If you’re like many small businesses, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of traffic from smartphones and tablets. Depending on your business, you may benefit from responsive web design, a mobile app, or possibly both.
How do you know which option is best for you? Keep reading to learn the benefits of both responsive web design and apps.
What is a Responsive Web Design?Responsive web design adjusts the layout of the content to fit the screen it’s viewed on. It is one website with code that tells the browser how to display the content depending on the size of the screen. A responsive website is very useful for a business to reach many users on a variety of devices.
Benefits of Responsive Web Design
- Flexible layout that responds to all screen sizes
- Large audience (anyone who has access to the internet)
- Website is indexed by search engines, including mobile-friendly view
- Only need to make updates in one place
- Updates are seen by everyone who visits the web page
What is a Native Mobile App?
A native mobile application is a separate program that is downloaded and stored on a smart phone. Since it is a local application and doesn’t (usually) require internet access, it can be faster than a responsive website on a mobile phone. It can also have access to the phone’s hardware such as the camera. Mobile apps are typically more expensive to develop because they require a different version for each operating system that will use it, such as iOS and Android.
Limitations of Mobile Applications
- Fixed layout for specific device and operating system
- Limited audience (smart phone users)
- Separate environment, not visible for search engines to index
- Need to update separately from website
- Updates are only seen if the user downloads the update from the app store
- App store guidelines and approvals for Apple, Android, etc. can make development expensive and time consuming
Which is better?
It would be ideal to have both a responsive website AND a mobile app if your business would benefit from having access to the user’s phone hardware and offline availability. However, most businesses will benefit more from a responsive website because it will be seen by a much wider audience, it’s visible to search engines, and it’s easier and less expensive to update frequently.