Businesses can’t ignore the need for websites or mobile apps. The popularity and use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets is soaring, and statistics are revealing that consumers are spending even more time on mobile devices. The question is no longer whether mobile sites and apps are important; the fact is we know that they are. The question is how to best target users on mobile devices and how to reach your customers to make more conversions through the mobile platform. One of the questions that inevitably arises is “What is the difference between a mobile app and the mobile website? If a website has responsive design do you also need to create a mobile app?” Knowing the key differences between a mobile app and a mobile friendly website helps you determine which is right for your business.

The Similarities

Both mobile apps and mobile friendly websites are designed to be easily accessed and viewed on the smaller screen of a mobile device. Maintaining full functionality and design aesthetics on the smaller screen of a mobile device is critical as more and more users access websites through their mobile devices. Both mobile apps and mobile friendly websites are designed to target users on mobile devices.

Why Responsive Design Is Crucial

Responsive web design means creating a website that adapts its functionality based on whether it’s accessed from a desktop sized screen, a tablet sized screen, or smart phone sized screen. Responsive design ensures that your website always functions optimally no matter what kind of device a user accesses it from. Mobile friendly websites have a number of distinct advantages. Mobile websites can effectively convey your content, provide a point of contact, and even offer unique functionality such as click to call so customers can get in touch with you instantly.

A mobile website provides instant accessibility to your content from anywhere a device can get an Internet connection. You have control in modifying the website content and your updates will be immediately available to all visitors. Mobile websites also have the advantage of being easily found on search engines such as Google, and the website can be quickly shared by sending the URL address. Unlike an app which must be installed on the device, mobile websites can always be instantly accessed by a potential customer.

It’s clear that responsive design and mobile website development is essential for optimizing online marketing and maximizing reach.

When You Need A Mobile App

Native mobile apps differ from mobile websites in that they are more targeted, personalized and device-specific. While a mobile website can do almost everything an app can, there are some unique capabilities of native apps that makes them ideal for certain uses.

If you need an interactive experience for your clients, a native app can be the best solution for providing a customizable experience. Because mobile apps are installed on a user’s device, they can make use of a device’s functionality, such as the camera, calendar, alerts or reminders on a user’s phone. Apps can be completely personalized for a user, remembering their login details and preferences. Native apps are also continuously available, even offline, giving incomparable access to your content and services so your clients can always stay in touch.

Choosing the best option for your business depends on the unique services you provide, and the performance and customer connection you require. For expert advice, talk to your local digital marketing specialist or web developer for more information on finding the right mobile solution for you.