July 30, 2021 • Knowledge, Business

Website or Mobile App. Which to invest when you start a new business?

Website or Mobile App. Which to invest when you start a new business?

As we witness the rapid advancement of technology in almost every aspect of life,  one of the most affected sectors by technological advances is the business sector.

Now that many startups and digital businesses have emerged, offering convenience to our lives. Their various innovations are included in the form of a website or mobile apps.

But there is one thing that is frequently asked by business owners when they are just starting a company. Which should come first when starting a business, building a website, or a mobile app?

Websites vs. mobile apps will always be a debate in establishing a digital business. Sometimes this can leave a business owner feeling puzzled.

Given that this is a crucial decision that has significant consequences for the future of the business. Circling mainly on the number of users, revenue, and overall product success.

“When should I use the website?”

“Do I need to build a mobile app?”

“When starting a business, what platform do I focus on first?”

“Which is more suitable for my business? Website or mobile apps?”

This article will answer your questions above. It will guide those of you who are just starting a business and unsure to choose between a website or a mobile app.

Let’s jump right in.



Popularity of Websites and Mobile Apps

The trend of using websites and mobile apps has grown significantly. According to data from echoinnovateIT, smartphone users are expected to increase to 3.8 billion users by the end of 2021.

The use of smartphones is still dominated by accessing websites and downloading mobile apps. Thus, the popularity of websites and mobile apps inspires many startups to develop them.

This is the right time to build your website or mobile app for those who want to start a business. It will influence the development of your business as well as boost business income.



Website and Mobile Apps Usage Statistics

Based on data from appinventiv, the technology industry, particularly application companies, could be worth up to USD 190 million by the year 2020. Here are the statistics on the use of websites and mobile apps:

In the pie chart above, you can see that users prefer to use websites and mobile apps at separate times according to their needs.

While in the bar chart above, it is known that users spend most of their time on mobile apps rather than websites. From this, we can see user favorites for mobile apps compared to websites.

The same data also shows that websites can reach more audiences than mobile apps. However, mobile apps are used twice as much as websites.



What is a Website?

A website is a bunch of pages in an internet domain that users can reach through a browser. The website is developed to be used on various devices and operating systems.

With these properties, you cannot download websites on smartphones. You only need to visit the website URL to be able to access the website you mean.

The objective of developing a website is to convey information to users. The admin or website manager writes information through the website page, and website visitors can read it.

Visitors cannot add information to the website. However, at least visitors can still do something in it such as giving comments, sharing news content or posts, and so on. There is still interaction between website owners and visitors there, although indirectly.



Advantages of Using the Website

The advantages of using a website when starting a business are as follows:


Websites offer broader compatibility for users. The aim is for a company to develop a website to improve the user experience on various devices.

Compare this with mobile apps that must be built separately for devices with different OS, Android or iOS. Which of course, will affect the overall user experience.


Websites are superior in reaching audiences to mobile applications because of their multi-device support. Websites do not require much effort to get a vast audience.

This is relevant to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because almost everyone uses the internet to find something through a search engine.

By developing a search engine-friendly website, it will be easier for your business to get new visitors. Especially for a new business, exposure from visitors is needed.

The more users who visit your website, the more information you can get to grow the future. In return, the website wins in reaching a likely audience.


Maintenance & Support

As explained shortly above, the website does not require a download and install process like a mobile app. This also applies when you update the website.

Users do not need to re-download the app when an update is available. Thus, it is offhand for you to accomplish the update without bothering the users.

Once all updates are active, users will see them immediately on their devices to access the website. It’s that simple.



Disadvantages of Using Websites

Behind the advantages, there are obstacles to using a website when starting a business. They are:


The convenience of accessing the website cannot be compared to when using a mobile app. The website is not designed to maximize the smartphone’s built-in features.

Features such as camera, GPS, microphone, etc., may not work optimally on most websites. This will undoubtedly add to the incapability in terms of convenience.

While with mobile apps, you can loosely use the built-in features to maximize application performance. For example, you are using a camera to scan barcodes.


Personalization & Interaction

We don’t mean to be cynical, but fitting a giant web page into a small device screen is tricky. Even if it is possible, it will affect the UI of the website.

There will be some features that are reduced or even inaccessible, and this will limit user interaction. If this is the case, the user experience in using the website is not optimal.

On the other hand, mobile apps can afford a much better user experience because it allows users to personalize and interact directly.



As we all know, you cannot access the website when offline. In other words, it demands a network connection to work.

