One of the most popular questions we get asked around here is, “Do I need an app?” It’s not surprising, since apps have become as ubiquitous in our average daily lives as coffee machines and automobiles. But attractive as they are, apps aren’t for everyone. In many cases, small businesses and solo entrepreneurs are better off making their site mobile-responsive than spending the time and money necessary to create a native app.
But in some cases, an app is the better move. When? Well the question to ask yourself is, “What does my business need from an app that it can’t get from my mobile-responsive website?” If the answer is, “Not much,” then walk away from the app and focus your energy on making your mobile site as useful as possible. But if any of the following situations apply to you, than an app might be the right choice for you.
First, A Word of Warning
Apps come with their own set of headaches, so though you may be solving a problem by creating one, you will also be creating a new set of challenges to face. We are no longer in the wild-west days of the app stores, and getting your app noticed among the ocean of available apps can be a real challenge. Even once you get your app downloaded, limited storage space and attention-span mean that retaining users of your app can also be very difficult. And then there’s the fact that apps are expensive because they require advanced coding knowledge and often need to be created in multiple formats in order to work across a range of devices. Additional expenses will accrue as you maintain the app over time, and update it to work with the changing landscape of mobile tech.
Woah! So When Should I Make An App?
One of the best times to create an app is if it provides you access to functionality that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Do you need access to data that would only be available on a mobile device, like a contact list? Then you’d probably need an app to do that. Is speed especially important to you? Native apps will usually function faster than even a heavily cached mobile site. Another time you might consider an app is if you have a specific task or action you are trying to focus on. Apps excel at dialing in on a specific action and making the experience of executing that action as pleasant and efficient as possible.
A Quick Recap
So! Does your biz need an app? The short answer is, unless you have a specific use case in mind that your website cannot accomplish, or accomplish well, than the answer is probably no. Don’t let your FOMO force you to jump on an expensive bandwagon just because you want to play with the cool app-store kids. But if you have a concrete idea for an app that wouldn’t otherwise work on a website, than by all means, jump in! Just make sure you carefully consider the extra expense and work required before you commit.
Need help deciding if you need an app or not? Contact the web team at Solamar, we’ll point you in the right direction!