There are people who doesn’t know the difference between a mobile-ready website and a mobile apps. Allow us to explain for your guidance. Mobile apps are programs designed for specific smartphones and/or tablets, for a specific purpose, compiled for a specific OS (ex. iOS, Android, etc.) and are made available for download on apps distribution platforms. These programs works hand in hand with the device specific API.
On the other hand, a mobile-ready website is a website designed to fit not only on desktop/laptop browsers, but also on tablets, most especially smartphones. With it, there’s no need to compile or download for anything. This is often called RWD (responsive web design).
What to choose?
As Ryan Boudreaux of Techrepublic.com puts it in their article Responsive web design vs. mobile app development, it’s a matter of choice after having considered the principles, cost of implementation, implementation time frame, design approach, user experience, performance, and maintenance.
We can’t recommend anything, we’ll leave that to your decision. But here are a few tips:
- Google recommends RWD. That means your site will show up before other mobile sites in a search.
- Robots need not crawl your RWD site multiple times with different user agents (results to duplicates).
- According to Google research, if you don’t have a mobile site or it’s not optimized for smartphones in some way, 61% of visitors will return to Google to find a site that is easily readable on a mobile device.
- RWD can give you more reach, practically on almost all browsers. Mobile apps are for specific devices only (ex. iPhone).
- Implementation of Mobile Apps is way too expensive.
Bottom line: start planning your business’ mobile strategy.