Businesses in the current age HAVE to go mobile to widen their audience-base because a majority of the global population owns a smartphone. Both mobile apps and websites may appear to be very similar when you take the first glance, but if you look deeper into reality, you will see that they have a sufficient number of differences.
Irrespective of the medium, providing the best user experience is a must for all businesses. The choice of the medium varies according to a few factors that would include target audience, required features, intended purpose, budget, and a lot more.
You need to remember that before you decide to go for a website or a mobile app, you need to have a thorough and in-depth understanding of both the platforms. This article will give you a closer look at the main similarities and differences between mobile apps and websites, to make your decision a well-devised one.
Similarities between apps and websites:
1. Both are designed to allow easy access on a smartphone or tablet.
2. Both facilitate social sharing with friends and followers.
3. Both have design elements that look good even on smaller mobile screens.
Differences between apps and websites:
1. An app can be downloaded and installed but a website cannot.
2. An app may be made to work offline without internet or WiFi connection while a website cannot.
3. An app interacts and integrates device features that include a camera, calendar, contacts, etc. that a website does not.
Advantages of Apps over Websites:
1. App developers specifically design native apps for Android or iOS platforms that are faster and more responsive than websites.
2. Apps come with features that allow users to interact and communicate better with specific components of the app, that a website does not allow.
3. Apps are a better option when compared to websites for highly interactive games.
4. After downloading an app, users are allowed to customize the app as per their needs, but the same cannot be done with websites.
5. Apps have the capability to track user engagement by offering custom recommendations and updates that is also not possible with websites.
6. Businesses can use the information from the apps for sending tailored recommendations to their users in terms of location, interests, usage behavior, and the like.
7. Once a user downloads the app, he//she can use it even without a working internet/ WiFi connection; while for websites to work, the presence of a working internet connection is a must.
8. Apps come with an intricate feature of sending push notifications to users based on specific user preferences after users go to the settings option and enable push notifications, which is never a viable option with websites.
9. Apps offer a more intuitive user experience enabling easy completion of tasks, which is not the case with websites.
10. The apps are given direct access to a few in-built device features that help provide an enhanced user experience. This is not a possibility with websites.
Advantages of Websites over Apps:
1. Websites are readily accessible via smartphones, tablets, and desktops, without any need of download and installation, which is not the case with apps. Apps need to be downloaded by users from the corresponding store before being able to access the content.
2. Responsive websites are compatible across a range of devices while native apps can be developed only in a specific version for each type of device.
3. Since websites are easily accessible across various platforms and devices, websites gain the upper hand in terms of a wider reach.
4. Developing websites is more cost-effective and affordable when compared to the development cost of native apps. Also, when mobile apps involve multiple platforms, it adds to the costs.
5. The maintenance costs of websites are far lesser than that of apps. App maintenance requires several tests, upgrades, compatibility issues addressing, and a lot more, which together incur higher investment costs than websites.
6. Websites are indexed on SERPs and they also make their way into directories, while apps lag behind in this region because they have only limited presence in the app stores of the manufacturer.
The number of smartphone users all over the globe are and will be increasing exponentially. Businesses can choose to leverage this opportunity to develop apps to achieve greater outreach.
As a business owner, if you wish to offer mobile-friendly content to the majority of the population, then you must go for websites.
If you want to enable better communication, interaction, and engagement with your customers to drive more loyal customers, then apps are the best choice for you.
Also, your choice between websites and apps will depend on your budget. If you have a strained budget but you also have the requirement of creating an online presence for your business, you should go for a website, which will be more cost-effective and affordable, as compared to a mobile app.