I think it’s utterly irrelevant and unnecessary to put evidence in favour of the importance of “Mobile” in today’s tech scene. I mean we are all living in a massive mobile world where all businesses irrespective of their size of the model are looking towards mobile technology in one way or the other.
If you remember the renaissance era of the internet, there were debates around the vitality of online media vs the offline media. However, things have dramatically changed today and now it’s only about one online media against the other. Now, when we look at mobile technology, two simultaneously strong terms that compete for the neck to neck include mobile websites and mobile applications. Now, one question that we do get asked on various platforms by entrepreneurs is about the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile app development for startups. To sum it up, entrepreneurs are looking for answers if they need to invest in startup apps or if the mobile website is enough for them; at least at the beginning.
Well, some advocates strongly put their weights behind the adequacy of mobile websites for startups. Contrary, some other advocates encourage entrepreneurs to invest in startup apps as a means to optimize their business model.
In all honesty, both mobile apps as well as mobile websites are important components of online business strategy. And yes, both of these components have their limitations and advantages. With the number of mobile users soaring to over 5 billion, you certainly can’t miss on any of these components. Perhaps, it’s the needs and purpose of the business that decides which is the best strategy to adopt for startups.
What’s the difference between mobile websites and mobile apps?
Well, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs; especially the ones with little to no background for technology aren’t fully aware of the differences between these two crucial components and mistook them for the same thing. In reality, while the two services bore quite a few differences and it’s important for entrepreneurs to know the differences to be able to achieve business bottom lines.
Here’re some of the basic differences that you need to know between mobile websites and mobile applications:
- Mobile websites are a simple extension of your desktop website. To put it in the simplest form, mobile websites are traditional websites that are optimized to look great and responsive to varying screen sizes of mobile devices. This means that there is no downloading involved in this case. Alternatively, mobile applications are standalone units which have to be downloaded from the play store (Google or iOS).
- User convenience is the other important difference between the two mobile strategies. Mobile applications are saved and installed on smartphones and offer a higher level of interactivity to users as compared to mobile websites, which typically display data within the mobile screen
- One important fact in favour of app development for a startup is the higher chances of regular visits on the startup app as compared to the mobile website. Since the startup app will be stored within the smartphone users find it easy to reopen it whenever required.
- The data storage pattern also varies for mobile apps and mobile websites. For mobile apps, the data is stored on the smartphone, whereas, in case of a mobile website, the data has to be stored on external servers
Pros and Cons of Mobile Websites vs. Mobile App development for startups for Startups
Ok, now let’s see some of the pros and cons of mobile website and mobile app development for startups:
Given that mobile-friendly websites (responsive websites) are optimized to be compatible with different mobile devices, they offer better compatibility to users. In contrast, mobile apps are required to optimize for different mobile devices separately, thus impacting the overall user experience.
- Greater Reach
Mobile websites have far more reach than mobile applications, thanks to its multi-device support feature. In the case of mobile websites, startups won’t have to do much to take it to a greater audience, a clear advantage over mobile apps which require significant efforts to reach the same level of the audience.
- Maintenance and support
Mobile websites are much easy to maintain and update. Since users aren’t required to install the updates frequently, it offers a better user experience in terms of maintenance and support to users as compared to mobile apps.
Mobile websites don’t reach to the user convenience level as compared to mobile applications. Since these websites aren’t stored on the smartphone, they aren’t able to leverage various smartphone features like camera or GPS to offer interactive features and convenience to users.
- User experience
UI/UX for mobile websites are significantly lower than what is offered by mobile apps. That’s simply because even with the most intelligently made design, it’s hard to fit the content and functionality of an entire webpage into a small screen, thus compromises have to be made in UI/UX design.
- Offline accessibility
Inability to access online is one of the biggest drawbacks for mobile websites. Going with a mobile website without an application means loss of potential offline customers for startups.
Mobile apps have quickly claimed the top position in the technology world for some time now. With an interactive interface and fast loading time, mobile apps help startups to become an indispensable part of human life.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of mobile apps over mobile websites is the ability to offer users a certain degree of customization options. This not only helps users relate to the apps but also make them return to the app and share useful information.
- Offline access
Offline accessibility is yet another important advantage of mobile apps. Since these apps are stored on the smartphone, users can easily access the apps even without an active internet connection.
Mobile apps are hard to maintain and require frequent updates to fix bugs. Furthermore, users would have to install the new version every time an update is released, thus making it inconvenient.
The Final Say
When it comes to the utility of mobile websites vs. mobile application development for startups, I think the advantage clearly lies with mobile apps. Startups that invest in app development have higher chances of reaching more audience, retaining loyal customer-base and collecting more useful user-information as compared to mobile websites. To further seal the top choice, the ever-increasing number of smartphone users (already surpassed desktop users), mobile app development holds the future for startups’ success.