Every business strives to reach a wider audience with its digital presence; in trying to do this, both mobile apps and websites come as irreplaceable solutions for most enterprises. Though they have their respective value propositions, both have significant mutual differences as well.

While websites represent a basic solution addressing a larger audience’s needs, mobile apps are more specific solutions to user problems. Though most businesses gradually extend their digital presence to a mobile app starting from an enterprise website, many companies avoid building a website instead of building a mobile app as their critical digital facet. Other enterprises prefer building Progressive Web App (PWA) to incorporate both the attributes of a website and mobile app.

 In recent years, in remote corners of the world, having a mobile app presence and a web presence has become essential to address the increasing mobile audience. When it comes to app development Ireland startups across all niches are increasingly preferring native apps to share their digital footprint. The same can be found across other countries as well.

 Now the question is whether you should choose mobile apps or websites for your digital presence. Well, here we are going to explain the critical considerations for choosing between these two.

Budget consideration

The first and foremost consideration will be the budget for shaping your digital presence, whether through a website or a mobile app. Depending on your budget, you have a few credible choices like the ones mentioned below.

●     Mobile web: Mobile website representing a highly mobile optimised look and feel and offering a web experience tuned to the mobile browsers is the least expensive solution, but you need to compromise on the user experience and mobile-specific user interface.

●     Progressive Web Apps (PWA): These are websites coming with an array of native app experience attributes such as offline access, Home Screen access with a native button, faster loading time, etc. PWAs are cheaper solutions irrespective of bringing together the benefits of both web and mobile apps.

●     Hybrid apps: Hybrid apps allowing app presence across multiple platforms can enable a business to shape their mobile app presence at a relatively lesser cost just because hybrid development allows using the single codebase across multiple OS platforms.

●     Cross-platform apps with native user experience: Now, modern app projects can also utilise modern app development frameworks like Flutter or React Native to build robust cross-platform apps that, in spite of reusing the core codebase, can also allow incorporating platform-specific UI attributes. This is less expensive than the hybrid approach while ensuring several benefits of native apps.

●     Native app development: Finally, there is a native app development approach to help build a mobile app for specific OS platforms by utilising the platform-specific SDK, language and tools. This is great as far as offering native user experience is considered, but it is more expensive as an option.

 Performance, speed and accessibility

A website entirely depends on the internet and cannot deliver the performance and loading speed of a native app that stores several data layers locally within the device. On the other hand, the PWAs, through local caching technology, are capable of accumulating a lot of data locally in the device to help offline access when internet connectivity is slow or not available.

Another consideration is the installation time and storage space required by a native app. A website, in this respect, doesn’t have the constraint of storage and installation. In this respect, both PWAs and cloud-based apps have an edge as both also perform as websites depending on the remote servers for storage while allowing ease of access through local caching.  

Which of them is more user optimised?

Now coming to the usability elements and user experience, mobile apps certainly have the edge over mobile websites. Unlike websites, mobile apps come with a more interactive and intuitive user interface targeting specific user expectations. An app is also a highly-targeted solution to one or a few particular problems the users face and hence are more user-specific than the websites in general. 

Today’s mobile apps offering customisation with the user interface, better access to the device and platform features, and better scope to use intuitive user experience attributes provide a lot more than the websites to satisfy the users’ needs. The integrated device features and the platform-specific user experience attributes are the most significant advantages of the native mobile apps.

Marketing and business conversion

Now coming to the roles mobile apps and websites play for marketing and business conversion, there are significant differences. When it comes to marketing and ensuring wider customer reach by utilising the potential of the major search engines, websites optimised for mobile users are clear winners in this battle.

Apart from driving SEO campaigns and targeting users more specifically using search engine specific keywords, mobile web ensures wider accessibility as users don’t need to download and install it. On the other hand, Mobile apps can only take advantage of the mobile App Store or Play Store optimisation to reach more audiences. SEO has an edge in terms of business conversion and outreach over App Store Optimisation (ASO).

Conclusion 

To conclude, we must say that having a mobile optimised business website is the first step to shape your digital presence, followed by extending the presence across mobile apps. When you have a popular website and have already used your website for branding and business conversion, you can further strengthen your digital presence with a native or cross-platform mobile app. You can also build a versatile Progressive Web App (PWA) to bring together both the benefits of web and mobile apps for your business brand. 

Posted by Miley Dowling

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