Applications killed the website star?
Not too long ago, Forbes posted an article with a list predicting the Top 7 Online Marketing Trends that Will Dominate 2016. This list included not only one, but two trends that focused on apps taking over—and one in particular was of major interest: “Mobile will completely dominate desktop”.
Really? Forbes said that?
Oh yes, they did. Forbes contributor and online marketer/SEO expert Jayson DeMers claims in the article that “[Google is] banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.”
The article also states that 2015 was a record-breaking year for mobile. Not only did mobile traffic overtake desktop traffic last year in ten different countries, but 2015 also saw the emergence of an algorithm update which actually phased out websites that were not optimized for mobile. These days, you don’t even have to have an optimized desktop website—you can get away with a mobile-only site just fine, and Google will smile at you and shake your hand.
Are Apps the Future or the Now?
Most people use both websites and apps. Everyone has a couple games, usually a bank app, maybe some shopping and sports apps—but for the most part, those people still also use laptops and even desktops for web browsing.
But now, word on the street is, that’s going to fade away. Search engine experts, as well as tech and marketing experts all seem to think that within the next ten to fifteen years, websites will be as ancient and non-existent as dinosaurs.
And it’s not just marketing, SEO, and tech experts. Researching this question on Google gets a sheer wall of answers in the affirmative: according to pretty much everyone, apps are in and web is out.
Obviously, the growing trends and numbers don’t lie. App use and creation are (and have been) on the rise, and as ranking possibilities for apps grow and become more elaborate, company owners will see that there are all sorts of new, exciting advantages of an app that they may not be able to entirely grasp with a just desktop website.
Furthermore, Google and Bing have already begun indexing app content so it will appear in search results.
As the Forbes article says, “We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owners’ perspectives.”
As we all know, apps are in front of our eyes constantly. Whether they’re as important as our bank app or it’s just everyday spam, apps are overflowing in the market. And because mobile apps are far more accessible than desktop websites (because everyone has their phones in their hands all the time), they’re far more convenient as well.
The Internet Strikes Back
But to assume that mobile apps will make websites obsolete may be a pretty big stretch. Saying that apps will kill the Internet is like people saying computer programs were going to kill the Internet before apps were ever even a thing. There are thousands of computer programs out there, and as far as we can tell, the Internet still exists.
It’s not that apps aren’t awesome. They are. And they are very convenient. However, the simple truth is: there’s plenty of room out there for both websites and apps. And while they share common functions, they both have advantages over the other.
For instance, when you’re on the go, finding and downloading a new app is usually a waste of data and kind of a hassle. It’s easier, faster, and less of a process to just quickly check a website, especially if you’re just looking for a few fast answers.
Also, with apps, frequent use can be impractical and a serious battery-sucker. Apps need to be downloaded, and usually, that means over wifi. They use up lots of bandwidth, and they take up space.
An app also requires continuous maintenance, more specialized development, and a purpose (meaning, there has to be a demand for your app before you spend resources on it). Apps are constantly being updated and changed, which can cause frustration and irritation in users. It can also be tough to navigate and search through an app (especially when it’s updating all the time).
Can you market your app without a website?
Keep in mind too that when it comes to digital marketing, websites are much more practical than apps. While people are surfing the web, they can stumble onto your website and increase your SEO ranking. Ways to find your website on the Internet are many: they can find you through blog posts and social media links, whitepapers, videos, and email blasts. There are endless nooks and crannies on the Internet where people can find you. In order for apps to fulfill this same role, they cannot replace the Internet—they would have to become the Internet.
Let’s not forget that Internet browsers are universal, and since hundreds of millions of websites still don’t have apps, the browsers are the only option users have with so many, many sites.
The internet’s for everyone!
And what about desktop use? These days, most employees and business owners use the Internet to do research for projects, purchases, or even just to find a good spot for this year’s office cookout. The internet has become an invaluable tool for students, artists, CEOs, and even academics to use for their work. Not every business owner wants to download separate apps for all their tasks. An iPad might be fine for some, but no tablet or phone can come close to the power of a well-assembled PC.
In fact, anyone trying to do any online research would get quickly annoyed if they were attempting to do it via their phone.
Many people like to surf the Internet and have multiple windows open. Many people enjoy the intrigue of going down an Internet rabbit hole for a little while. Many people just prefer a bigger screen to a five-inch window in their hands. Even when it comes to online shopping (an area where apps thrive), many customers will want to check out a product in detail, as large as can be offered, short of seeing it in person.
It comes down to the fact that apps and the Internet’s websites are separate things that perform different functions. Both are valuable, and apps don’t need to replace websites.
There should be no great need or rush to erase websites. They serve a host of very important purposes, and they’re not getting in the way or ruining anyone’s day—on the contrary, they help greatly.
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