Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites. Pros and Cons of Each Approach

BY IN Basics of Web Design, 21.03.2017

What’s a better option for accessing the web from the screens of handheld devices? While some opt for mobile apps, others find mobile-friendly websites a better alternative. In this publication, we will speak about pros and cons of each of the aforementioned solutions and make an effort to come up with one that can provide more benefits to contemporary businesses.


As the mobile app vs mobile-friendly website debate keeps going, there is one thing that remains clear to all of us – we need to make it convenient for the web users to browse all data provided on our pages from whatever gadget they own. It’s set as default settings that a website should perform well on desktop PCs. What about smartphones and tablets? How to make it no less convenient to browse your data? This is when mobile-friendly solutions come into play.

Why is it THAT important to make all content of your web resource properly displayed on smaller screens? It’s no secret that the number of users browsing the web and making online purchases from the screens of their smartphones and tablets grows every year. The greatest number of page abandonments occurs due to the poor performance of site on touch screens. In order not to speak without a proof, let’s take a look at stats

  • 40% of online customers leave for a competitor’s site as a result of a poor mobile browsing experience.
  • 50% of the total number of searches happening on mobile phones result in a purchase.
  • 67% of online customers claim to order a product/service after browsing a mobile-friendly site.

Mobile-friendly Websites. Pros vs Cons
A mobile-friendly website is not a separate web resource. This is one and the same design that can scale up and down to any screen size that it’s being viewed on. Users of smartphones and tablets can access the full version of your site as well. However, they will be also provided with an opportunity to switch to layouts that are optimized for smaller screens.

We have a strong belief that every contemporary business should make their content accessible to the owners of smart handheld devices. This will not only boost the client base, but also make your business look more reliable in the eyes of the online audience.

Thus, the key reasons to opt for a mobile version of a website include:

  • A mobile website will make your brand reachable by a wider audience. If you run a desktop version of a website, people will also assume that they can reach your content from smartphones. Taking into account that all contemporary smartphones and tablets support web browsing apps, a mobile version of your site will bring you an average of 60% boost of mobile users.
  • Google lists mobile-friendly web resources first, claiming that those provide a convenient browsing experience. Thus, when running a mobile search, web surfers will be introduced to mobile-friendly sites first, with desktop versions getting lower positions.
  • Running a mobile version of a site doesn’t mean that you need to develop a separate site. Choosing such  popular CMSs as WordPress and Joomla, you can simply make all components of your site 100% responsive. As a result, you save both time and money.
  • Unlike browsing the web via an app, when using a mobile version of a website there is no need to download and install third-party software.

As per the possible drawbacks of mobile websites, we can list the following:

  • Mobile sites cannot be accessed when a user is offline.
  • They do not support push notifications.
  • They may look somewhat cluttered, which results in poor usability.

Wrapping it up, mobile websites are easy to setup and easy to handle. Taking into account that almost 1/3 of all web browsing sessions happen on-the-go, it’s indispensable for contemporary businesses to be available across all contemporary devices.


Mobile Apps. Pros vs Cons

Mobile apps are separate applications designed to run on smartphones and tablets. Mobile apps are especially popular among the owners of eCommerce stores. Developed entirely separately from websites, they still provide mobile users with access to the entire inventory while synching data with desktop versions of sites.

If we compare the way mobile apps were built in the very beginning of their history to the software that we install on our handheld gadgets today, then we will notice that mobile apps have gone far more advanced and professional. In most cases, they can replace desktop versions of websites, providing people with intuitive and highly specialized online experience.

The key reasons why contemporary businesses opt for mobile apps include:

  • An app can serve several functions at a time. While using them, people can learn general information about a specific business, discover inventory, add preferred items to the shopping cart, enjoy simple and intuitive booking, communicate with customer care managers via a messenger, etc. The greatest benefit of mobile apps is that you can organize all content that is related to your business within a single app.
  • Launching your own mobile app you will make your business stand out of the competition. Installing an app on their handheld devices, people guarantee their partial or complete involvement into your online project, thus growing the level of the general user engagement.
  • Mobile apps can work both online and offline, thus mobile audience can have a constant access to your data.
  • Mobile apps are designed to perform on mobile and tablet screens specifically, which suggests that their interfaces need to be touch-friendly. Compared to mobile-friendly web resources, apps are less cluttered and easier to navigate.

With so many advantages of using mobile apps, there are still certain drawbacks of developing their own software, which businesses should be aware of.

  • Developing a mobile app involves extra expenses. Unlike a mobile-friendly version of a website, a custom app suggests that you need to create separate functionality for each aspect of your site, including the presentation of your data, product listings, booking, chat, and other options.
  • Mobile apps mean extra setup process. Although mobile software shouldn’t be too elaborate at the start, it still involves extra time and effort to get an app up and running.

By means of mobile apps, your audience gets a better alternative to connect to your business project much faster. Although it involves extra expenses, sending push notifications directly to handheld devices of your audience is a proven way to keep people engaged and alerted.

Final Thoughts

So, which of these two options will be a better alternative for a business? In fact, both of them are useful. While making your site mobile-friendly is indispensable in the highly competitive contemporary web, launching your own mobile apps you grow your chances of keeping a wider audience involved.

So, the mobile app vs mobile website battle finished with a draw. Do you think the same? Is there an avid winner of the battle for your? Please share your reflections below this post.