As more and more mobile smart phones are sold, the buzz around mobile phone applications gets ever louder. So, watch should rush out and acquire a mobile app developed - right? Not.
The low-down on mobile phone applications and mobile websites.
We should get the definitions taken care of. Mobile apps are basically small applications that you download and run on your feature phone or cell phone. An app will run locally on your own handset and may or may well not access services on the web to update and refresh this article that's displayed. As opposed, a mobile web site is basically a slimmed down version of a normal website that's optimised for the smaller display area that's conventional feature phones and smart phones. Mobile websites are generally accessed via a browser application in your handset.
Which one can i choose for my business?
Well, first off, mobile apps are cool and because of the Apple iPhone and Google Android app stores, they are easier than ever to access and download. You simply must develop a different form of your app for each major mobile main system though - about Four or five of those at the moment.
However, a properly designed mobile website can be seen on pretty much any mobile that has web access. You simply can't do as much together as you could having an app though, since they rely on web technologies , nor have access to all the fancy built-in-features that the app running natively on your own handset will have - such things as the camera, GPS module, address book. You can a catch.
The best option will depend on your business. We can not give you the answer, but we are able to hopefully give you some advice before you go spending any one of that critical marketing budget. Ignore the hype, forget about the cool factor, and think about the following important points before you make your decision - Need. Audience. Budget.
Do I really need a mobile app or mobile website?
Before beginning out, it's worth listing your list of reasons behind creating a mobile app or mobile website on your business. Think about what you wish to achieve and what you would like your product to do.
Are you currently trying to create a potential new revenue stream? Are you searching for new ways to promote your business? Are you targeting other businesses or consumers? How do customers access your products and services? Will your products display interactive content or should it be used as a static information portal? The frequency of which will you be updating content? Which kind of content will you be displaying? Is your product fun or unique? Does it always require access to the internet?
We could go on and on but ultimately it's not a question of whether you need a mobile app or mobile website. Rather, it's really down to what is best for your company and we can only give some guidelines.
Unless you already have a website or are in the middle of building one, ask your web developers to build it in a way that it will be optmised for mobile. It might require an extra outlay and definitely will be less costly than beginning from scratch.
If your existing web site is relatively static but want to enhance your online presence and obtain the benefits of mobile advertising, look at a mobile website. Site visitors coming from mobile ad clicks will receive good first impression of the business when they are presented with easily readable information formatted nicely for their mobile phone.
If your product is for fun, is highly interactive, is meant as a standalone marketing tool or revenue generator, was created to be used offline, or requires users to regularly access large video or media files it probably makes more sense to go down the mobile app route.
Who will be the audience for my mobile app or mobile website?
Whenever we talk about audience, we have been referring to two very separate ideas - the prospective market for your business as well as the overall set of people who can actually access mobile phone applications and mobile optimised websites.
To start with, think about your existing usage and how they currently communicate with your business through your website, Nourishes, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profile. Since smartphone's will only become more and much more prevalent, a mobile app or website provides you with a good platform to create on existing customer relationships and extend easy reach to a population that is becoming increasingly mobile.
In case your main aim is always to increase your profile and presence within the mobile space, it's a wise decision to start off by taking advantage of existing technologies. If are featured Facebook on their mobile and click on a link on your Fanpage to learn more, its a good bet that unless your page loads in some seconds and displays well, they'll give up and go elsewhere pretty fast. Net profit - best to be sure any pages you link to from your social media sites load quickly, display relevant information, and search good on mobile.
The advantage of a mobile website is it's large audience reach. A website that is properly optimised for mobile should display well on the majority of feature phones and mobile phones that are web-enabled. However, once you move into the realm of apps, things become a whole lot different. Since apps are mainly confined to smart phones, your audience is narrowed towards the phones or platform(s) you is designed to run on and the percentage of people actively using each platform.
Our main advice to you personally here is before going on the app route, look at the size of your own potential business audience and find out how many of them are while using 5 major smart phone operating systems: iOS (iPhone), Android, Blackberry OS, Symbian (Nokia), and Windows. Using this method, you will get a good sense of how many versions associated with an app you should potentially develop.
The amount should I budget for a mobile app or mobile website?
Answer: The length of time is a piece of string? There really isn't any easy answer to this. It's going to come down to exactly what you need to achieve and what you want your site or app so that you can do and ultimately which team you get to do it. It might be unfair to even give guide prices what we can say is that any prices you are quoted should be grounded actually.
If your site is depending on WordPress or some similar website cms, there may be free or low-cost plugins offered to display the pages optimised for mobile. If your main website was built using recent technologies like xhtml and css, optimising it for mobile mustn't be that difficult or costly, assuming it's got mostly static content. If it has more dynamic happy with lots of bells and whistles, you shouldn't be tempted to just replicate each page. Limit your web site to the pages that may transfer well to smaller mobile screens.
About the mobile app side, the expense can range from hundreds to countless amounts, depending on the complexity with the app and the quantity of platforms it will be produced for. There are sites on the net where you can create basic apps for free but these will typically be tied to a predefined group of templates that allow minimal modifications. Some may also charge for hosting content that is something to watch out for.