Difference And Similarities between Mobile Website and Responsive Web design

Difference And Similarities between Mobile Website and Responsive Web design

Are you thinking about web design and wondering what’s the difference between a mobile website and a responsive website?

Over the last one decade, mobile web usage has increased to a point where developers cannot ignore it.

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A significant fraction of web visitors surfs the internet using mobile devices.

It is more than half. 52.2% of all web traffic is from mobile phones.

Businesses cannot afford to assume it.

And when you take a closer look at how digital marketing unfolds, you will see that every business owner today knows the importance of grabbing the attention of their potential buyer.

It is a digital world, and many potential customers hang out online.

A business needs the right tool to attract and hook customers.

And a suitable website design in Singapore or any part of the world remains the most appropriate technological tool to grab customers’ attention.

Customers want to access a site either on a Smartphone, desktop, or tablet.

It would be an advantage if your market could access your site using any device.

However, since the majority of web browsers are mobile users, a mobile-friendly website becomes a major factor for every business to consider. This raises the question of a mobile site and a responsive site.

Most often, there is confusion when it comes to the mobile website and responsive web design.

People mistakenly think one for the other.

However, they are entirely different. The inability to differentiate the two makes it difficult for people and businesses to choose the appropriate size for their specific business goals. Let us check out some insights.


Difference Between Mobile Website and Responsive Website Design

What is Responsive Design? | Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF)

Mobile Website

A mobile website is a separate website from the main site, optimised to work excellently with a mobile device.

Actually, you require a different URL to differentiate a mobile site from a desktop website. So that when a visitor views your site using a mobile device, the service of your site directs him to the mobile site.

A practical example of a mobile site is Facebook.

You will notice that when you visit Facebook using your mobile phone, the website automatically directs you to the mobile Facebook. The mobile Facebook differs from its desktop site.

Some features in the desktop site are not available on the mobile website of Facebook.

This is because; some features do not fit on a smaller screen, and thus, will not appear on the mobile website. However, some mobile websites are well developed to have the entire features on the main site.

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More importantly, a mobile website layout starts with a design that visitors can neatly view on tablets and Smartphones without any modifications.

The layout aims at providing excellent mobile user experience and increasing mobile downloading speed. In addition, a mobile site improves the site’s ranking on the Search Engine.

Even though a mobile website looks good on mobile devices, they have glitches and might be difficult to navigate when viewed on devices with higher resolution.

Responsive web design

Responsive web design is tailoring a website to adapt to the size of the screen size of the site visitor.

When you view such site on a desktop, phone, or tablets, you will not readily identify the difference in the general appearance of the site.

This type of web design eliminates the need for creating another site to suit the mobile user as it auto-responds to the screen resolution of the device viewing the site.

When creating responsive web design, desktop resolution is the maximum resolution targeted; then it scales down to the smallest screen.

From the beginning, a responsive website is designed to display correctly on a multitude of devices with different screen resolutions.

When visitors view a responsive site, the server sends the same content to every device.

However, the server includes information that tells mobile devices how to display a page on their screen

Therefore, responsive web design works equally for all desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

The design automatically adjusts its layout to suit visitors using any device.

However, how is a mobile website similar to responsive web design?


Similarities Between a Mobile Website and Responsive Webs Design

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  • Both the mobile site and responsive web design optimise the site for smaller devices.
  • All the two provide easy navigation to the site’s features on mobile devices
  • Responsive web design, as well as a mobile site, enables fast download speed.
  • They both improve the usability and readability of mobile users.
  • Both boost Search Engine ranking of a web site.

Pros of Responsive Web Design

  • With more than half of the web browsers using mobile devices, responsive web design ensures a site is easily accessible to all potential customers regardless of their devices
  • It eliminates the need for designing two websites. If you are targeting to attract both desktop and mobile users to your site you are sure they will all receive similar content
  • The Search Engine gladly ranks a responsive website
  • You only craft and feed content on one site
  • No need for two URLs, a single domain will work
  • Apt for a heavy-stacked information website
  • Appropriate for a large form

Cons of Responsive Web Design

  • Mobile user experience is not 100 % optimised
  • It might be expensive to start initially

Advantages of Mobile Website

  • A mobile site quickly ranks on the Search Engine
  • Mobile user experience is 100% optimised
  • A mobile website offers the best experience for a mobile user
  • The majority of internet browsers are mobile users; thus mobile sites might have good appeal

Disadvantages of Mobile Website

  • The desktop user experience is not 100% optimised
  • A mobile website is not suitable for heavy-stacked content websites

Why Your Client Needs a Responsive Website – Not an App

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In all sense, a responsive website design is much better than an app.

