Person with PDA handheld device. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Web 2.0 is happening all around us. Savvy business owners realize that their website not only needs to be browser ready, but that it should be mobile ready and optimized for different screen sizes. But even if you your site optimized for the mobile Web, should you still create a mobile app? Hint: The majority of mobile device users access the Web through apps.
The Mobile Boom
All you need to do is watch the statistics on Internet usage to realize that the mobile market is slowly but surely taking over and becoming the predominant way people get online. Many people worldwide are accessing the Web for the first time via a mobile device and smart phone and tablet sales continue to accelerate.
For some businesses, it may still be better to maintain mobile-optimized website rather than attempt to build a standalone application. For some companies, merely having a website that can be viewed easily on a smartphone or tablet will be enough. Others who seek more interaction, awareness, and engagement with customers may seriously consider the developing an app.
Speed and Accessibility
One of the first reasons a company would want to establish a mobile phone app is that these applications are definitely faster than a traditional browser page. These programs often operate in conjunction with other phone features and can be developed to operate independently of an Internet connection, which make for a more engaged user.
As mentioned before, apps allow for a level of interaction that is not typically present or expected of a website. You can create an app to give customers a broad overview of your business, focus on a particular service or feature of your company. For example, an auto shop might create an app allowing customers to make appointments from their phones or a business that sells goods might opt to streamline the sales process.
Build Your Brand
Just a few years ago, most users spent most of their day on browser-based sites rather than mobile apps, but that has completely reversed. More people are using mobile apps than they are using browser-based sites than ever before and that trend is likely to continue.
Mobile apps also offer a great way to promote and build your brand. They are cool. You can show you are on the cutting edge of technology, embracing the younger demographic, and are better positioned to capture growth online.
Are There Drawbacks to Having a Mobile App?
Remember, however, that your would-be customers or visitors must download any app that you create and will not just accidentally stumble across or browse an app like they would a website, so you should have some form of other presence that can adapt to a mobile phone and not rely solely on your app.
Mobile apps require a lot of programming and design work and can be costly to develop, so you need to be prepared for that added expense and really consider whether and how much your business would benefit. But just as chance favors the prepared mind, chance also favors the prepared business.
Ascent Internet, a St. George, Utah Web development and Internet marketing company, contributed this post. You can learn more about their services at AscentInternet.com.