We have already posted an article on the blog in which we compared a mobile app and a mobile website and eventually came to the conclusion that both solutions are efficient tools for business. They almost always complement each other and there is no need to pit one against the other.
However, what if you still have neither? For example, you own a small business or are planning a startup. In these and many other cases, time and financial resources are limited. Consequently, it’s important to get an answer to the question of what to do first — a mobile app or website?
It is difficult to give a definite answer. In this article, we will discuss the main factors worth considering to arrive at the right decision.
Affordable Development Budget
As a rule, website development is much cheaper than mobile app creation. The mobile app market is oversaturated, and to stand out among competitors, you have to spend a considerable amount of money. In any case, it is not worth counting on investments of less than $5,000 to $10,000, and those figures only apply when you plan to focus on one platform only.
It is not difficult to make website design adaptive, and as a result, you will get a cross-platform solution to use that is equally convenient on any device. In the case of the app UI/UX design, it should be adapted for each of the target platforms (iOS, Android).
This adaptation routine of an app may cost a lot of money because focusing on the two platforms means:
- double development time or the simultaneous work of two teams;
- 1 new function = twice as much time spent on its implementation for both platforms;
- twice as much time spent on testing and fixing errors.
That being said, if your budget is limited, a website is the way to go.
If your project requires access to basic smartphone functions, such as a camera, gyroscope, geolocation, etc., and you cannot do without them, a mobile app is an obvious necessity.
Even though you can access many smartphone functions using modern techniques for web app development (PWA), a native app still works faster and its usability level will be higher.
Who Is Your Audience and What Objectives Should the Product Reach
Any business will be successful if you thoroughly understand the needs of your audience and the market it is aimed at. For example, if your potential customers just need information on a service and want to see work examples, you can limit your effort to corporate website development.
However, if the product provides access to certain analytics, reports, calculated results based on the data entered, data storage and processing, and other complex operations, it will be much more convenient to implement all these functions through a mobile app.
The product concept may initially determine your decision. For example, a messenger like Telegram would hardly have become successful if it had been implemented as a web app.
Every business should have a marketing promotion plan; otherwise, it will simply have no customers, especially if you are new to the market or offer something out of the ordinary. In this case, a website will clearly be preferable in most cases.
The number of marketing channels which can be used to promote your website is greater than those available to a mobile app. The user involvement cost is lower, and you can actively experiment with conversion optimization and new features to focus on achieving your marketing goals.
Regardless of your situation, you will have to invest in marketing. Website promotion will be cheaper and the investment return will be higher.
Update and Development Prospects
It is much easier to update and upgrade a website, or its individual components, than a mobile app. There is no need to release a new version or wait for recurrent moderation. There is no risk that administrators will reject the new version. Everything is simpler, even if you need to change the content.
You can see results right after changes have been implemented, and there is no need to update the app for each separate platform.
See What Your Competitors Have
If your solution is not completely unique, there will always be players in any market who already work in that niche. Studying your competitors’ products will help you decide which direction is worth moving in.
If your main competitors rely only on mobile apps, start with solutions for smartphones. If they have both an app and a website, it would be more reasonable to launch a website first.
Mobile App or Website: Which Should You Choose First? (Summary)
The conclusion is simple: in 90% of cases, you need to start primarily with website development. However, the situation is different if you plan to create a startup focused exclusively on a mobile audience.
It is cheaper to create a website and easier to attract visitors to it. Moreover, the money saved can be invested in improving the user experience. Implementing an adaptive design will allow you to make any website user-friendly on mobile devices, regardless of the operating system used.
When your website starts generating profits, and you complete your main business processes and understand what your audience wants, you can start developing a mobile app.
If you need a reliable technology partner, write to us and we will help you implement your project.