This can be a problem when the user cannot use the network but needs to access the website right away. With the mobile app, you don’t have to experience this kind of trouble.

The mobile app can be used offline even though you cannot use it optimally without the aid of the internet network.



What is a Mobile App?

Mobile apps are software developed to be used on mobile devices. In short, any app that can run smoothly on your smartphone or tablet is called a mobile app.

The mobile app serves to manifest the primary services and facilities offered by the company to users. Mobile apps are individual with limited functionality, depending on what the app has to offer.

Users need to install mobile apps into their smartphones which require storage space. Mobile apps need to be downloaded through app stores, such as the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.



Advantages of Using Mobile Apps

Using mobile apps for business goals has several advantages, including:


Mobile apps have dictated the tech world for the past decade and are increasingly focused on user experience. Mobile apps have become a part of human life.

They offer quick loading times, adequate performance but with ease of use in mind. With mobile apps, the way we work has changed to be more practical and straightforward. Previously unimaginable innovations also mostly come from the availability of mobile apps.



One crucial point that makes mobile apps above websites is personalization. The mobile app is built in such a way as to adapt to the personalities of its users.

Users can make changes to how they use the app. Starting from managing incoming notifications, how they log in to customizing the user’s preferred theme mode.

Mobile apps also allow users to save helpful information, or even share things on social media. All of these highlights can overly intensify the user experience.



In opposition to websites, mobile apps can be used both online and offline without any significant problems. This is because the mobile app is not an adaptation of something that has existed before.

They are, however, ultimately new products developed to be able to run offline. This is an asset and means that you can use it in places where there is no internet network.

In addition, various technological shifts can be implemented in mobile apps and are not possible for websites. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of them.



Disadvantages of Using Mobile Apps

On the other hand, using a mobile app also has some shortcomings. They are:

Maintenance & Support

Bugs are one of the dreadful scourges in developing both websites and mobile apps. Fixing bugs is a necessity for every developer if they don’t want their products to be stranded.

Regular updates include bug fixes and the addition of new features that weren’t there before. However, there are differences when doing maintenance on websites and mobile apps.

In mobile apps, a new update means the user will have to manually update the app. While on the website, updates are done in a much simpler way.

Developers can perform it without requiring any action from the user. Keep in mind that many users don’t want to be bothered with all sorts of recurrent updates every week or month.



As we already know, mobile apps are built to be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sadly, the technology applied to mobile devices is developing so fast.

Each improvement means that there will be new adjustments to be made. App developers have to scramble to keep their apps up to date with the latest technology standards.

Despite the efforts, sometimes developers cannot apprehend this. Some mobile devices may not support mobile apps due to different versions or platforms.

This is a disadvantage. Imagine if many users stopped using your app because their device no longer supports your app.



Differences between Websites and Mobile Apps

You already know the advantages and disadvantages of websites and mobile apps. However if you are still unsure, here we present the points that distinguish websites and mobile applications:

  • The website does not require a download process to be used. You can use it from both desktop and mobile devices. While mobile apps need to be downloaded from the app store and developed by a mobile app development company.
  • The website is not very pleasant when used, especially on mobile devices. It requires adjustments to the website’s original content on the device screen. While the mobile app is specially made to be used comfortably on small screen devices.
  • Websites are often used to reach new users or convey pieces of information to the audience. While the mobile app functions to be used at any time because it is stored on local storage. Therefore, the daily visits of mobile apps are higher than websites.
  • The website has a more candid updating process due to the automated process. While on mobile apps, there are constant application updates.
  • The location of data storage on the website is stored on the webserver. Meanwhile, all data belonging to the mobile app is stored on the mobile device itself.
  • Websites are developed involving a different security approach compared to mobile apps. While the mobile app is equipped with various security tools that make it more secure. Eventually, different development approaches affect the overall app security sector.



Tips for Choosing Website vs. Mobile Apps

The debate between websites or mobile apps can be complicated for business owners. To not be perplexed, we provide a guide for you on using the website and using the mobile app.

Want to Reach More Users?

When it comes to reaching more users, a website will always be the best choice. Based on data from appinventiv, 21% of Google Search traffic comes from mobile devices.

While the remaining 79% comes from desktop devices, the same data also shows that iOS-based mobile apps reach 21% more users than Android apps.

“For business owners, websites are always a better choice than mobile apps to reach more users.”


Do You Have Many User Visits?

If your app is visited by users more than five times a week, consider using a mobile app. It aims to maintain or even increase regular visits.

