Does your business need an app? According to Statista, more than half of all web traffic is via mobile1. And, in many cases, apps are easier to use on mobile devices than websites. Here are some questions you should ask before jumping into the app development deep end.
Is your current website optimised for mobile?
If your customers are getting a poor user experience from your site on their phones or tablets. The first thing to check is that it’s responsive (i.e., optimised for mobile). It’s much cheaper to tweak your existing site’s design and code to make it scale properly on small screens than it is to develop an app. And if an app would not be significantly different to an optimised version of your site, then it’s probably unnecessary. If you need more information about responsive websites, have a look at our previous blog.
Have your customers been asking for a mobile app?
If so, why? It’s important to know. For example, if your customers are asking for an app simply because they want it to be accessible from their home screen. Then you can show them how to add it as a shortcut (perhaps pop the instructions for each operating system in your FAQs). The only difference is that clicking the icon opens your site in their browser rather than launching a native app.
What do your competitors have?
If most of your competitors have apps, it’s a good sign that an app might offer your customers something that a mobile-optimised website does not. Perhaps it’s integration with their phone’s gyroscope, GPS, or camera – things that tend to work better in a native app. Perhaps it’s because customers interact with it multiple times a day, in which case the quicker launch speed of an app could be beneficial. If your competitors don’t have an app, but you can see a clear benefit to having one, it could be a good point of difference for your business.
Will it be easier to convert sales with a mobile app?
One of the major drawbacks of websites on mobile browsers is that it’s often clumsy and tedious to input things like your billing and shipping information. If you’re a retailer and you lose a lot of your customers at the shopping cart, making that part of the user experience friendlier with an app could help to increase your sales.
Will your app need frequent updates?
If yes, an app might not be your best solution. Frequently having to update and submit new versions of your app for Android, iOS, and Windows platforms is both time-consuming and expensive. The average wait time to get an app approved through the Apple App Store is around four days, and there’s no guarantee they will accept it. On the other hand, updating a website is a one-off action that is effective as soon as you hit “publish”.
How about a web app?
Web apps combine the user experience of a native app with the administrative convenience of a website. They don’t need to be downloaded or installed because they run inside any browser, which means they’ll work on all kinds of mobile operating systems. You can update them as often as you like, and there’s no app store approval process to go through. They’re also generally quicker and easier to develop than native apps. While they might run slightly slower than a native app, they could offer a “best of both worlds” scenario for your business.
Regardless of whether you intend to create an app, the first step is to make sure your website is optimised for mobile. At Moreweb, we can build you a site that works beautifully on any sized screen. Get in touch to find out more about our affordable websites for small businesses.