App or Site: Which Works Best?


With the move to a more digitally focused market-place, a number of businesses are having to assess how they want to appeal to customers across the web.  Do you build a mobile optimised website or work on creating a killer app that your customer-base are drawn to download? Or try and have it both way like Paddy Power, have a mobile optimised set up like this  and an app to go with it so your customers can take their pick! But assuming you aren’t in a position where both options are possible, let’s see which is the right choice for the tech savvy entrepreneur.

What’s the big difference?

Well, a mobile site is important to implement for a number of reasons – if you have an existing desktop site there is every danger the current set-up is not designed with mobile browsing in mind and creating a mobile version will be key in retaining business. The big difference between desktop and mobile optimisation is essentially how they make use of the smaller screen on a mobile device and unique features like click to call, while retaining the usual functionality of a desktop site (text, images, video, etc).

An app on the other hand is a downloadable application that can replicate a site’s ability to pull data from the internet itself or will store the content remotely on your device. The functionality will remain largely the same but apps will need to be designed with specific devices in mind and may make it a requirement to produce multiple versions for different operating systems.

Advantages of Mobile Site

You can potentially reach a wider audience as a mobile optimised site will likely still perform well for desktop and won’t be limited by the device being used to find it, while an app will have the problem of being both mono-purpose and limiting the pool.

Mobile sites are easier to update, as the data is not stored remotely an update can be done by the site-owner. As an app is not stored on a server but on a device, any updates will need to be downloaded and if a device owner doesn’t do so, it could compromise the apps utility and your brands image.

It is also generally easier for time and cost to simply build a mobile optimised website rather than a complete app.

Advantages to an App

An app is a little less versatile but the interactivity and the single use element makes it good for gaming based apps (such as Angry Birds) or for any functionality that requires the use of on-board elements such as the phone’s camera. While it’s possible through websites, apps are generally the best for such use of hard-ware. It also allows offline functionality which, circumstantially, can be a major boon depending on your market.


Generally, an app is better if you’re looking for a single purpose utility whereas a mobile optimised site will be better for the majority of your needs. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


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