Web and mobile devices have both had significant improvements over the past decade. Both mediums allow for immersive and complete experiences for their users and can create profitable businesses for their creators. So which should you choose?
When deciding which to choose you’ll want to think through a few different things:
Unlike the web, mobile apps are not built of free (as in speech) platforms. All mobile apps are built on platforms that are owned by either Google (Android) or Apple (iOS/iPhone/iPad/etc.). Since you are developing on their platforms you are bound by their rules (Apple Apple App Store, Google Play Store). Additionally, they take time to review and release your app. After submitting your app it should be released within 24-48 hours, but results may vary.
By contrast, you can launch any you want on the web at any time. This can allow for quicker testing of new features and quicker responses to any potential issues. However, this is not the end-all-be-all and should be combined with the other considerations mentioned below when deciding what to do.
As mentioned in the previous section, when you develop a mobile app you are developing for platforms that are owned by Google and Apple. While it is free (as in beer) to release apps (excluding some enrollment fees), they do take a cut of any digital sales. If you sell something that has a physical component, such as a hardcover book or shaving razors, then you have nothing to worry about. However, if it is digital only, such as an ebook or trail maps, then you’ll need to pay through their respective billing platforms. As of this writing both take a 30% cut for the first year of a subscription and 15% for every year after that. The good news is that this fee includes all transaction fees, which you would otherwise be charged for.
You’ll first want to think if your app needs any features that are considered “mobile native”. Some examples of mobile native features are cameras, location, or augmented reality. While these can exist via web apps, they are all distinctly more natural to use in a mobile app where you have more control over the experience and users feel it is natural to be prompted for access to these features.