As more and more mobile smart phones can be bought, the buzz around mobile apps gets ever louder. So, every business should rush out and get a mobile app developed - right? Perhaps not.
The low-down on mobile apps and mobile websites.
We should get the definitions out of the way. Mobile apps are basically small applications that you download and run using your feature phone or smart phone. An app will run locally on your own handset and may or might not access services on the net to update and refresh the content that's displayed. As opposed, a mobile web site is basically a slimmed down version of a normal website that's optimised for that smaller display area that's conventional feature phones and smartphone's. Mobile websites are generally accessed via a browser application on your handset.
Which one must i choose for my business?
Well, to begin with, mobile apps are cool and thanks to the Apple iPhone and Operating system app stores, they are easier than ever to access and download. You need to develop a different type of your app for each and every major mobile operating system though - about Four to five of those at the moment.
Conversely, a properly designed mobile website can be looked at on pretty much any mobile which has web access. You simply can't do as much with them as you could by having an app though, since they rely on web technologies , nor have access to all the fancy built-in-features make fish an app running natively on the handset will have - such things as the camera, GPS module, address book. There's always a catch.
The best option will depend on your business. We can not give you the answer, but we can easily hopefully give you some helpful advice before you go spending any of that critical marketing budget. Overlook the hype, forget about the cool factor, and consider the following important points before you make your decision - Need. Audience. Budget.
Will i really need a mobile app or mobile website?
Before starting out, it's worth recording your list of reasons for creating a mobile app or mobile website on your business. Think about what you wish to achieve and what you wish your product to do.
Are you currently trying to create a potential new revenue stream? Do you need new ways to market your business? Are you targeting other businesses or consumers? How do customers access your existing products and services? Will your products display interactive content or might it be used as a static information portal? The frequency of which will you be updating content? Which content will you be displaying? Is your product fun or unique? Can it always require throttle?
We could go on and on but ultimately it isn't a question of whether you need a mobile app or mobile website. Rather, it is more about what is best for your company and we can only give some guidelines.
Unless you already have a website or have been in the middle of building one, ask your web developers to build it so that it will be optmised for mobile. It may require an extra outlay but will be less costly than beginning from scratch.
If your existing website is relatively static but want to enhance your online presence and obtain the benefits of mobile advertising, think about mobile website. Guests coming from mobile ad clicks will receive a good first impression of your business when they are presented with easily readable information formatted nicely for their mobile phone.
If your strategy is for fun, is highly interactive, is supposed as a standalone marketing device or revenue generator, was created to be used offline, or requires users to regularly access large video or media files it in all probability makes more sense to go along the mobile app route.
Who will be the audience for my mobile app or mobile website?
If we talk about audience, were referring to two very separate ideas - the target market for your business and also the overall set of folks that can actually access mobile apps and mobile optimised websites.
To begin with, think about your existing subscriber base and how they currently communicate with your business through your website, Nourishes, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profile. Since smart phones will only become more plus more prevalent, a mobile app or website provides you with a good platform to develop on existing customer relationships and extend your reach to a population that's becoming increasingly mobile.
If the main aim is always to increase your profile and presence in the mobile space, it's a wise idea to start off by taking good thing about existing technologies. If artists are using Facebook on their mobile and click a link on your Fanpage to learn more, its a good bet that unless your page loads using some seconds and displays well, they will give up and go elseware pretty fast. Main point here - best to be sure any pages you link to from your social media sites load quickly, display relevant information, and appear good on mobile.
The advantage of a mobile web site is it's large audience reach. A website that is properly optimised for mobile should display well around the majority of feature phones and smartphone's that are web-enabled. However, when you move into the realm of apps, things turned into a whole lot different. Since apps are generally confined to smart phones, your target audience is narrowed on the phones or platform(s) your application is designed to run on as well as the percentage of people actively using each platform.
Our main advice for you here is before going down the app route, think about the size of your own potential business audience to see how many of them are while using 5 major smartphone operating systems: iOS (iPhone), Android, Blackberry OS, Symbian (Nokia), and Windows. By doing this, you will get a good feel for how many versions associated with an app you should potentially develop.
Simply how much should I budget for a mobile app or mobile website?
Answer: How much time is a piece of string? There actually is no easy answer to this. It'll come down to exactly what you wish to achieve and what you need your site or app so that you can do and ultimately individual preference get to do it. It could be unfair to even give guide prices but what we can say is that any prices you're quoted should be grounded in reality.
If your site is determined by WordPress or some similar 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 shouldn't be that difficult or costly, assuming it's mostly static content. If it has more dynamic happy with lots of bells and whistles, don't be tempted to just replicate each page. Limit your web site to the pages that can transfer well to smaller mobile screens.
About the mobile app side, the price can range from hundreds to a huge number, depending on the complexity of the app and the variety of platforms it will be produced for. There are sites on the web where you can create basic apps totally free but these will typically be limited by a predefined list of templates that allow minimal modifications. Some might also charge for hosting content that's something to watch out for.