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Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites: Which Should You Choose?

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 01, 2022

Mobile apps and mobile websites both have pros and cons. Which is best for your business?

With technology evolving so fast, it may be hard to keep up with the terminology in the mobile market. To improve customer satisfaction and boost sales, every business should have a mobile application, a mobile website or both. If your company does not have a mobile app or a mobile website, or if you are unsure of the difference, read on to learn more about each one, when to use them and how to create both.

What is a mobile website?

A mobile website is a version of a website specifically made for ease of access on mobile devices. Mobile websites are typically more condensed than fully formed desktop sites but contain the most frequently accessed parts of the company’s website. Mobile websites have many pros and cons, including that they allow for personalized experiences based on website traffic and showcase the most relevant information. 

Mobile websites also exist separately from desktop websites, allowing for a unique supplement to the existing website. Because mobile websites are smaller than the full desktop sites, the load times for mobile websites are faster. The downside, however, is that not all content can be included on a mobile website. Another potential drawback is that having a mobile website that’s independent from the main website means double the website maintenance.

Did you know?Did you know? Occasionally, mobile websites have different web addresses for mobile devices. The typical addresses include an “m” before the address (e.g., “m.sample.com” for mobile, “sample.com” for desktop).

What is a mobile app? 

A mobile application is a program on a mobile device that has a specific functionality. An example of this includes a mobile calculator app that enables the user to perform calculations. The primary objective of these mobile apps is to take the computer-based application and tailor the user experience for mobile devices. Companies make apps from the ground up to take advantage of the mobile platform. [Related: 7 Great Mobile-Friendly E-commerce Sites.]

Typically, there are three types of mobile apps: gaming apps, productivity apps and lifestyle/entertainment apps. Gaming apps are video games for mobile devices, which account for most of mobile consumer spending. Productivity apps focus on improving efficiency by doing tasks such as automatically sending emails and scheduling appointments. Finally, lifestyle and entertainment apps encompass things such as shopping, dating, social media and movie watching.

When to use a mobile website 

The development of a mobile website should be an important step in building your online presence. Mobile websites’ advantages include attracting and engaging new customers, showcasing products and services, enhancing professionalism and ensuring long-term success. It is best to use a mobile website as soon as possible, as there is no time like the present to connect with mobile consumers. A mobile website serves as a good virtual ad tool, and customers can access the site anywhere, anytime. 

Consider including product reviews, recommended products and contact information on your mobile website, as customers tend to research products online before buying them. Thanks to advancements in technology, website building is no longer intimidating. Website-building software can make it easy for companies to create personalized websites, often for less than $100 a year. 

When to use a mobile app 

Mobile devices are the most popular method of accessing the internet, and the market for mobile apps has been increasing over the past few years, according to market research firm Statista. By developing a mobile app, businesses can reach a wider market audience. Apps also increase brand awareness by being viewed by more consumers through mobile devices. 

The main purpose of developing mobile apps is to improve the user experience. A carefully crafted, personalized and accessible app that is readily available at all times improves outreach, communication, engagement and brand awareness. Loyal customers may even receive benefits by consistently using companies’ apps. 

Bottom LineBottom Line: >Mobile apps help engage consumers in direct communication that can lead to loyal customers.

How to create a mobile website 

Follow these steps to build a mobile website for your business:

1. Choose a website builder or platform. 

There are many great website-building tools, such as WordPress and GoDaddy, that help companies based on their individual needs. 

FYIFYI: After testing and analyzing some of the best website builders to choose the best ones for a variety of use cases, we selected Duda as the best mobile website builder.

2. Create the pages your business needs. 

Every website needs a homepage, an About Us page, a Contact page, a Privacy Policy page, and a Terms and Conditions page. The homepage is the most important page on your mobile website, as this will offer the first impression of your business. The About Us page is the business’s story, which tells potential customers about your history and brand. The Contact page is a great spot to put your address and contact information for people who would like more details about how to reach you. Don’t forget to include the necessary privacy policies and terms and conditions for web usage.

3. Write a call to action. 

The mobile website should entice people to seek additional information or to purchase products. Simple keywords like “add to cart ” or ” see details” drive consumers to dig deeper into the website.

4. Finalize and release it. 

After you fine-tune the details of your pages, publish the website to make it available to the public. It’s normal to think about waiting to release the website until it’s perfect, but the best feature of mobile websites is that they are easy to maintain and update. [Learn how to transform your static website into a responsive website.]

How to create a mobile app 

If you decide to build a mobile app for your business, get started with these steps:

1. Set your goals. 

Before any development can begin, you must understand your target audience, the reason for making the app, and its unique features and functionalities. Consider using a highly rated app maker and development software to get started.

2. Choose the right platform. 

If you have budget and time constraints, make a mobile app for either Android or iOS rather than for both operating systems. Find out if more of your target market utilizes one platform than the other. [Learn: Responsive Web Design Gets More Conversions.]

3. Focus on features based on costs and your needs. 

Developing a mobile app takes time and money, so prioritize what customers need and then figure out how to tackle the situation. Must-need features might include email or social media newsletters, product inventory and a secure payment gateway. These imperative features let you keep in contact with potential and existing customers, track and display available inventory, and allow online purchases.

4. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. 

If developing an app seems too overwhelming, there are solutions. In a budget scenario, companies can hire freelance app developers to assist with development and publishing. Check out the best websites for hiring freelance developers.

Image Credit:

gorodenkoff / Getty Images

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.