Difference between a Mobile Web Site and an App

Posted on: 03/21/2013 by in Mobile Websites

So, now that you know the benefits of having a mobile website, you might be wondering what the difference is between a mobile website, and an app? The two can be confused very easily, especially with websites like Facebook and Twitter having both! So how do you tell the difference, and which one is better?

A mobile website is like any other website in the way that it will include a browser-based experienced that includes HTML pages that are linked together and can be accessed through the Internet, by a mobile device.

An application is something that has to be downloaded and installed on the phone, rather than just viewed in a browser. Apps must be purchased (or are sometimes available for free) from online stores such as the Apple’s App Store, Android Market, and BlackBerry App World, depending on the phone and the operating system. Apps either download content from a website; but many apps can also be run without an Internet connection.

So what’s better?

Well ideally, your company will have both. After all, it’s still a matter of trying to get your brand’s name out there as much as possible. But, a mobile website should always, always come first; and there are a few reasons for that.

The first reason is that a mobile website allows you to track it, analyze it, and listen to what people are saying about it. The chances are good that your mobile website won’t be what you envisioned it to be. It’s sad, but true. So often people think that they’ve covered everything on their website, it has everything the user will need, and it is in short, perfect. But then the site goes live, and it’s not what you thought it would be at all. Whether you’re not getting the traffic you thought you would through SEO keywords, or you’re finding that users aren’t finding your site all that user-friendly. Whatever it is, there are bound to be a few kinks to work out.

That’s fine with a mobile website. All it really requires is that you track down your website designer and ask them to fix the problems. The user won’t even know about it, until you tell them the problems have been fixed, or until the next time they visit your mobile site. However, when updates and changes are made to a mobile app, the user then needs to reinstall it and possibly even download it again. The difference is that with a mobile website, the user doesn’t need to do anything, whereas updates needing to be installed and downloaded might put the customer out – and they might not even bother.

Another reason why mobile websites are better than mobile apps (at least when you’re first starting out in the mobile communications world,) is because mobile websites are much easier to build, develop, expand, and create than apps are. Apps can involve lengthy and complicated code, and an in-depth knowledge of how writing apps works. While there is some technical knowledge to know about building mobile websites, you will still be able to make changes to content and design fairly easily and with minimal hassle. Because of that, once you’ve developed your mobile website, you’ll then easily and smoothly be able to make the transition. Your mobile website will already be all laid out and after that, it’s just a matter of transferring that mobile website data into an app atmosphere.

The idea is that you must start with a mobile website first, and then you can move into the world of apps. It’ll just be easier for you.