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The difference between Mobile Website and Mobile App

It's no secret that businesses only stand to benefit by making themselves accessible via mobile devices. With a mobile website or mobile app, businesses can boost sales, retain loyal customers and expand their reach. The question is, which type of mobile presence is best for your business? Or should you have both?

Before you can evaluate the benefits of a mobile website vs. an app it’s important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and mobile websites are accessed on a handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets. A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface. Increasingly, responsive web design is becoming the new standard for websites that are not only mobile-friendly, but that can scale to any sized device - from desktop down to tablet and handheld smartphones. Like any website, mobile websites/responsive sites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping.

India has the largest number of WhatsApp users, at 70 million users

Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

When it comes to deciding whether to build a native app or a mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience then a mobile website is probably the way to go. In some cases you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s pretty safe to say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place.

Generally speaking, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

About Sheila Claudia

Qualified psychologist , writer and mother

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  1. Dave Reply
    May 8 2017 at 10:30 PM

    In my personal opinion, it is good for the company to have an app but as a user it is nightmare. To access anything you have to install it. how many app a person can install? A common platform like browser enables user to just use an app without installing anything. I feel the problem is browser available right now needs lot of improvement and should provide more support for mobile devices. I hope browsers improve to have seamless experience in all device.

    • John Reply
      20 May 2017 at 08:10 AM

      Mobile apps are doing good but i personally feel that corporate should maintain a mobile website too as without a website they will loose lot of traffic from search engines.

    • Vince Reply
      27 May 2017 at 09:30 PM

      I believe this demonstrates that consumers indeed want the simplicity and focus that apps provide , rather than the variety and diffusion inherent in websites.

    Robert Reply
    29 June 2017 at 11:03 AM

    Thanks for sharing your fair thoughts! Very well said, I agree that mobile sites has a lot of useless ads and popups which annoyed me always. Though mobile website helps when it comes to SEO but for usability, i don’t think so. Mobile apps so far is good , it is fast and easy to use but it is quite expensive.

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