It seems like practically everyone is coming up with a mobile app for their users. But, if you're trying to get the most out of your online presence, you need to focus on creating a mobile optimized website instead. What's the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app?
Mobile apps are software; each one has to be downloaded and installed on your mobile device before you can use it. Plus, many mobile apps come with a download fee.
On the other hand, a mobile site is simply a version of your website that is geared specifically to mobile devices. With a website, users do not have to download or install anything. Instead, users head to your site just like they do your traditional website - either by typing the name of your site into their browser or arriving at your site from a search engine.
So with mobile, why are websites better? There are 3 main reasons:
1. Mobile websites are universal
No matter what type of mobile device someone has, he can visit your mobile website. Mobile apps, on the other hand, have to be specially crafted for each device. There are separate apps for the iPhone, the Blackberry, the Android, and so on. If you want to create mobile apps for your business, you will have to spend the time and money creating an app for each device. That's like saying you have to create two different websites - one for Mac users, and one for PC users!
With a mobile website, you only have to design and create one, because it can be accessed from any mobile device, anywhere. And, with the right setup, you can even update your traditional and mobile sites simultaneously! With apps, you would have to maintain and update each one separately.
2. Mobile websites are more convenient for searchers
Let's say that you're looking for a place to eat lunch while you're out running errands. Are you really going to take the time to download and install a restaurant's mobile app just to see what their hours are, or what's on the menu?
With a mobile site, you can just head directly to the restaurant's website and get the information you need - without the hassle of a download or an installation.
3. It is easy for mobile apps to get lost in the crowd
There are hundreds of thousands of mobile apps out there, and more are popping up by the day. That means you have to promote your app to make it stand out. And, if you have separate apps for the iPhone, the Blackberry, and the Android, you are going to have to spend time and money promoting each one. However, it can be nearly impossible for smaller businesses to get featured in app store charts - meaning that your mobile app will likely be lost in the shuffle.
By having a mobile website instead, you only have to worry about traditional SEO. After all, your traditional site's page one search engine ranking works for mobile, too! So, by opting for a mobile website, you can focus solely on SEO and kill two birds with one stone.