App, Website or Both? What Should You Choose for Your Business?

If you take a step back (many steps in this case) and try to understand the Internet eco-system as a layman, it is simple to understand.

Imagine a busy marketplace or a shopping complex; there are many shops offering a variety of products and services and there are a bunch of people roaming around, looking to buy products or avail the services offered.

Three levels

Now this shopping arcade is divided into three levels – The first floor is called the Web, the second floor is called Mobile Web (some people like to call it WAP), and the third floor is called Mobile apps. These levels are similar to each other in their organic functionality – they all provide the same kind of products and services! However, they differ in the layout. I think it’s simple to understand so far.

Interaction experience on all three levels differs to various degrees depending on what a user is seeking. And here comes the first complication – Some people like to shop on the first floor, others are more comfortable on the remaining two. People also have a weird tendency to switch back and forth on all three levels depending on their mood and other personal preferences. Some would even want to be present on all three levels simultaneously!

This makes things complicated for shop owners, however. They are now faced with a difficult question – Which levels to choose to conduct your business?


People with money and resources can choose to be present at all three levels and invest equally on all three of them thus create an opportunity for driving maximum profits home.

People with limited money and resources such as small businesses or start-ups have to think and compare all three levels and check user behavior on all of them before making their decisions – They can either invest all of their resources and money in one big store on just one level or they can go for multiple stores with varying degree of investments on different levels. Sometimes it becomes confusing for startups and small businesses.

The market is volatile and highly competitive these days. Trends vary like the wind. User behavior is unpredictable and largely unclear. Then there are the big players that take away the big chunk of traffic (customers). Small businesses and start-ups are pushed on being creative and find innovative ways to survive.

This post aims at bringing clarity to the question faced by so many of us – App, website or both? What should you choose for your business?

Suffice it to say that you have to have a solid presence on the web in order to survive in today’s market. SEO, SMO, and PPC are your friends to assist you in this.

The question then now focuses on mobile web vs app. Let’s have a look at some stats to understand this better.

Total Time vs. Total Traffic

The total time spent on mobile apps is MUCH greater than what’s spent on the mobile web. Yet, mobile web wins on the total traffic!


This means people are using mobile web for initiating new searches or for accomplishing small one-time tasks such as looking for new information. For tasks that are regular in nature, people prefer mobile apps.

Another important factor could be the overall usability and experience. Mobile apps have greater resources and overall space than the mobile web to provide added benefits over it. It then all must come down to the user experience. Users are more likely to stick to the platform (whether it’s mobile web or an app) where a user gets better functionality and overall experience for a particular task.

Growth Rate

If we talk in terms of absolute raw traffic, mobile web is about two times bigger than a mobile app and is growing at a much faster pace than its counterpart. So, Mobile web wins here!


On putting mobile web against its desktop counterpart, we saw a huge rise in desktop traffic up until 2010. Some weird thing happened around this time and desktop traffic has plateaued ever since. Guess what that “weird thing” can be? Well, you’re right. It’s the arrival and mass dominance of smartphones. Mobile web triumphs again!

And do you know the reason why smartphones are so convenient! You’re basically carrying a desktop in your pocket. Why then you’d take the pains to go to a real desktop and waste your time!


Well, it is clear that mobile web is as essential as the web for a company’s survival. Mobile apps are still a luxury that you must have if you can afford it. It has yet not crossed the borders to become an absolute necessity.

However, don’t take our word for it! There are many instances where companies have focused on mobile app than mobile web simply because of the nature of the product or service they offer (examples: Uber, Facebook), or because of the business model and strategy they have chosen to adopt or because of the fact that mobile apps are much more capable than the web when it comes to sheer functionality and power & resource hungry operations. Mobile web is yet to develop and reach the versatility mobile apps have mastered in the little time they have been around. Google is working on bringing some of it on Chrome for mobile.

Working on your mobile web presence

Mobile web operates differently than the web for the desktop. This demands you optimize for the mobile web if you want to stay relevant. Here are the things you need to focus upon:

  1. Your website must have a responsive or adaptive design. This is inescapable after “Mobilegeddon” update from Google.
  2. Better optimization for different networks. Not everyone is on 4G or LTE, your website needs to load fast.
  3. Mobile web is also going to witness many changes in the upcoming time as Google begins to roll out its latest update. Amongst the changes, the major ones would be further developments in notifications and GCMs similar to what we have on the mobile app, so you also want to prepare for the same.
This article is written by Sumity Paul. She is a freelance content writer and writes for a variety of online publications. She is fond of writing content on different trendy topics. Content Ref: ibaroody.

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Published By: Souvik Banerjee

Souvik BanerjeeWeb Developer & SEO Specialist with 15+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".