What Are The Differences Between A Mobile App And A Mobile Optimised Website?

Author:sammy loveridge 
5 Minute Read

  • Website Design
  • Ecommerce
  • UX/UI

Something we get asked regularly is why a business should choose a mobile app over a mobile optimised website. Well, in an ideal world you wouldn’t – you’d have both! But if you really do have to decide one over the other, you should find the information below useful.

What are the differences between a mobile app and a mobile optimised website?

A mobile website is a website that’s built purely for mobile devices – Not to be confused with responsive websites which are designed to adapt to different platforms and adjust to different screen sizes. Mobile websites can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call and location-based mapping.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, are applications which are downloaded and installed on a mobile device. Apps can pull content from the internet (much like a website) or it can download content so it can be accessed offline.

Benefits of a mobile website


Mobile optimised websites are more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages than those that are not. This can result in greater brand visibility and increased website traffic.

Broader audience reach

A mobile website has a greater reach capability than a mobile app as it can be accessed across platforms. A mobile app on the other hand, has to be searched for and downloaded.


Mobile websites are generally considered to be more cost-effective than apps. However, depending on what your end goal might be, we recommend evaluating all the factors.

Easier to update

Making changes to your mobile website will likely be easier and quicker than updating your mobile app. Once the update has been made, it’s simply published and immediately visible. For your mobile app, updates involve more technical ability and need to be downloaded by the user.

Benefits of a mobile app

Branding opportunities

Since a mobile app is separate from a website, an organisation has the opportunity to offer a slightly different brand experience to their users. Even when branding remains the same, you’ll be offering users a different way to interact with your brand.

Push notifications

Push notifications give you another method in which to communicate with your users, and what’s not great about that.

Native functionality

A native app can interface with a device’s features and hardware such as GPS and the camera. This can add to the user’s experience, particularly for retail apps.

Customer Engagement

Many apps today are built for a specific purpose and are therefore designed for that purpose – be it for convenience or to solve a problem. Also, because they’re run with their own interface environment, apps can enable users to be more immersed in the mobile experience.

Offline access

Mobile apps have the ability to run without internet connection. While many will still require internet connectivity to perform some tasks, they can still offer content and functionality to users even when they’re offline. This enables your users to access your information anywhere, anytime.

So which is the better option?

As mobile continues to grow in popularity and users expect more from their experience, it’s vital for organisations to consider their mobile presence. Ultimately, choosing between a mobile app and mobile website will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If your goals are to deliver content, increase your mobile presence and be found easily on search engines, then a mobile website may be better for you. Alternatively, if your goal is to utilise native functions such as GPS, or provide a unique experience, then a mobile app may be the answer.

If you’ve got an idea but aren’t sure which solution is right for you, please give us a call and we’d be happy to help you make the right decision.

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