As more and more mobile smart phones are offered, the buzz around mobile apps gets ever louder. So, look at should rush out and get a mobile app developed - right? Maybe not.
The low-down on mobile apps and mobile websites.
Let us get the definitions off the beaten track. Mobile apps are basically small applications which you download and operate on your feature phone or smart phone. An app will run locally in your handset and may or may not access services on the net to update and refresh this content that's displayed. In comparison, a mobile website is basically a slimmed down type of a normal website that's optimised for your smaller display area that's conventional feature phones and mobile phones. Mobile websites are usually accessed via a browser application on your own handset.
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Which one can i choose for my business?
Well, first off, mobile apps are cool and because of the Apple iPhone and Operating system app stores, they are easier than ever to access and download. You will have to develop a different version of your app per major mobile operating-system though - about Four to five of those at the moment.
On the other hand, a properly designed mobile website can be looked at on pretty much any mobile containing web access. You can't do as much with them as you could having an app though, simply because they rely on web technologies and don't have access to all the fancy built-in-features make fish an app running natively on the handset will have - things the camera, GPS module, address book. There's always a catch.
The best option will depend on your business. We can not give you the answer, but we are able to hopefully give you some advice before you go spending any one of that critical marketing budget. Overlook the hype, forget about the cool factor, and think about the following important points before you make your decision - Need. Audience. Budget.
Do I really need a mobile app or mobile website?
Before commencing out, it's worth listing your list of reasons behind creating a mobile app or mobile website to your business. Think about what you need to achieve and what you wish your product to do.
Have you been trying to create a potential new revenue stream? Are you looking for new ways to market business? Are you targeting other companies or consumers? How do customers access your current products and services? Will your product or service display interactive content or should it be used as a static information portal? How frequently will you be updating content? Which content will you be displaying? Is your product fun or unique? Could it always require throttle?
We could go on and on but ultimately it's not a question of whether you need a mobile app or mobile website. Rather, it's really down to what is best for your organization and we can only give some guidelines.
Unless you already have a website or will be in the middle of building one, ask your web developers to build it in such a way that it will be optmised for mobile. It may well require an extra outlay and can be less costly than starting from scratch.
If your existing web site is relatively static but want to enhance your online presence and acquire the benefits of mobile advertising, consider a mobile website. Site visitors coming from mobile ad clicks will receive good first impression of the business when they are given easily readable information formatted nicely because of their mobile phone.
If your method is for fun, is highly interactive, was created as a standalone marketing strategy or revenue generator, was designed to be used offline, or requires users to regularly access large video or media files it probably makes more sense to go along the mobile app route.
Who will be the audience for my mobile app or mobile website?
When we talk about audience, we're referring to two very separate ideas - the prospective market for your business as well as the overall set of people who can actually access mobile apps and mobile optimised websites.
First off, think about your existing client base and how they currently talk with your business through your website, Bottles, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profile. Since smartphones will only become more plus much more prevalent, a mobile app or website provides you with a good platform to create on existing customer relationships and extend your reach to a population that is certainly becoming increasingly mobile.
If your main aim is always to increase your profile and presence inside the mobile space, it's a wise idea to start off by taking good thing about existing technologies. If popular bands are using Facebook on their mobile and click a link on your Fanpage to find out more, its a good bet that unless your page loads in some seconds and displays well, they'll give up and turn away pretty fast. Bottom line - best to make sure any pages you connect to from your social media sites load quickly, display relevant information, and search good on mobile.
The main benefit of a mobile website is it's large audience reach. A web site that is properly optimised for mobile should display well for the majority of feature phones and smartphones that are web-enabled. However, whenever you move into the realm of apps, things turned into a whole lot different. Since apps are mainly confined to smart phones, your market is narrowed on the phones or platform(s) the application is designed to run on as well as the percentage of people actively using each platform.
Our main advice to you here is before going around the app route, think about the size of your own potential business audience and discover how many of them are while using the 5 major mobile phone operating systems: iOS (iPhone), Android, Blackberry OS, Symbian (Nokia), and Windows. As a result, you will get a good feel for how many versions of your app you should potentially develop.
The amount should I budget for a mobile app or mobile website?
Answer: How long is a piece of string? There actually is no easy answer to this. It's going to come down to exactly what you would like to achieve and what you need your site or app as a way to do and ultimately which team you get to do it. It will be unfair to even give guide prices but what we can say is that any prices you might be quoted should be grounded the truth is.
If your site is according to WordPress or some similar website cms, there may be free or low-cost plugins available to display the pages optimised for mobile. If your main website was built using recent technologies like xhtml and css, optimising it for mobile should not be that difficult or costly, assuming it's mostly static content. If it has more dynamic quite happy with lots of bells and whistles, don't be tempted to just replicate each page. Limit your site to the pages which will transfer well to smaller mobile screens.
For the mobile app side, the expenses can range from hundreds to countless amounts, depending on the complexity in the app and the amount of platforms it will be made for. There are sites on the web where you can create basic apps totally free but these will typically be limited by a predefined list of templates that allow minimal modifications. Some may also charge for hosting content that's something to watch out for.