WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS IN A MOBILE FIRST WORLD
Imagine doing business in 2018 without having a website? It’s obvious that business owners need an online presence (e.g. website, social media account etc.) for customers to be aware of their businesses as well as the products and services they offer. Technology is always moving at a lightning speed, so it is such a daunting task for business owners to keep up with all the new digital trends. So, the question here is what should business owners do? Instead of worrying about having to keep up with all the technological advances and trends that may never realize, many businesses owners can focus on what has worked for other competitors and made them successful when doing business in the online world.
In the past, many businesses large and small can launch a website and stay ahead of the competition simply because they had an online presence while their competitors did not. Now, think about what’s going on with mobile technology. People spend more time on the internet than ever using their mobile device. In this case, simply having just a website wouldn’t be sufficient. Your website also needs to be responsive and you also need a mobile marketing strategy with an online presence through mobile channel.
So, what are the choices for your mobile strategy? Let’s take a closer look at three most popular ones:
Responsive websites are developed to run on any browsers and across devices as it is a custom CSS stylesheet which makes your website look great on any device. So, whether customers are accessing your websites from their laptops, Mobile devices (iOS/Android phones or tablet) the website will render seamlessly and responsively according to the devices screen size.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are basically web applications that are developed with modern web technologies, allowing them to provide end-users a mobile app-like browsing experience. You should try not to be confused between web-apps and mobile apps. We have written in details about progressive web app in the previous blog post, you can read more about it here.
Mobile apps are usually developed for some very specific business requirements. For example: your business is an e-commerce company selling goods online and you need an app to cater to growing number of mobile customers, or you have an idea of providing online review of coffee shops in your country so you develop an app for it etc. Mobile apps are usually developed to be helpful to end-users and make their life become easier in some certain regards. Mobile apps are either offered for free or at a premium. Free apps are usually monetized via mobile ads or in-apps purchase.
What should you choose for your business?
We compare the three choices for your consideration as follow:
Responsive Websites vs. Mobile Apps
How should you choose between a responsive website and a mobile app? Responsive website and mobile app both share the same purpose of enabling customers to interact with your business through their mobile devices. When developing from scratch, a responsive website will have much lower development cost than a mobile app.
Choosing between either options would depend largely on your business requirement (as mentioned above) as well as your budget. Since cost is a key factor influencing decision making, many businesses choose to go only with a responsive web and that should be sufficient. However, with the tools available today and by outsourcing to a reliable offshore software development company, you can choose to develop both within your budgets.
Progressive Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps
Thanks to advanced web technologies, today, progressive web apps (PWA) can be developed and function pretty much like a mobile app. Additionally, PWA can be installed on mobile device similar to a mobile app and most customers usually can’t tell the difference between a web app and a mobile app once they have been installed. However, progressive web apps still have certain limitations as they are not fully supported on all browsers and software, and some mobile features such as GPS, Bluetooth, and Camera are still not available on PWA. This might already cause a significant difference for your business influencing the web and mobile app development decision.
Responsive Websites vs. Progressive Web Apps
A responsive website usually removes the need for building a progressive web app (and vice versa). In case you are building a PWA to complement with your company’s website and brand, then it is possible to have both. Otherwise, there really isn’t necessary to develop both. PWA will be used to create a mobile version of a non-responsive website.
Which one should you choose to develop for your business?
By now, we hope you have a clear idea of how to formulate a mobile strategy to market your business. Ideally, a responsive website together with a mobile app will be sufficient to address all the mobile requirements of your business. The responsive website will have all the necessary information and functionalities allowing users to access easily via mobile devices, while the mobile app will serve customers with more specific focus. However, mobile app will provide different and interesting experience to users in a way that a website cannot.
If you are still not sure of what to develop, it might help that you use web analytics tools to find out which operating system (e.g. Windows/Mac OS for laptop and iOS/Android for mobile) and devices (mobile or desktop/laptop) is heavily used by customers to visit your website. Combined with the specific requirement of your business, this is the operating system which you should devote more resources to, to develop your responsive website or app on.
Whether it is a mobile app, or responsive website or progressive web apps, building at least one of those will surely provide you a competitive edge compared to not having any.