But the thing to pay attention to is to make sure your mobile app has tremendous performance. Poor app performance can affect the user experience.

“If your app is capable of being visited by users more than five times a day, using a mobile app is the right choice.”


Will it be using Device Features?

You cannot use built-in device features such as cameras, GPS, or cellular calls on the website. Mobile apps can provide a different user experience utilizing these features.

Indeed, technological advances on websites allow you to access these features with the help of NodeJS, the Geolocation API, and so on. But the experience is undoubtedly different.

“If you need to use the built-in features of the device, the mobile app is an absolute choice.”


Do You Need Loading Speed?

Assuredly, mobile apps are much more agile in terms of loading speed compared to websites. This is because the mobile app stores its data locally.

Unlike websites, mobile apps do not require data transfer from server to client. Of course, this makes the experience of using mobile apps more delightful.

“If loading speed is your concern, using a mobile app is the answer.”


Can it be Used Offline?

There are times where you can not find the internet network. For example, when traveling to the summit of a mountain or distant places, that’s when the offline mode appears.

If you want to avoid situations like this, then a mobile app is the only correct choice. Mobile apps are built in such a way that you can use them offline or can download data for online use.

“The versatility of mobile apps can be a solution for those of you who want something that can be used both online and offline.”


Will Apps Be Updated Frequently?

If the answer is yes, then first develop a new website followed by a mobile app. The reason is because developers can do updates on the website in real-time.

Unlike the mobile app, when a new update appears, users will need to update the app on their device. As we already stated, this is inconvenient for some users.

“Real-time updates to the website give it an edge over mobile apps.”



Use Both, Why Not?

You already know the advantages and disadvantages of websites and mobile apps. We have also given tips on deciding between a website or a mobile app.

Are you still uncertain about making a decision? Why not use both? To get optimal results in running a business, combining the two may be the right choice.

If you notice, many popular startups in Indonesia have fortuitously integrated websites and mobile apps. For example, Tokopedia developed a website first before introducing a mobile app.

From there, the perks you can get when coupling a website and a mobile app includes:


More Integrated Data

Website plays a huge role in increasing user acquisition to use the app. Meanwhile, the mobile app plays a role in enhancing user engagement.

In general, users should first know your app, what it does, and how it works. Avoid forcing users to download a mobile app when they are not familiar with your app.

Use the website to collect relevant information about users during the acquisition process. Starting from user profiles, transaction history to information preferences.

This will make it more straightforward for you to develop mobile apps according to user preferences. So that when the mobile app is launched, users do not need to linger to adapt.


Know Users Better

The second benefit that you can feel when using websites and mobile apps at the same time is the efficiency of getting to know users better. Users are the key for a business to grow or go out of business.

Therefore, you must preserve user trust. One way is to develop a website first to build user trust gradually.

The users’ trust in your website will make them willingly provide their data or information. You need this data to build mobile apps.

When users already consider that their data is safe in your hands, they will download your mobile app voluntarily. That way, user engagement when using mobile apps will grow.


One-Stop Service

Do you remember when WhatsApp didn’t have a service that allowed users to access it via a desktop browser? Yes, many users have complained and demanded the availability of WhatsApp Web.

Why is that? Because during working hours, many people are not handy with smartphones and tend to be active on desktop devices. WhatsApp is extensively used to communicate with other parties.

For example, to contact clients or answer messages from customers. In the end, WhatsApp decided to build a website that allows users to use WhatsApp via desktop.

From there, you can see that users need a one-stop service. Developing websites and mobile apps and being a one-stop service can add value to your app in users’ eyes.




Website vs. mobile apps will always be a discussion, especially for business owners just starting a business. In modest view, there are six things you should acknowledge before making a choice, namely:

  • User reach;
  • Daily visits;
  • Use of built-in features;
  • Loading speed;
  • Network utilization;
  • Update intensity.

If you want to reach more audiences in less time and at a lower cost, a website is a solution. Websites are the right choice to reach a larger audience and broader population.

However if you want to boost user interaction with your business, mobile apps are the answer. Statistics show that mobile apps are more potent in increasing user engagement.

So, it’s not about developing websites or mobile apps. It’s about picking one of the two options that are most effective for your business.

The right solution must meet all needs and be able to carry out the planned business strategy. Understand what your business target and goals are because in the end, the final decision rests with you as the business owner.

Hopefully, this article is helpful. Thank you for stopping by, and see you soon!