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Mobile App or Mobile Website: Which Should You Choose?

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Turning your mobile website into an app for a greater reach to users is not an easy task.

However, before you take the leap, you have to thoroughly weigh its benefits and consciously choose to migrate your website to a mobile app.

Previously, mobile websites were more predominant when browsers dominated the launch of many new eCommerce start-ups.

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Browsers made the websites seamlessly fit in all kinds of handheld devices and users found it exciting to buy stuff on the internet using their mobile devices. The availability of the internet and the evolution of HTML to support rich media also enabled this transition.

So, many ventures have started to launch mobile websites to attract their consumers and thereby increase revenues.

With the present era of mobile devices being dominated by the app ecosystems, the prevalent question becomes whether or not mobile websites are indeed mobile and meeting its purpose.

Apps have been making inroads on many users’ lifestyles and its adoption for business is seen as a positive trend.

There are many benefits for businesses to migrate from the traditional browser-based mobile commerce sites to the mobile app ecosystem.

A few of these benefits are listed below to aid you in making a conscious decision to follow the trend.

Faster Access

Mobile apps are written on the handheld devices’ native operating systems, while the websites run on a browser and always depend on an internet connection to work.

So, apps are much faster than the mobile sites. This plays a critical role if you do not want to lose your customers due to a slow connection while waiting for the page to load.

An app can be designed more efficiently so that it performs all the processing offline and only accesses the internet when it is needed to close the transactions.

Available Offline

For a business to succeed, availability is a vital factor. If your website is down for a while or if your users find it too slow, then the revenues will start to dwindle.

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Source: Flickr

The availability of mobile websites greatly depends on the availability of the internet for every little bit of work that it has to perform and for the pages to load.

However, apps work much to the advantage of the users because it can download the required content when there is the internet and can perform all the other processing using the handheld device.

This makes the user feel as though he/she is connected to your business all the time. It is magic that allures your users to ensure a greater reach and greater revenue for your business that has been running on mobile websites.

Personalised Services

A mobile website’s major goal is to educate users and market a product line on the web. However, apps have the ability to offer personalised services.

For example, if a mobile browser-based shopping site rolls out personalised services to users, then databases in the back-end is required for millions of users who access the site and the access to the site must be ensured quickly to cater to the needs of an online shopper.

However, apps keep the personalised information within the client device and perform their intelligence to fetch only the needs of the shopper!

Thus, it is much easier and quicker for apps to roll out personalised and customised services to its users.

Easier to Use

On the one hand, mobile websites typically run on a browser and require the browser to have updated plugins to play the content as per the definitions of the URL pages. The sites also have to fit all the different sizes of the different screens of the handheld devices.

Furthermore, rendering is an important challenge in HTML-based style sheets. On the other hand, apps understand the device in a better way to get the best performance out of it because they are written using the native interface of the underlying hardware.

This is evident in gaming apps where the graphics and the memory are more critical to ensure the best user experience. Mobile websites cannot match apps in the world of gaming.

More Interactive

Apps offer a much more interactive experience to the user than mobile websites do. This is because apps understand the user of the device and roll out personalised services.

By being interactive, the user is provided with a rich experience of shopping or gaming using the app on his/her device. This increases the engagement of the user with the app.

Also, due to the real-time speed and offline processing capability, an app can bring this interactive feature more effectively than mobile websites that run on browsers.

Tools to Aid the Migration

Now that you are convinced and ready to move to a mobile app, take sufficient care to have a smooth process. There are many tools and services available for migrating mobile websites to an app for handheld devices.

There are also SDKs available from the respective native operating systems from the handheld makers that you can effectively use to migrate websites to mobile apps. BuildFire, Onbile and AppMakr are only a few of such tools which do the job in an effortless fashion, keeping the look and feel of the website when converting it into an app.

The app also needs to be designed in such a way that it is easy to navigate. There are many designer tools available, including Como and SwebApps, to design the interface and the outlook.

It is important for businesses to embrace the change in the ecosystem to sustain the competition. Wiser decisions about migrating mobile websites to app-based ones will certainly yield benefits as described above and help to march ahead of the competition.

So, which one do you prefer? Mobile website or mobile app? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

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