Does your business need a responsive website or an app, or maybe both?

by borne . May 13, 2015

Whereas in the past mobile website optimisation was a luxury for businesses, today it’s a full-blown necessity. With more and more people browsing the web and shopping online with their mobile devices, there has never been a more important time for businesses to have a mobile presence. If you don’t want to lose your competitive edge, it’s about time you stepped into the mobile world.

When it comes to mobile optimisation you have various routes you can take. The first route is to design a responsive website, the second is to build an app and the third is to go for both. Which is better? Do you need both? Below we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of each option and how you might benefit from using both.

Responsive website: The Pros

Flawless viewing experience – One of the great aspects of responsive websites is that they’re optimised for all devices. This means that rather than building multiple sites, you can build a single site that will offer a flawless viewing experience across all platforms.

Single URL – Responsive websites use a single URL so customers won’t have to wait to be re-directed to the mobile version of your website, thus helping to boost their user experience. You won’t have to worry about duplicate content issues either, as Google will just have one site to crawl.

Easy SEO – Responsive websites improve user experience and are therefore great for SEO. The fact you only have to optimise one set of content will also work in your advantage. Google’s new mobile search algorithm will be elevating the rankings of mobile friendly websites, so by investing in a responsive website, you stand a good chance of beating your competitors on SERPs.

Responsive website: The Cons

There are not really many cons to building a responsive website, however sometimes you may find that they cost a little more than building your average desktop site. Building a responsive website will also mean giving your existing site a complete overhaul. If this doesn’t sound appealing, you’ll need to either build a separate mobile site or offer a mobile app instead. 

Mobile App: The Pros

Offline access – You can design your app so that it works offline as well as online. This means that your customers will be able to access your app, even if they’re not connected to the internet. Mobile apps can also be used to send push notifications to customers, informing them of special offers and reminding them of your business.

Super speedy – Mobile apps are often better optimised for mobile devices and therefore load much quicker. The quicker users have access to the information they need, the more likely they are to become a paying customer.

Useful integrations – Mobile apps can interact with smartphone features such as cameras, microphones and geo-location services, allowing users to enjoy a better experience. Not only that but you can also gain useful data from them that will allow you to learn more about your audience.

Mobile App: The Cons

On the downside, mobile apps require long-term investment for frequent app updates. You will also need to build multiple apps for different platforms in order to reach all of your customers, as the code will be different.

Do you need both?

As you can see both responsive sites and mobile apps are beneficial to businesses, so the question is, do you need both? If you have the budget, it is definitely worth investing in both a responsive site and mobile app, as it will give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and improve engagement. However if you were looking to build one before the other, we’d definitely recommend going for a responsive site first, as they’re a must-have for all businesses.