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Website or mobile app?

Given a choice, it is almost always better to offer digital services via a website instead of a mobile application (app). A website is cheaper and easier to maintain, and a lot more people will see the content.

If you build your site according to the principles of responsive design, that one site can be served to desktop screens, tablets and smartphones – with the layout automatically optimized for the screen size of the device it is being viewed on.

Thanks to this one‑website‑fits‑all approach, your content can be accessed by the widest audience possible no matter what device they are using.

 

Why a website is better:

  • Cheaper: Only one site needs to be developed. Developing an app is more expensive, because you need a different app for each mobile platform (Apple, Android, etc.).
  • Easier to maintain: A website in a responsive design can be easily maintained in-house with standard web publishing tools. Updates to content can be made immediately. Updating an app requires additional development by a contractor. Then the app must be re‑validated by the app store, which can take weeks. An app needs to be tested every time there is a change to a mobile operating system (which happens at least once a year).
  • Easier to find: The entire content of a website is indexed directly by search engines so it can all be easily found. An app is more difficult to find, and only its app store page is indexed by search engines.
  • Less competition: A mobile app is in constant competition with other apps for a user's attention. The average smartphone user has 41 apps installed on their phone, but 51% of them only use 1 to 5 apps per week. One quarter of downloaded apps are opened once and then never again.
  • Easier to monitor: Website analytics provide many metrics indicating how visitors use a site. It is more difficult to measure app usage apart from the number of downloads.