Website or App: Which one should I start with?

“Website or app? Which should I start with?” If you’re starting your own business or startup, you’ve probably came across this question at some point. Which one should you start with? A website? An app? Both? If you’re still debating with yourself about this question, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each point.

Advantages of a website

These days, depending on what you’re looking to accomplish, a website is something you can build or get built relatively fast. This is especially true if you’re just looking to post some information about your business and establish an online presence. This is what is called an informational site. A website also gives your target customers instant access to your information or product. Your customer will easily be able to type your web address and access your information versus waiting for you app to download.

Updates on a website will be much easier and can be instantly implemented site wide. This gives your audience the latest product based on your update schedule.

Another advantage of a website is that, with current technology, you can get a responsive website built for your business and still be effective on mobile devices. Building a responsive website will allow you to present your website’s information on mobile, tablet, and pc effectively. You can take a look at our previous article on the benefits of building a responsive website here.

Advantages of an app

When building an app, you will have the advantage of using the phone’s resources and features to accomplish your goal. Is your solution something that needs the core features of a phone such as camera, gps, contact information, or maybe even the phone state (is the phone asleep, in a call, or active)? If it is, you will be able to access all this features and more using an app. Another advantage of an app is the ability for your product to interact with the user more intuitively. Again, using the native features of the phone, you’ll be able to seamlessly interact with your target audience through an app.

For example there is marketing advantages to having an app. If a customer has your app on their phone you can trigger push notifications to send marketing / sales alerts to your customer.

Another thing to consider is the number of time your audience will be on your platform. If your client is to use your platform regularly (3+ times a day) then it might be best to create an app.

Disadvantages of a website

A website will not be able to integrate with the features of the phone easily (if at all). It will not be the best platform to use for an interactive solution. If you are trying to provide offline content/interaction, a website will not be the way to go. Also, a website will not work well if you’re looking to have constant interaction and personalization with the target audience. Think, sending a push notification to a specific customer depending on their geographical location.

Disadvantages of an app

Because apps tend to be needed for bigger solutions, an app typically costs much more than a website does. It will also require longer development time than a website. Once an app is rolled out into the market, sending out feature updates can take a long time to implement market wide. You will not be able to easily send out an update and have everyone get on the same version of your product because action will need be taken by your customers. Think about the number of times you go to the App Store to update your apps. The same would need to happen for your customer to have your latest app.

So when should you get a website?

At a high level, go for a website if you’re in these scenarios:

  1. Information dissemination: If all you’re trying to accomplish is give out information on a certain product or solution, then  a website is for you.
  2. Rare usage/personalization: If your target audience will rarely need to check your solution or personalize it very little, get a website.
  3. Little to no interaction: If your user only needs to fill out a few forms, check the results and leave, a website will suffice.
  4. Native features not necessary: If you don’t need camera, gps, popup notification, or a bunch of other native features of the phone, stick to getting your business up and running fast on a website.


So when should you get an app?

Here are some scenarios to when you could use an app:

  1. You have a good budget: This is key to start off with because you need a much larger budget to get an app than to get a website as mentioned before. We’re also mentioning this here because you can get by with a website for a while by building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) even if you need an app in the future. Check out our article on What an MVP is and why you should start with one.
  2. A lot of interactivity: If you’re trying to build a game or a solution with a lot of user interaction, go for an app.
  3. Native features of the phone: If you need to use the features of the phone, get an app.
  4. Offline access: If your product needs to be used without internet connection, get an app.

Bottom Line!

A website is the first step to your full solution, regardless of the end product. Even if you decide to build a full fledged app, you should still consider a website that introduces your app to the public. This gives you a chance to advertise your app using the website while your app is getting developed.
If you have a business you’d like to develop into a website or an app, feel free to reach out to us about your project.

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