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Mobile Websites are better than Native Apps

If you need to reach the widest audience possible, keep costs and maintenance time low, be easy to find on search engines, and allow users to share your content, then a mobile website is your best choice.

We know that a mobile-optimized web presence is an imperative for your brand - but don't be fooled by the allure of native apps. All of our clients agree - mobile websites are best suited for their needs. If you need to reach the widest audience possible, keep costs and maintenance time low, be easy to find on search engines, and allow users to share your content, then a mobile website is your best choice.

What's the difference?

A native app is one that is downloaded from the iTunes Store, Google Play, or the like. It is installed on your phone and can be accessed anytime, and probably has an icon on your home screen. Occasionally, you may get notifications about updates.

A mobile website is one that can be accessed in the mobile browser, and is designed specifically for viewing on smaller screens. It has content that is similar to your "main" website, or may even mirror the content of your main website.

Reasons you should choose a mobile website

  • More Compatible
    A mobile website will look the same on any phone - be it the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry. To achieve the same level of compatibility with a native app means you must design, build, and maintain a new app for each type of phone.
  • Always On Demand
    Your mobile website is always online and ready to be consumed. There is no need to go to the app store, search, download, and install your app. It's always there for everyone.
  • Easy to Find
    Mobile websites are tracked and indexed just like any other website. You can be found in search engines, listed in online directories, and mentioned on other websites in blogs and articles. There are many ways for users to find your mobile website - to find and use a native app requires going to the app store.
  • Easy to Share
    Because a mobile website is just that - a website - users can share your URL with their friends in all the usual ways: email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. And, of course, their friends can view the mobile website easily because it works on all phones and platforms.
  • Easy to Maintain
    Your mobile website usually has very similar content as your main website. Because the information is similar, you only have to maintain content in one CMS. Having to update your content on the main website and then on four other native apps is an administrative nightmare. Also, even if you choose to develop a native app, you will still need a mobile website for users who access your URL on their mobile phone.
  • Less Expensive
    Development of native apps is considerably more time consuming and expensive. The process is much more involved than creating a mobile website. Of course, you will need to create several apps - one for each platform - making for a very expensive mobile presence.
  • Uncensored
    Apple regularly removes apps from the iTunes App Store that it deems inappropriate. Big Brother can remove your app from the store at anytime for just about any reason. Your mobile website however will be alive forever, or as long as you need it to be.

When you should choose a native app

Native apps make sense in several situations. If your content must be available offline, then a native app is your only choice. Also, if you need access to the phones camera, or need to use phone resources to store information or process complex data, then a native app will most likely be your best bet. Angry Birds, Facebook, and Bank of America all have great native apps. But, of course, these brands also have mobile websites as well.

Unless you are a Fortune 100 tech company, you probably will need a mobile website instead of a native app. If you are a decision maker at Citi or Google, then thanks for reading our blog! Otherwise, do yourself a favor and go for the mobile website.



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