In this era, all businesses need a solid online presence to survive. And why not? As of March 2021, there are 5.168B internet users worldwide. That accounts for 65.6% of the world population. So now you need to choose: Does your online brand need an app, or is a website enough?

What is the difference between a website and a mobile app?

Before we begin to weigh the appropriateness and benefit of a website and an app for your business, let us first understand their difference.

A website consists of related browser-based HTML pages under a single domain name. It can be accessed over the internet using a computer but can be scaled to a tablet or mobile phone. For companies, a website can be considered as its virtual address as it is the most common way for your target market to get to know you and reach you. Websites can display various contents- from text, pictures, videos, and live chat.

On the other hand, mobile applications or apps are computer software or programs designed to run on a mobile device like a phone, tablet, or smartwatch. These apps can be downloaded and installed on your gadget. Android applications can be found in the Android Market, and some apps are available in Apple’s App Store or on both platforms.

What do I need to be an effective online brand?

The question is- what do you need to have to be an effective brand? Is a website enough, or do you need an app? The answer is that it will depend on your end goals and the benefits it can offer your business. You can also look at your target audience, intended purpose, available budget, and essential features of each option.  

Here are the advantages of a website.

  • Websites are readily available. A user can easily access a website with any browser and across any device. On the other hand, apps need to be downloaded and installed before the initial engagement and action.
  • Websites have high compatibility. Another good thing about a website is that it works on all devices. Gone are the days when websites look distorted when viewed on a mobile phone because they can now be viewed on any gadget. It means that your content can be viewed anytime, anywhere. You can have a wider reach as compared with creating an app for both Android and Apple users.
  • Websites are cost-efficient. A  website is easy to create and update. Your in-house IT team can do it, or you can hire freelancers for it. Websites also take a shorter time to build than an app.
  • Websites are easier to link and share. One digital marketing technique is linking your content so that it can be shared to other websites. Your content can also be shared via email, social media platforms, or even through a text message. Websites can be shared easily, giving you an edge as it creates higher site traffic and a more substantial online presence.
  • Websites have a longer life cycle. According to research, an app usually gets deleted in less than 30 days. Unless your app is valuable, unique, and engaging, it can be quickly deleted and replaced. On the other hand, websites are always available and can be visited and revisited whenever possible.

On the other hand, here are the benefits of an app.

  • Apps offer a personalized experience. Mobile apps provide a customized experience as compared with a website. It can tailor its communication based on the user’s interest, location, usage behavior, and more.  Apps can also track customer engagement so that they can offer recommendations and updates to the user.  
  • Apps can utilize mobile device features. Apps can use a person’s mobile device features such as their camera, contact list, GPS, and more to give them an interactive and fun user experience. Not only that, but the app’s ability to connect with the phone’s features can make it more efficient for users. Thus, it can help keep your users more engaged with your app as they will enjoy using it.
  • Apps have strong security measures. Most apps have a substantial security measure, like a password or even biometrics. Users would prefer to use something that can ensure their data is protected. Unlike in websites wherein you need to have a regular website security check to ensure its safety from data breaches.
  • Apps get more used than websites. A study has shown that mobile users spend 88% of their time using a mobile app while they only allot 12% of their time on mobile websites. With these statistics, your brand can be more felt online if it has an engaging app.
  • Apps work faster. Users want to get information quickly, and apps can offer that. A well-designed app can perform actions faster as compared with a website. It’s because apps usually store data locally on mobile devices to be retrieved easily.

What should you choose?

Both websites and apps can give you a lot of benefits. You might want to maximize both as a website is an effective tool to introduce your brand in the vast online world while an app helps your users stay engaged.

However, as we said earlier, you might want to have a clear purpose to decide if a website is enough or do you need to upgrade and develop an app. Choose to stay with a website if you want to:

  • Showcase your legitimacy and credibility as a business
  • Share plenty of rich information and content about your business with your customers
  • Want a global online presence

Choose an app if you want to:

  • Offer more than just online branding
  •  Improve sales through an efficient customer service experience
  • Offer an easy to reach customer support channel
  • Engage and keep customers

Key Takeaway

Both a website and an app are the future of marketing. If you want to convert your business to a strong online brand, these tools are effective. Be clear on your business goals and know your customers’ preferences so that you can choose well whether to stick with having a website only or develop an app.

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