Here’s the short answer: it all depends on what your goals are. In some cases, investing in your own mobile app can really help complement your website.
Let’s begin with an overview of websites and mobile apps.
Overview of Websites & Mobile Apps
You might be wondering what the difference is between a website and a mobile app.
According to Techopedia, a website is “a collection of publicly accessible, interlinked Web pages that share a single domain name” (reference). In other words, it’s a collection of web pages that anyone can view online. A responsive website is a website that can be viewed on any mobile device with no difficulty.
Techopedia also defines a mobile app as “a type of application software designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet computer” (reference). In other words, it’s a tiny piece of software designed just for your mobile device.
There are multiple operating systems for mobile apps. The most common two are Android and iOS. Windows and Blackberry are the least common.
Mobile apps also come in two types: native and hybrid.
- Native apps are designed for one specific platform (such as Android or iOS) and are developed only in that platform’s specific coding
- Hybrid apps are designed to be displayed on any platform and use coding similar to responsive web programming
If you’re on a budget, then a hybrid app might be right for you since these are cheaper and quicker to create. You could think of a hybrid app as an extension of your online presence so to speak.
Although native apps take more time and cost more money to create, they typically provide a much better user experience (especially since they can access platform features like dialing numbers, texting, etc.). If you plan on involving phone functionality in your app, then native is the way to go.
Whereas websites focus on displaying information (in the form of text, images, videos, etc.), mobile apps focus on providing some sort of functionality or service. Let’s consider Uber. When you go to the Uber website, you can find out if they operate in your city, the steps to become a driver, who the CEO is, and other info. When you download the Uber app (as a rider), you don’t just use the app to look up info. Instead, you would use the app to request a ride and get from point A to point B.
Why Should I Invest in a Website or Mobile App?
Here is what Forbes has to say about why you should invest in a website for your business: (reference)
- Most people will visit your website before they visit your office (first impressions matter!)
- You have full control over the look and feel of your site
- A well designed website will help bring in new clients and ultimately grow your business
Bottom line: a website is important for the long term growth and success of your business.
What about mobile apps? According to Entrepreneur: (reference)
- Most U.S. consumers spend about 5 hours a day on their mobile device
- 92% of that time is spent on apps while the remaining 8% is spent on a web browser
- Having your logo on the home screen of your customers’ devices can help maintain that top of mind awareness for your brand
Bottom line: if you don’t have a responsive website or mobile app, you could be missing out big time!
According to this donut chart from Flurry Analytics, you have many more people on apps than browsers …
Here are six questions to help you consider if a mobile app would be really worth it (reference):
(1) do your competitors also have apps?
(2) will your app solve a customer problem (think how an app could complement your responsive website)?
(3) does retaining customer data (name, shipping address, etc.) make sales any easier?
(4) do you offer a loyalty program of some sort?
(5) do you like the idea of customers sharing photos/videos relating to your product/service across social media?
(6) could your app utilize mobile device functionalities (such as a camera, accelerometer, calling, texting, etc.)?
Even if you’re able to say yes to only one of these questions, then you might consider investing in a mobile app for your business.
Are You Ready to Turn Your Ideas Into Digital Form?
If you’re still lost or confused as to whether you need a website and/or mobile app for your business, I invite you request a free consultation. Keep in mind that you’re not committing to anything – this all helps me get to know you and your goals more.
My motto is turning your ideas into digital form. For some this digital form could be a website, and for others this could be a mobile app. I would love to find out what your ideas are and see if I can help.
Maybe all you need is a responsive website, or maybe you really could benefit from both a website and mobile app. I give you my word that I will make every effort to steer you in the right direction.
Not ready to discuss any projects?
I understand now may not be the best time to make any investment decisions.
I would at least like to give you something to help plan out your online presence. This way when you are ready, you’ll be able to have an intelligent discussion with whomever you speak to (even if it’s not me).
Just scroll down to get your website planning worksheet …