07 Apr To App or not to App?
Recent changes to Google’s algorithm will penalize sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. What does that mean for those who run a website? Make sure your site is either responsive or has an M dot version or you’ll be sorry. Don’t do anything and your competitors will surely benefit.
The first thing this indicates to professionals in the field is that Responsive Web Design (RWD) has definitely crossed the threshold of a “nice to have” for clients and is a “must-have” without a doubt. RWD really isn’t that old – Ethan Marcotte literally wrote the book in 2011 and we’ve been following his direction ever since. It’s still not perfect, but it’s getting there.
The second thing this tells us is that being mobile just isn’t something we do in between bouts of desktop – it’s what we do ALL THE TIME. We are mobile everywhere and at all times of the day. Our mobile phones are our lifeline in all sorts of everyday tasks.
More than ever before, the importance of mobile accessibility is front and centre. And a recent statistic from Flurry provides us with some additional insight: more than 80% of smartphone use is spent in apps.
So, why are we concentrating so much effort on RWD if we should be building an app?!?
Well, some additional insight into WHAT apps are being used tell us that 80% of mobile app use is spent on only 5 apps. Unless you think you’ll break into the top 5, then you should probably save your App money and invest in a mobile-friendly website experience instead. Even though only 20% of mobile use is in-browser, we are at the point where average websites will receive 35% mobile/tablet traffic.
Why are there so many percentages in this article??!!??
Ultimately the numbers don’t matter. Your website NEEDS to be mobile-friendly, no doubt about it. However, deciding to create a app or not should be driven by some additional considerations:
- What will an app to do for your business that your website can’t?
- Will it offer something that will keep it in a users’ top 5?
- Will you be able to maintain and update it to keep it interesting?
- Do you have the budget to develop an app for at least the 2 top platforms (iOS and Android)?
If you get past question #1, then you’re well on your way, but ultimately that’s where most fall short.
Most of the time your website will do the trick!