There are many considerations when deciding whether to invest in a mobile app for your business. You may gain a persistent edge by having your customers directly at your fingertips through push notifications, having access to their geolocation data, having an app icon directly on their home screen, or being able to access a range of other device functions. The downside with this is the extreme cost of mobile app development. This is slowly coming down, but it is often difficult to justify investing in building a mobile app for a small to medium size business. There is an alternative, however. Much of what is done in a mobile app can now be done with a mobile-friendly website, at a much lower cost.
Mobile websites can now be built to match almost all functionality that a typical app may have, and this is increasingly true as time goes on. Again, this can almost always be done at a much lower cost when compared to developed a full native mobile app.
Mobile apps are generally platform specific, meaning you need to build separate apps for iOS, Android, etc. One of the biggest advantages of a mobile website is platform independence. Any device with a browser can view your mobile website, and you can reach significantly more people at a lower cost. If you build your website to be responsive, meaning it changes based on what screen size the device viewing the site has, you can effectively cover every device that would potentially be using your website.
Finding a mobile app generally requires users or customers to search specifically for your app in the app store for their device. With a mobile website, this is less of a problem because of the prevalence of people starting at a search engine such as Google when searching for a business.
Building a mobile website is almost always significantly cheaper than building a full native mobile app. This is a huge sticking point for small to medium sized businesses that may not necessarily have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on building a production-quality mobile app.
One of the biggest advantages of a mobile website over a mobile app is the speed at which it can be built. Where a native mobile app may take months to build and launch, a mobile website may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for more complex full-stack solutions. In most cases, mobile websites can replicate most app functionality while taking much less time to build and ultimately come in at a much lower cost.
In most small to medium businesses, a mobile website will often be the right choice to grow your business and connect with customers. There are cases where a mobile app may be better (think mobile gaming) - but for marketing and business operations purposes, a mobile website is almost always cheaper, better, and higher visibility to your customers. Even if your intention is to eventually create a mobile app, a mobile website is a great starting point to move towards this goal and to better understand exactly what you may need in the future.
Darkwater Digital specializes in working with businesses to get them to this point, with the underlying goal of increasing their profitability through digital transformation. It is never too late to consider moving in this direction, and we love to help businesses achieve this. We work closely with our clients to understand what they need and make it a reality.
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