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What Is the Difference Between an App and a Mobile Website?

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Apps or software applications aren’t accessible directly via the internet. Instead, an app or software application must be downloaded on a smartphone/tablet.
Mobile websites are responsive websites that automatically scale to your visitor’s screen.
Apps are a great option because you can send push notifications to customers (with their consent) and they can often be used offline.

Although many people are curious, not many have the courage to ask “What is an App?” You might ask, “What makes an App an App?” Apps are something you use every day. You also know that many businesses have their apps. However, when it comes to distinguishing an app from a website on a smartphone, most people do not know what to do.

Because they have a lot in common, it’s important that you understand the differences between an app or a mobile website. However, they have their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to understand what options are available for you to stay relevant and promote your company online.

If you are a small business owner and feel lost in the worlds of software and mobile websites, this guide is for your!
What is an App?

App is an abbreviation for “software app” and it is essential that the app be downloaded on the device to enable the user to use it. Apps are made for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Software companies create app versions of their software so that users can access their functionality on their mobile devices.

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Why are apps so important?

Websites were designed to be displayed on desktop and laptop computers long before smartphones and tablets existed. Websites like these were designed to be responsive. This meant that they could not scale to different screen sizes. They were also difficult to read and use on smaller screens. This was not a problem initially, as no one was trying view websites on tablets or smartphones. These website designs were not as popular once mobile devices became common.

Mobile websites appeared, and many small and medium-sized businesses with websites developed mobile versions to make it easy for users to view and use their sites with touchscreen devices.

Apps, websites and mobile websites used to be distinct, but these are no longer the norm.
What are the benefits to developing a business app

A business app can offer many benefits. Apps enable businesses to send push notifications and in-app messages, provided they agree to do so. The ability to reach a customer base who is already familiar with your brand and is interested in it is tremendously important. Not all users will opt in to receive notifications.

Another advantage of apps is their ability to be used offline. App functions such as making calls or accessing maps can only be done online. However, most of the information within the app (such a store’s location, hours and menus) can be accessed even without internet service.
How do I make an app?

To build an app that works for your business, there are three main paths you can choose from. A team of developers is required if you are going to build your app yourself. Small businesses often don’t have this so the only options are to hire outside developers or use app creation software.
Hiring an app developer

An app developer can be hired in the same way as a graphic designer, patent attorney, or other professional service. There are many companies that specialize creating apps for small business, as well as individual developers who work independently or contract.

The outside-hire option is more costly than using app creation software. However, it allows you to create apps that are unique and customized. A developer is the best choice if you require specific functionality or compliance. You can also use app creation software if you have a limited budget and only basic needs.
Use app creation software

There are many options for mobile app development, each offering different quality and processes. Some tools can be used with only basic skills. These are commonly referred to as “drag and drop” format. Some app creation software will require you to have programming and development skills in order to customize it.

Drag-and-drop app builders are usually cheaper and more user-friendly, but they can be difficult to customize. These app makers are limited in their scope and tend to be template-based. However, they are great for creating basic apps, especially for small business.
What are the downsides of creating a custom-built business app?

It can be more difficult than managing a website to create, publish and publicize apps. You will need to submit your application for approval to both the Apple App Store (and the Google Play Store) if you want to reach people using Android and Apple products. Although the guidelines for app store acceptance are not set in stone, it is important to keep your app in compliance as they may change. You will also need a website if your business goes the app route (unless it is impossible to do so).

The other challenge you will face when creating a business application is getting people interested in it. If your business is already established and you have a marketing plan that will tell customers about your apps, or if the app offers valuable functionality to customers, this might not be a problem.
Do I want a website or an app?

Although both websites and apps are easy to make, it is easier for smaller businesses (SMBs) that are not tech-oriented or have a specific business. A responsive website is the best choice. Mobile websites, also known as apps, offer many of same options such as click-to-map navigation, social sharing and one-click dialing. But, apps are limited in phone space and require a download. Responsive websites, however, do not need to be downloaded. Local businesses’ customers search for information using a regular browser. A responsive website design allows them access your business from any location, with no additional marketing.

Responsive websites are easier to maintain than mobile apps. If you want to make changes to an information piece, you only need to change it once in the responsive editor. The changes will be automatically applied to all devices regardless of their operating system.