Digital assets like websites and apps are becoming necessities for modern businesses. Even older, more established businesses are taking on these technologies as a part of their digital transformation.
If you are working with a new business or startup, you might find yourself in a position that involves choosing between a website and a mobile app. For the most part, it is better to have both, but how do you choose if you can only have one or the other?
Your choice of a website or app can also have an impact on startup branding and other marketing efforts. Both can obviously be parts of a marketing strategy, but they would play different roles. Apps can be great for relationship building and marketing to customers who are already familiar with your brand. Websites can be used for all stages of the customer journey.
If marketing is a key concern, a website is probably the better option. A website can be used to build SEO campaigns, it can host landing pages for PPC and social media marketing, you can use it for different content marketing strategies and much more. It can even be used to market an app if you do happen to develop one.
Consider the Costs
Websites are generally cheaper to develop than apps. For startups with limited funding, this can make a website the more attractive option. Beyond just the initial development costs, apps tend to include a range of other factors that can make them more costly.
As an example, when you develop a website, it can be accessed from a browser on any device. When you develop an app, you will have to develop different versions for different platforms. Along with that, websites tend to be cheaper to update and maintain. As long as you build a website with a responsive design, it should work well across platforms and devices.
Consumers will be able to find and download your app as long as it is listed in the right app stores. With that said, it does not mean that your app will be very accessible. People will still need to find it and install it. In general, websites are much more accessible because consumers only need a browser to access the resources.
Performance is an important concern for developing a strong user experience. If you are looking at performance on a mobile device, most apps will perform better than most mobile websites. The app is native to the platform and it does not have to rely on as many resources that will require an internet connection. As long as the app is built by a competent professional, it should offer a smoother, faster and more responsive experience for mobile users.
Which features do you want to offer customers that interact with your brand? If you want a lot of features that depend on resources on the device, an app can do more for you. You can create a decent experience with a website in a browser, but the site might not be able to connect with features like the phone memory, contacts or the camera. If using these types of resources is important for the experience you are trying to develop, an app might be the better choice.
Your Target Audience
You should also consider the audience you are targeting. Would they prefer to access your service through an app or a website? Is there a benefit for them to always have that app on a device in their pocket? For some customers, an app may add value. With that said, some customers might choose not to use your products or services if the only way they can access them is through an app. The best way to sort this out is to do a little market research to find out more about your customers and what they want.
Choosing between an app and a website can be difficult. For most businesses, it is better to have a website if they can only have one or the other. Unless your product or service is mobile-first or based entirely on an app, a website will have a lot more to offer.