Over 64% of adults in the US have a smartphone and 42% have a tablet, according to Pew Research, and 34% access the Internet primarily from their phone.
Mobile devices account for 55% of the internet usage in the US.
If you don’t have a strategy for reaching mobile users on the web, you are missing out on the majority of web users.
Also, as of April 21, 2015, Google will rank your site lower if it is not mobile-friendly.
App vs Website
When creating a strategy for reaching mobile web users, the first question many companies ask is whether a mobile app or a mobile website is more appropriate. With 47% of internet usage coming from apps and only 8% coming from mobile browsers, it seems clear that apps are the best choice.
However, there are several things to consider besides the popularity of apps.
What’s the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website?
For the sake of clarity, let’s first look at the basic difference between an app and a website.
|Mobile Apps||Mobile Websites|
|Written in device-specific language||Written in standard HTML|
|Installed on a device||Viewed in a browser|
|Full access to native device functionality (camera, SMS, GPS, etc)||Limited access to native device functionality (camera, SMS, GPS, etc)|
|Can function without active Internet connection||Requires active Internet connection|
|Application updates require user to update app||Updates immediately available without software updates|
|Subject of approval of app store vendor (Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry)||Available to any device with a web browser|
Another big consideration is cost. Because apps are written in device-specific languages, if you want an app that works on iOS, Android, and Windows devices, three separate apps must be developed. This makes apps exponentially more expressive to create and maintain.
Do I need a mobile app or a mobile website?
The simple answer is, it depends.
If you just want to present the information on your primary website and don’t need access to native device functionality such as the camera, a website is the best choice.
If your application requires more complex functionality, a native app is going to be the better choice.
Get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss what is best for your goals.
Responsive Web Design
You may have noticed when browsing on your smartphone that some websites will redirect you to a mobile version of the site. For instance, you go to somewebsite.com and end up on m.somewebsite.com. These mobile sites often have less functionality than the desktop version. Inevitably you will look for a link to the desktop site that requires lots of pinch-zooming to navigate but functions the way you expect it to.
Separate mobile sites must often be maintained separately from the main site as well. This means that if you want to update something on your website, you have to update two sites. It requires twice as much work.
The solution is to use responsive web design. With responsive design, the layout of the site “responds” to the size of the screen on which it is displayed. The site “automagically” rearranges itself so that it is easily displayed on a phone or tablet. This means you only have one site to maintain and you don’t have to sacrifice the functionality of your full website to make it usable for mobile users.
Websites with a responsive design meet Google’s requirement for being mobile-friendly and are therefore ranked higher than websites that are not mobile-friendly.
Every website that Studio 305 builds is responsive so you never have to worry about missing out on mobile users.
Let’s talk about how your business can reach the growing number of mobile web users.