If you’re thinking, “I should make my website mobile,” you already know the benefits of a mobile site include increased conversions or participation on your existing site. But have you considered the possibility of even more conversions and even more participation from a mobile app? Here’s what you might be missing.

The Problem With Mobile Sites

The problem with mobiles sites is that they aren’t mobile. Or, at least, they aren’t 100% mobile. Mobile sites only work if you have an Internet connection, but that’s not guaranteed on a mobile device. Apps, on the other hand, can include an offline mode which works well even when the device is disconnected (These apps are referred to a Native App).

If you’re still focused on “I should make my website mobile,” you’re probably thinking that not enough people use their device in offline mode for offline apps to have a significant advantage over mobile websites, but consider this corollary to the offline app principle: any app which works well offline also works well on slow Internet connections.

You probably have a mobile device, and unless you always use it on home wifi, you probably know that slow connections are extremely common among mobile users. Major cities have so over-sold 3G and 4G that it performs like dial-up. Suburban and rural users rarely see more than two bars. Slow connections abound.

But a good mobile app does data synchronization in the background so its interface always updates instantly. Before you spend another minute thinking about “how do I make my website mobile?,” consider whether you’d rather use a weather forecast app or surf to Weather.com on your mobile device. Mobile users are more loyal and more likely to use their apps than they are to use most websites.

“So… Should I Make My Website Mobile?”

Although the benefits of an app are potentially huge, it’s unlikely that you’ll get mobile users interested in your app unless your site uses a responsive design that makes it easy to use on mobile devices. But don’t just rush out and ask a firm, “how much will you charge to make my website mobile?” First consider the benefits of having a mobile app and a mobile site developed at the same time by the same development firm.

The benefits here are major cost savings and guaranteed integration. Your site and your app will use the same theme, and the theme work only needs to be done once, so you save big.

But this talk about spending money may have you again wondering, “should I make my website mobile and worry about apps later?” If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford an app now, you absolutely should make your website mobile so you can capture any mobile traffic your current site is turning away. Those extra mobile visitors could help you earn enough money to pay to develop an app.

If you have enough money to afford to build an app—they’re cheaper than you might think—then consider the long-term cost savings of having an app built at the same time as your site and the long-term income benefits of having an app installed on your audience’s mobile devices which lets you target marketing messages to them.