Mobile-Optimized Site or Dedicated App? Determining What is Right for Your Business - Page 2
Money factors into two aspects of this decision: development costs and ease of sale. As far as development costs go, there is really no contest. Mobile-optimized sites generally cost a fraction of the cost to build a dedicated, custom application. In some cases, such as with sites built using popular CMS systems such as Wordpress, a site can be optimized for mobile for no cost at all. Developing an application is both more expensive and takes longer, thus if time is a consideration, a mobile-optimized site might win there as well.
That being said, if you wish to monetize your app or site, the dedicated app has some distinct advantages. For one, it will usually be located in an “app store” environment, where users pay for applications. These environments make payments very simple, often storing credit card information and offering one-click purchases and downloads. For mobile-optimized sites, the issue becomes more complex because payment is more difficult and less commonplace. Also, mobile-optimized sites can usually monetize only in the form of a subscription service or something similar, so monetization options are limited, as well. Manually entering credit card information on a website not supported by an app store can intimidate many people, meaning sales are already at a disadvantage.
It is important to remember that the concept of “best” is subjective, and all of these considerations should be adapted to meet your needs. Further, both apps and mobile-optimized sites are relatively new to the world, so there is plenty of room for innovation. By exploring the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the respective platforms, it is possible to reap maximum benefit while accounting for any issues along the way.