Mobile Sites and Apps – What's the Difference?

Mobile has exploded over recent years, and more people than ever access the web on their phones and tablets. You need to make sure you have a mobile presence for your business if you want to reach all of these potential customers, and there are two main ways to do that: through a mobile website and through an app.

So what's the difference?


Mobile Websites

Mobile sites are standard websites that have been adapted to be viewed on mobile devices. They are accessed by a standard internet browser like Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, just like you would access any other website.

Sometimes they are completely separate designs from your main website based on mobile templates. However, more commonly these days they are responsive designs, displaying differently depending on the size of the screen they are being viewed on. Such websites are accessible on any device that has an internet browser, whether using a mobile phone, tablet or standard computer.

Some of the main benefits of mobile websites include:

  • they are cost-effective because you do not have to update an app separately;
  • they are more convenient because there is just one version to update;
  • compatibility with any device gives them a greater reach.

Mobile Apps

Apps exploded onto the scene when Apple opened the iOS App Store in July 2008. These are native to particular operating systems, meaning they only work on certain phones. For example, if you have an Android phone, you will need to download the version of the app from the Google Play store. If you have an iPhone, you need the version from the App Store.

Companies often have two different apps, one for each store, and they will be slightly different. Some companies have numerous apps for various smaller operating systems. Apps can access the internet, and they make use of features of the device such as the camera or the microphone, which is different from most mobile websites.

Mobile App or Website?

Often, the answer is to use both mobile sites and mobile apps. However, this depends on your budget and the type of website you operate. A mobile website should be a definite, so make this the first thing to get. A website based on responsive design will allow people to get access to your site from any device so you won't have to worry about your site not being available.

However, an app can also be a good idea. At CSI Media, we can create an original app for your business, and this can give your brand greater visibility and provide a useful tool or service that you could not offer through your website.

Develop Your Mobile Presence

If you are unsure where to start, work on your mobile website first of all and get your mobile presence sorted out. Then if you want to provide something that a website cannot provide you with, like a specific tool, consider launching an app.

Just make sure you have the resources to launch the app and maintain it because a bad quality app that has not been properly thought through will rarely be worth the effort. Find out more about our App Development services!