Singapore has at least 4.83 million and 4.71 million of them access the internet via mobile devices. This means that more than half of a website’s traffic is mobile generated.

There are two avenues for capturing mobile users and directing them to a website; via an app or via responsive website design.

However, a majority of web design clients insist on building an app alongside their desktop website.

According to a Statista study at the last quarter of 2018, there are over 2.1 million apps on Google’s PlayStore, and close to 2 million apps on Apple’s AppStore.

The general trend is that users download an app, open it once or twice, and then they delete it.

Most clients see apps as the differentiating factor for staying ahead in the marketplace that seems to be driven by tech-driven digital natives and millennials.

However, several studies show that a majority of these millennials and digital natives hardly download mobile apps anymore.

Reasons Why You Need an App

An app is an independent program or software designed to fulfil a particular purpose.

There are two reasons why your client might need an app for their company

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However, very few companies have reached this status, and it is better to have a responsive website design than an app.

Apps Are the Wrong Approach

Both the responsive website design and app are in the same forte of creating a better mobile experience for the users.

However, most clients look to the success of social media apps, and this is the driving force behind their desire for an app.

According to an eMarketer study, a majority of smartphone users only use between 6 and 10 apps per week. The regularly used apps share a common theme, which includes

  • Originality and functionality
  • They are big brands

Besides, these apps are not mobile versions of the websites in place.

Before you agree to build the app for your client, do your due diligence and see if the app has the potential to break into the top 10 apps in the world.

If it does not, they are best suited to go for a website with a responsive design.

Declining App Downloads

Most smartphone users today hardly download apps, unless it is social media or specific gaming apps.

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For a new app to get into the top ten chart and record daily users, it must identify new needs that have not been solved, case in point what Snapchat did.

Approximately only a third of smartphone users download apps in an average month.

Furthermore, the average retention rate for an iOS app a month after a download is 3.2%.

Apps Are Expensive To Build

Building a custom mobile app is very expensive given that less than 3.2% of people will still have it on their smartphones a month after downloading it.

There are several app building cost calculators and the next time a client comes asking for an app, remind them of the two basic requirements; brand recognition as well as the originality and functionality.

You can also use a website building cost calculator to help them see the point of why a responsive website design is the better option.

A Sensor Tower study shows that 94% of the app store revenue is generated by the top 1% of the apps.

What this means is that apps need to have a definite purpose and key functionality to be worth downloading and using daily.

Why Responsive Website Design Is the Better Choice

One of the reasons why clients want an app is to drive traffic to their websites and buy the products using their smartphones.

However, a responsive website is the better way to go, and it is your job to help your clients know of the available options and solutions to their problem.


Here are the reasons why responsive website design is better than an app

People Search for Businesses on Mobile Browsers Not App Stores

This may be obvious to digital marketers, but not so much to the public. App stores are not a service provider’s search engines.

Anyone looking for a service or a product will not go to an app store but will consult Google or other search engines right from their mobile browser.

SEO vs. Apps

Focusing on apps to give a company online exposure will significantly limit its online visibility.

While Google has started indexing content from apps, a responsive website with high quality and valuable content provides a better user experience on a variety of devices.

Choosing an app over a responsive website design will lead to your client sacrificing essential SEO tools that improve your client’s online presence and visibility.

Use Webflow CMS as A Landing Page Engine

Using Webflow to build a responsive website gives you access to Webflow CMS, which is one of the best SEO tools today.

A client management system (CMS) allows your clients to create landing pages, which leads to a boost in their SEO and it is useful in driving traffic to their website.

Apps Do Not Make A Brand Look Professional

If apps are not a core aspect of your client’s business model, it will be irrelevant to their success. As smartphones continue to gain popularity, users have shown reluctance to download apps.

More so, smartphone users are less inclined to keep an app around on their phone the app if it doesn’t add a unique purpose to he lives.

As difficult as this might sound to your clients, they do not need apps to be a professional, tech-savvy, and desirable business.


10 Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Mobile App This Year

5 Tips to Skip Mobile App Development Blunders - Konstantinfo

Please don’t get confused; your business needs a responsive mobile website to realise its full potential. As it scales up and you get a clearer understanding of your customers, you also need to consider investing in a mobile app.

