Mobile devices are now the preferred way to use the Internet. Tech manufacturers feel it in the surging mobile demand for their products. Even search engines have modified their algorithms to accommodate mobile-friendly websites.
While mobile apps and mobile websites may have similarities at first glance, they present some significant differences in functionality and complexity.
A mobile website is just like any other site that is composed of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together. It is accessed over the Internet. In the case of mobile, that means Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks. A mobile website differs from a standard site in the sense that it is designed to display on any device whether it be a desktop, tablet, or smartphone; adjusting in layout across the different resolutions.
Mobile websites, just like traditional websites, can display text content, data, video, and images, and let users access mobile-specific features such as location-based mapping or click-to-call.
Mobile apps are applications to be downloaded and installed on a mobile device, instead of being rendered within a browser. Users will have to access the apps through a marketplace such as Apple’s App Store or the Android Market, to download them for their specific operating system. Unlike mobile websites, mobile apps will take up storage space on the user’s device.
Both the mobile website and mobile app are advantageous to a business, but the choice of which one to use will depend on your industry business goals. A mobile app may be good for an interactive game or a business with repeat customers, but a mobile website may be the better option if you aim to offer mobile-friendly content to convert new customers. While apps have their purpose, mobile or responsive websites are your best bet for marketing your business due to their overall accessibility and compatibility.