Why you should build a responsive website — the benefits
The reasons you should build a responsive website instead of a mobile app are numerous:
▪ Responsive websites are less expensive to build. With a responsive website you build it once and it can be viewed on Android, iOS, and Windows devices (not to mention desktops and laptops). With a mobile app you have to build an app for each platform, multiplying your development costs.
▪ Responsive websites are faster to build. The app strategy frequently takes more time than an equivalent website since you have to build an app for each mobile platform.
▪ Responsive websites are easier to update. Most websites have a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, so that you can make updates to it yourself. With an app you’ll usually need a developer to make updates for you.
▪ Responsive websites are faster to update. Apps need to be approved before they can be listed in the app store, and they also need to be approved every time you make an update. That approval process can take up to two weeks.
▪ Tracking user activity is easier and more intuitive. There are many (free) solutions for tracking clicks and behavior for websites that haven’t yet made their way over to mobile apps.
The web — first strategy
One thing that I haven’t mentioned yet is that mobile apps tend to have a better user experience than an equivalent responsive website. Mobile apps are snappier when you tap on things. They look more like other apps on the same device. And they’re more familiar and friendlier than viewing a website on a mobile device. Mobile apps should be better on mobile devices, because they’re hand-crafted for a particular platform as opposed to the one-size-fits-all solution with a responsive website. The extra time and expense of mobile apps does come with benefits.
However, if you have neither a mobile app nor a responsive website, the website is the place to start. Responsive websites are faster and cheaper to build, you’ll be able to put it in front of your customers faster and at less expense, and if changes need to be made to the website (and there are always changes to be made) they’re easier to make on the website than on a mobile app.
A responsive website gives you most of the benefits of a mobile app at a fraction of the cost. And, if your website proves to be popular, you’ll have the perfect roadmap for your mobile app. The mistakes you made will have been far less costly then they would have been with the mobile app. And, if you already have a responsive website and then choose to build a mobile app on a single platform, you’ll still have a backup solution for people using other platforms.
This is the second post in a two-part series. You can read the first post here.
Learn about Scott, his developer expertise and see examples of his work, at scottblaine.com.