Mobile websites vs mobile apps: The best advantages of both for a local business

As mobile use continues to grow worldwide, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for a business seeking to establish a mobile presence.

Mobile websites are similar to traditional websites in that they are comprised of browser-based HTML pages that link together and are accessed via the Internet. An obvious difference between a mobile website and a standard website is that it is designed for handheld displays and touch-screens. The concept of responsive web design is becoming the new standard for building websites that are not only mobile-friendly, but also can scale to any sized device, including tablets and handheld smartphones.

As with any website, mobile websites/responsive sites can display text content, data, images, and videos. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call or location-based mapping.

Rather than being rendered in a browser, apps are downloaded and installed on your mobile device. Apps can be found and downloaded via device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Depending on the app, content and data may be pulled from the Internet, such as a website, or downloaded, so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

The advantages of a mobile website include:

Immediately available – A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices. Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed.

Can be found more easily – Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for visitors to find a business. In contrast, the visibility of apps is largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.

Customer acquisition tool – The mobile website is considered to be a “customer acquisition” tool as it provides the user with a mobile experience. The majority of mobile users will find a business’s details via a search engine or links to the business’s website as opposed to directly typing in the web address into their mobile phone browser. Therefore all of this mobile traffic that a business generates can be harnessed with their mobile website.

Whereas the advantages of Mobile apps are:

Regular Usage/Personalization –