Mobile website vs mobile app?

The decision to create a mobile website or a mobile app for your business is now becoming essential.

Considering 50 per cent of internet searches are conducted via a mobile device, and by 2014 mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage – it’s important to make it easy for your customers to get information and buy from you.

Many consumers are now multi-device users, switching between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TV multiple times throughout the day or simultaneously. It’s no longer effective for businesses to just be across one or two of these mediums. A mix is paramount for effective and sustainable customer communication.

Despite the growing need to go mobile, many businesses are still unsure on whether to invest in a mobile website (m-site) or an app. When thinking about which suits your marketing objectives, the first place to start are the features.

Features of a mobile site

  • Streamlined version of a traditional website
  • Able to adapt to different devices
  • Always online
  • Can be an economical option
  • Easy to update and edit

Features of a mobile app

  • Offers high levels of interaction and a richer experience
  • Can be used with or without an internet connection
  • Must be developed for a specific operation system (eg, Apple iOS)
  • Customers download from an app store straight to the device
  • Loads faster
  • Can handle complex calculations and actions

Deciding on whether to create a mobile website or mobile app essentially comes down to a number of key considerations:


What you are trying to achieve will in most cases steer your decision between m-site or app. For instance if you want to make it easy for customers to find you when they are on the go, a mobile site might be the best option.

Whereas if you want your customer to have a deeper experience and come back to you regularly, an app can work well in driving loyalty.

In addition, native apps are also good for businesses that are providing reporting or calculations such as mobile banking or commerce sites or are creating and promoting games. A native app is able to deliver greater security than a mobile site because it is clearly identified who the developer is when purchasing the app.


Knowing your audience, the devices they use and how they are likely to interact with your brand is also critical in deciding between a mobile site or app. For instance if you find your target audience is accessing your page via a variety of different browsers and platforms then a m-Site may be a better option as they have greater compatibility with different browsers and devices.

Apps tend to work better for things people like to do frequently like check Facebook or look through job ads. However, a native app is generally only a good option if a customer is going to care enough about your brand/product or service to spend the time to download the app.


When it comes to cost, a native app will always be more expensive as they require a higher development cost – especially if there are multiple apps being created for multiple devices.

A mobile site generally requires a lower budget. Businesses considering a responsive website as an alternative to a dedicated mobile site, will need to keep in mind a responsive webpage can potentially be more expensive to create than an mobile site as it requires heavy coding.

When it comes to deciding between a m-site and an app, the best option is to do your research, weigh up the pros and cons of each option, and choose the one that will be of most benefit to your business.

  • bill kinnan

    Very informative -especially because my wife and I Just started as affiliates for iLA -living app business (Overview)
    Business Started January 2013-Still in Pre Launch!

  • We usually recommend a responsive website – one that can be viewed on any size screen. However, distributing a mobile app can really improve your SEO, especially because Google will put Android apps at the top of web search results, much like they do with YouTube videos. If you need help getting started with either, check out our site. We provide site designs as well as mobile apps at a low cost & we’ll do the setup & customization for you. –

  • I say steer away from a native mobile app and stay web-based. Its much more cost effective to build an adapative mobile website, and Google developers even encourage it! Stay away from responsive. Stay away from “m.” domain mobile sites, as they are counted as duplicate websites in Google and not good for SEO/SEM. The other thing about a native mobile app is a very high percentage of businesses don’t need it. Many consumers don’t want to download a mobile app for every business they shop at. Its also harder to maintain stability across various mobile platforms, as it is not as hard to do with a mobile website. A company to check out that builds adaptive mobile websites on a patent-pending software platform is WompMobile. You can check them out here: