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To App or Not to App: Mobile Sites vs. Apps

It’s time to go mobile! But is it time to splurge for that app your business has been dreaming up? While mobile applications are trendy, they may not be what’s best for your users. It’s time to weigh the pros of mobile optimized websites and mobile applications to see which will offer your business the most benefits.

Since most businesses already have a website, taking the steps to become mobile optimized might be the way to go, especially if the current website is highly content-based. Here are a few benefits of mobile optimized websites to take into consideration:

  • Cost effective. This option will give you the most “bang for your buck.” In most cases, it will take much less time and resources to set a website up for mobile usage. It will also save on maintenance time, since all updates are done in one place as opposed to the separate apps for multiple operating systems.
  • Lower access barrier. Unlike an app, the user does not need to download anything to be able to view the content on a website. Mobile websites are available to anyone who has a mobile device with an internet connection.
  • Accessibility. Internet browsers have the ability to assist users that have impairments. For example, a browser will be able to read content aloud to users that have visual impairments. While apps may offer similar options, it is much easier to implement and maintain browser-based accessibility.
  • Searchability. Mobile websites provide higher visibility to organic search results than apps. In addition, someone who is browsing will be more likely to click on a link than download an app to view the content.
  • Easy updates. On the development side, the source code for a website is the one place to make all updates — even the ones for mobile. Unlike apps, there is no need to maintain multiple versions of operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.). In addition, while a mobile application requires users to update their device to reflect changes, mobile websites do not require updates by the users. Any updates are done on the development side and can be done frequently without the users even knowing.

Mobile apps offer users the ability to access content quickly and easily with the push of a button. They are especially useful in instances where they are intent to be utility-based (i.e. cameras, calculators, games, etc.). Here are a few of the other benefits a mobile application can offer:

  • Alerts. Most mobile devices offer an option for the user to receive “push notifications” from apps they use. By setting up these alerts, you can entice users back to your app with reminders or promotions. For example, a news app might send out a notification for new articles.
  • Offline content. Apps offer users the opportunity to continue usage without the need for an internet connection. This means there is no need for users to hunt for a Wi-Fi signal or use their allotted monthly data.
  • Hardware integration. If your business wants to take advantage of built-in characteristics of a device, an app is the way to go. Since apps have more access to the hardware of a device, this offers the ability to use existing features (i.e. Instagram uses an integrated camera and can save the images right to the device you are using). In this instance, a website wouldn’t offer the capabilities needed to perform the task efficiently.

If your business is on the fence, start with optimizing your website for mobile usage. This will give you the opportunity to see how your audience responds and if an app would be more beneficial.

It is always a good idea to voice your ideas and concerns to a digital marketing expert before making the final decision. This person will be able to help you decide whether a mobile app or a mobile optimized website is the right option for your business.

The YGS Group has a digital marketing team that is happy to help you make your decision. Submit your inquiries here.

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