnerabilities in websites. Hence, websites require regular maintenance and periodic updates.
There can be no single “better” between a mobile app and a website. Both serve a unique purpose. You must consider your end business goals to decide which option suits your long-term business goals better.
Here’s when a mobile app makes sense:
You want to target users in a personalized fashion regularly. For example, banking apps target users who are often involved in online transactions.
If you want to leverage mobile-specific functions like click-to-call, push notifications, GPS, camera, etc.
You want users to work both online and offline on your app.
On the other hand, if you want to deliver content and establish a broad presence on the web that you can easily maintain, share, or discover on search engines, a website is a logical option.
If you still find it hard to decide, you can approach a software development company, and they’ll guide you on the right path.