With most people using their smartphones to browse through product catalogues and make purchases, a mobile app is a secret recipe for success.

Here are the primary reasons you should invest in a mobile app for your business this year.

  • Increases Engagement and Brand Exposure

Online customers gravitate towards businesses that they know.

Having a responsive mobile website is great, and it will help put your brand name on the map, but you need to do more to get more exposure and increase customer engagement.

A mobile app will work magic on your digital marketing and branding efforts by giving your services and products more exposure.

It cannot work on its own; you need to include social buttons that clients can click on to see and follow your social media pages.

Thus, you need a robust social media marketing campaign to spur engagement on the different platforms. For example, run paid ads on Instagram and Facebook to get more followers and draw attention to your products.

Add an in-app messaging feature to encourage the app users to share, like, comment, and even send each other messages via the app.

The more interaction features you provide, the higher the potential of your mobile app moving the needle for your business.

Go the extra mile to place ads on the app that clients can click on to redeem the offers. Be sure to make the ad images responsive so that they can view and redeem them irrespective of their mobile app.

  • Provides Valuable Analytics Data

Virtually all content management systems such as WordPress have an analytics page that highlights the website’s performance on different frontiers such as organic traffic, bounce rate, on-page time, and conversion rate.

However, the data may not fully cover the customers who interact with your business via mobile devices. Jump this hurdle by investing in a quality app to learn more about your customers.

For instance, you can monitor clients’ app pages before making a purchase.

The insights will help map the buyer’s journey and eliminate friction points. You will also understand their desires, needs, and motives for interacting with your business.

Do a competitor analysis for inspiration on which features to add to your mobile to make it more functional.

Don’t be a copycat, though. Use the analysis for ideas and create better features.

Brainstorm and consult widely to know if the new features will match your audience before adding them to get the expected results.

  • Provide Better Customer Experience

15 Proven Techniques to Improve Customer Experience (CX)

Communication is key to the success of any online business.

Having a live chat feature on your website in a support team to respond to customer emails and calls is great. However, you need to provide more communication options to enable customers to get help whenever needed, even during the wee hours of the night.

A mobile app will help promote your business and foster communication.

Your business will be there whenever they need it and while on the go. Install a support feature that the customers can use to send messages or call the support team directly.

Concisely, the mobile app should be the bridge between your business and customers.

Consider installing a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence or machine learning to offer instant responses to frequently asked questions.

The chatbot should be able to send notifications to the support team if unable to respond to the questions.

You will save thousands on customer service as you won’t need to hire many customer care personnel.

  • Provide On-the-Go Marketing Opportunities

With competition for customers getting cutthroat across all industries, you must leverage all marketing opportunities available.

Having a website and investing in social media marketing will help you get more customers.

But, you can get more qualified leads by investing in a robust mobile app.

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Customers can access your business and what it offers worldwide, provided they have an internet connection.

Convenience is of paramount importance when running an online business.

Don’t underestimate how the comfort of being able to order products and services straight from their mobile devices will impact your business.

Regular app use will reinforce your business and encourage them to do business with you by convincing them you are the best alternative.

The cordial relationship you establish with them through the mobile app will cultivate customer loyalty.

  • Better Sales and Services

Creating sales is your number one goal and why you spend thousands of dollars on a responsive website and product/service development.

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Mobile app development simplifies the sales and service delivery process.

Apps have changed how businesses sell products and services to their target customers.

It has also simplified how customers analyse and compare product features before buying.

This functionalism enables them to make informed buying decisions.

The fact that customers will have enough time to review the product before buying reduces the chances of sending inquiries. You will get more time to focus on other important business processes instead of “putting out fires” due to complaints and refund requests.

Continuously improve how the products are displayed and services described on the app to increase conversion rate.

Look for distractions and friction points that could discourage them from converting and eliminate them.

More importantly, conduct surveys to gather additional information about the customers, such as features or sections of the app they would like to be improved.

  • Access to a Larger Clientele Base of Young Customers

Most people who use mobile apps to interact and connect with businesses are in the Generation X and Generation Z category.

They have a lot of disposable income and are attracted to businesses embracing new technologies.

A custom app for your business will give you access to a larger clientele base of young customers.

They enjoy and love the convenience of contacting the support team, placing orders, and previewing products while on the go.

Fast response to questions will also endear your brand to them as they hate waiting for hours to get a reply.

