An increasing amount of internet use has migrated from computers to mobile devices ever since smartphones hit the market big time a little over a decade ago. That’s one of the reasons that search giant Google started penalizing websites in their rankings that weren’t responsive, designed to look good on mobile as well as desktop screens.
People spend over half their media time on smartphones.
According to IMPACT, users now spend an average of 69% of their media consumption time on smartphones rather than a desktop computer or laptop. The mobility and ease of accessing the web directly from a portable device has made connecting with mobile users more important than ever.
That’s why Twin State Technical Services has long been helping small business clients ensure they’re reaching their customers on all devices. Our Mobile Development Team can easily transform a website into an app, putting businesses a step ahead of their competition.
But if you already have a responsive website, do you still need a mobile app? What’s the difference between the two?
You may be surprised at some of the advantages of adding a mobile app to reach more customers and the additional functionality it can offer. We find that many business owners aren’t sure how to get started with their own app or how it can help them.
So, in this article, we’re going to go over the differences between a mobile app and a responsive website including costs, functionality, and more.
Mobile App vs Responsive Website
There are several distinct differences between a responsive website and a mobile app. Both are meant to help bring customers to your business and tell them about your products and services. Both can also enable online ordering and bring in leads.
You may think that the two are interchangeable, but while they have a similar goal, to drive business, there are things one can do that the other cannot, which is a reason many companies use both.
A responsive website adjusts the elements of your business site automatically to display on smaller mobile screens. For example, the menu may become shrink and pop out after being clicked so it doesn’t get in the way of the main text. People are still accessing the website in the same way it’s done on a desktop computer.
A mobile app is specially designed for use on a smartphone or tablet, so the navigation, clickable areas, and layout are all made to be easy and intuitive from a smaller mobile device screen. The app can also integrate smartphone functionalities such as click-to-call features.
A benefit of a website update is that it can be done in the background at any time. It doesn’t require the user to download anything, they simply see the new page or text when they next visit your website.
When you want to change text or add a feature or new content, the user needs to download the app update to get the updated information. Many smartphone operating systems allow automatic updates which streamlines the process.
You can only interact with a user when they visit your website. If they’ve allowed notifications, you can then provide a popup alert, but they’ve got to visit your site to get it.
Mobile apps give you more ability to reach people using push notifications as alerts that keep your customer informed of new sales or services. This allows you to get in front of people that have your app and keep them informed of helpful information no matter where they are.
Depending upon the size and functionality, responsive websites tend to cost less and be faster to complete. Some plug-and-play options can get your site up and running in a few hours, though you typically get what you pay for when it comes to design and features.
Development of a mobile app will typically take a little longer to complete and cost more than a cheaper responsive site, because of the mobile specific design. They also have to be submitted to the mobile app device stores, iTunes and the Google Play store.
Online and Offline
In order to access your website, the user has to have an internet connection. If they’re out of service range on their mobile device, they can’t get to your website content.
Twin State Technical Services often creates mobile apps that are designed to work offline as well as online. This gives you a unique advantage of reaching your customers with your basic company information whether they have an internet connection or not.
Other Considerations When Deciding on a Mobile App for Your Business
You’ll want to consider the pros and cons of the device stores that you’ll need to have your app submitted to.
- Pro: You reach more people when you’re listed in the app store
- Con: If you plan to sell through your app or charge for download, they take a cut
- Pro: Downloading apps from iTunes & Google Play have become second nature to smartphone user
- Con: Submissions need to be in the correct format to meet their guidelines
- Both pro or con: You’ll get reviews in the app store which can reflect on your business (either good or bad)
The bottom line is that people are increasingly using apps when on their mobile devices rather than navigating to individual websites, so if your business has an app, you’re better able to always be in reach of your customers.
What Would Your Mobile App Look Like?
Would your mobile app include a menu, appointment making, online shopping, or retail coupons? There are multiple possibilities, all that can help drive business and grow your sales.
Twin State Technical Services can help you realize your mobile app goals. Find out what yours might look like by scheduling a free consultation today! Use our contact page or call us anytime at 563-441-1504.