When it comes to serving mobile traffic there are two main options for businesses to choose from.  They can either serve all the traffic using a website which has been optimized for mobile devices, or they can offer an app for people to download.  Of course, when people don’t download the app for businesses who select that option, they will still need a website to display.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each option so choosing which one is right for a particular business can take a lot of thought.

Larger businesses are quickly moving toward the option of developing a high quality app as well as offering a website which is optimized for mobile visitors.  While this is the obvious choice for companies with huge budgets to play with, it is not always possible for smaller companies attempting to give their customers the best experience while working within a tight budget.

Benefits of a Mobile App

Offering visitors the option to download a mobile app comes with many great benefits, both for the visitor and the company itself.  Mobile apps offer expanded functionality which directly takes advantage of the features of mobile devices.  It also lets customer’s access information about the company even when they are not connected to the Internet.

Mobile apps typically load up more quickly than a mobile webpage can as well which gives users a better experience when they are accessing the app.  Many users also like the ‘coolness factor’ of using mobile apps to interact with websites or companies today.

Benefits of Mobile Optimized Websites

Choosing to go with only a mobile optimized website comes with some advantages as well.  The obvious fact that it will save money is often a major factor for small to mid-sized businesses.  It is also much easier to support since there is only one technology which needs to be maintained.

Many customers also prefer using mobile websites over having to download an app as well.  More and more smart phone users are finding that they end up with far too many apps on their phones when they have to download a new one for every company they like to keep up with.  Since most customers are only looking to visit a company website to learn something they need to know and move on, many visitors won’t be interested in taking the extra time to download an app anyway.   Mobile websites can also be created and published very quickly and don’t need to go through any lengthy approval processes before being made available on an app store.

Most companies agree that when possible they should have both the mobile website and the app made available, but if there is not sufficient money in the budget for both then it is best to focus on the website itself.  Mobil optimized websites can offer far greater benefits for the money and they are also available to all customers, not just those who have app-enabled mobile devices.

It is also far better to spend money on making a high-end mobile website than to split the budget and make an average mobile website and an average app.  As with so many things in business, quality over quantity is the way to go.

Do you offer a mobile app to customers?  If so, have you found it to be a good use of resources?

What's your opinion?