Constant communication with them will keep your brand in their minds and encourage them to do business with you as opposed to the competitors who don’t have a similar mobile app.

  • Mobile App Boost Customer Interest

Piquing customer interest is the first stage of the buyer’s funnel. You need to provide information about your brand and what it offers to grasp their attention and interest.

The desire to know about what you provide will move them to the next stages of the funnel.

Investing in a quality mobile app will boost customer interest in your brand by displaying your services and products on a platform that is convenient and accessible round the clock.

Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, customers will get information about the products or services even past normal working hours using the live chat or chatbot features.

In addition, information about the products or service updates will be readily available and communicated to the customers in real-time.

Set the app to send push notifications immediately after an update is published to keep the customers in the loop. The notifications will also remind the customers about the app and trigger them to use it more often.


Factors to Consider When Creating a Business Mobile App

How to Create an App for Your Business in 2022 | Invonto

To enjoy the above seven benefits of having a mobile business app, you must consider several factors to create the ideal app for your customers.

Below is an overview of the factors you should consider before embarking on mobile app development.

  • Market Research

Before jumping in, you need to know everything about your ideal customers.

Knowing their expectations and pain points will guide the mobile app development process in the right direction.

Apart from knowing the demographics of your customers, do competitor analysis to know the kind of mobile app they are using to communicate and get leads.

Use the insights from the analysis to create a more responsive, functional, and user-friendly app.

New features that customers are yet to experience will supercharge the app’s popularity and encourage existing customers and new customers to choose your brand over the competitors.

  • Select the Right Platform

Android and iOS are the main app platforms in the world today.

Android users are estimated to be 133.4 million, and iOS users are 118 million. Create a business app compatible with the platform that most of your customers use.

The research will help you determine which platform is most popular to your audience and make the necessary development plans. The right platform will make the app more adaptable and functional.

You will also reach a larger audience if the platform is right and the app is functional.

We, however, recommend that you have a custom Android and iOS app to connect with a larger and wider audience.

Consider each platform’s flexibility and security to protect the customers from security issues.

  • User Experience and User Interface

User experience is one of the primary factors you should consider when creating a mobile app.

UX will determine how the customers interact with the different features such as the checkout and live chat.

The goal should be to develop an app that is functional and appealing to the customers.

Put yourself in the audience’s shoes to pinpoint features that should be deleted or improved.

If the customer doesn’t like the business app’s user experience or user interface, it will not succeed in scaling up your business even if the content is right.

Use the analytics page to know how they interact with the different sections of the app to know which sections to change.

Focus on continuously improving UX and UI to stay ahead of the competition. Use the best app development tools and budget accordingly to get maximum ROI.

  • User Privacy and Security

Mobile apps are notorious for being used by hackers and marketers to collect personal data without the consent of the users.

Customers know this fact and are always sceptical about the apps they download and install on their smartphones.

Ensure that the app has robust security features to safeguard the privacy and security of the users.

If you intend to collect data from them, mention it in the app description to help the users decide whether to download the app.

With new viruses and malware being developed daily, you cannot afford to let your guard down.

Make sure you stay abreast of these threats and regularly upgrade the mobile app.

Notify the users of the security patches and encourage them to install them through push notifications. The more secure and functional your mobile business app, the more results you will get.

You probably already have a marketing strategy to generate leads through your website, email marketing, and social media marketing campaigns.

When developing the app, you need to consider integrating it with the marketing strategy.

Advertise the launch of the app via social media and email to spur downloads as soon as the app is available on Android and iOS platforms.

Experts recommend promoting the mobile app 2-3 weeks before the launch to create a buzz.

Have a plan for handling the questions you will receive from the users, especially during the initial stages. Run tests to be sure that all features are working before the launch. 

Hire MediaOne Marketing to market your brand and mobile app to the target customers.

We deeply understand the industry standards and trends, so rest assured you will get the utmost value for money from the campaign. We look forward to hearing from you. 


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In Conclusion

As mobile phones rise in popularity, it is critical for any business to optimise its web design to suit mobile device users. A

a quick way would be to use responsive web design or a mobile site.

However, depending on your business type and goals, you would consider all the pros and cons before going for either a mobile site or responsive web design.

And if you are looking for web design in Singapore that appeals to your customers, you would hire a professional web design agency for working results.

Our team is on standby ready to help your business go to the next level of success.

Call us at +65 6789 9852 for a free and no-obligation session about your website design project.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media


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