Startup Basics: What Should I Make First, Website or App?

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Startup Basics: What Should I Make First, Website or App?

Startup Basics: What Should I Make First, Website or App?

June 25, 2024 0 Comments

Embarking on a startup journey is like the excitement of setting sail into uncharted waters, and one of the first critical decisions you’ll face is choosing whether to anchor your business with a website or an app first. This choice can significantly impact your startup’s early growth and long-term success. The right answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; it hinges on various factors specific to your business. In this article, we’ll guide you through the considerations you need to make an informed decision, helping you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both options.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Your audience is the cornerstone of your decision. Understanding who they are and how they interact with digital platforms is crucial.

  • Who are your ideal customers?

Identifying your target demographic is the first step. Are they young, tech-savvy millennials or older, more traditional users? Are they professionals, students, or retirees? Knowing your audience will help you determine whether they are more likely to use a website or an app.

  • How do they prefer to access information and services (mobile vs. desktop)?

Analyze the habits of your target audience. Do they predominantly use mobile devices or desktops? Mobile users might lean towards apps, while desktop users typically prefer websites. This information can be gathered through market research, surveys, or analyzing industry trends.

  • Are they tech-savvy or more traditional?

A tech-savvy audience might appreciate the features and convenience of an app, whereas a more traditional audience might prefer a straightforward website. Consider the complexity of your offering and how comfortable your audience is with technology.

Defining Your Business Model

Your business model will greatly influence your decision. The way you deliver your product or service and generate revenue should guide whether a website or an app is more appropriate.

  • Is your core product/service best delivered through a startup website or an app?

Some services are naturally suited to apps, such as on-demand services (e.g., ride-sharing, food delivery) or products that require frequent user interaction. Others, like content-driven businesses (e.g., blogs, e-commerce), may benefit more from a website.

  • Will your revenue come primarily from web traffic, app downloads, or both?

If your business model relies on web traffic and search engine optimization (SEO), a website is essential. Conversely, if your revenue is driven by app downloads and in-app purchases, focusing on startup app development might be the better choice.

Budget and Resources

Your budget and available resources will also play a significant role in your decision.

  • What’s your budget for development and marketing?

Websites are generally cheaper and faster to develop than apps. If your budget is limited, starting with a website might be more feasible. However, if you have the funds to invest in a robust app, it could provide a competitive edge.

  • Do you have in-house expertise or will you need to outsource?

Consider your team’s skill set. Do you have developers who are experienced in app development, or are they more proficient in web development? Outsourcing can be expensive, so it’s crucial to factor in these costs when making your decision.

  • What are your long-term maintenance and update plans?

Both websites and apps require ongoing maintenance and updates to remain functional and secure. Websites generally need updates for content management systems, plugins, and security patches, while apps require regular updates to ensure compatibility with new operating system versions and to fix bugs. Consider whether you have the resources and expertise to handle these ongoing tasks, or if you will need to budget for external support.

  • How quickly do you need to launch your product?

Time-to-market can be a critical factor for startups. Websites typically have a shorter development cycle, allowing you to launch your product more quickly and start gathering user feedback. If you need to enter the market swiftly, starting with a website can be a strategic move. However, if your business relies heavily on features that are best delivered through an app, you might need to invest additional time in app development from the outset.

Pros and Cons of Website First

Choosing to develop a website first has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Faster and cheaper to develop:Websites typically require less time and investment to get up and running.Easier to reach a broader audience:Websites are accessible on any device with internet access, providing immediate reach to a global audience.Better for SEO and content marketing: Websites can be optimized for search engines, driving organic traffic and building online visibility.Simpler updates and changes:Updating content on a website is generally easier and faster than updating an app, allowing for more flexibility and responsiveness.No app store approval needed:Websites do not require approval from app stores, eliminating potential delays and restrictions associated with app store policies.Less user engagement compared to apps: Websites often lack the interactive features that apps provide, which can result in lower user engagement and retention.Limited offline functionality:Websites require an internet connection to access, whereas apps can offer some functionality offline.Potentially slower performance on mobile devices: Websites may not perform as well on mobile devices compared to native apps, which are optimized for specific operating systems.Dependence on browser compatibility: Websites need to be compatible with various browsers, which can sometimes lead to inconsistencies in user experience.

Pros and Cons of App First

On the other hand, prioritizing an app has its own set of benefits and challenges.

Pros:Greater potential for user engagement and retention: Apps can offer a more personalized and interactive experience, fostering higher user engagement and loyalty.Mobile-first approach aligns with current trends: With the increasing use of mobile devices, having an app can cater to this growing audience effectively.Push notifications: Apps can send push notifications to users, providing a direct and immediate way to communicate and engage with them.Access to device features: Apps can leverage device features such as cameras, GPS, and sensors, offering enhanced functionality and user experience.Offline capabilities: Apps can offer functionality even without an internet connection, providing a seamless user experience. Cons:Higher development costs and complexity: Developing an app is generally more expensive and time-consuming than creating a website.Requires app store approval and ongoing maintenance: Apps need to be approved by app stores, which can be a lengthy process. Additionally, they require regular updates and maintenance to remain functional and relevant.Limited reach: Apps are platform-specific (iOS, Android), which means you need to develop and maintain separate versions for each platform to reach a broader audience.User acquisition challenges: Convincing users to download and keep an app can be more challenging compared to visiting a website, especially if the app does not offer significant added value.

Hybrid Approach: Can You Start with a Simple Website and Gradually Build an App?

A hybrid approach might be the best of both worlds, allowing you to start with a website and gradually build an app as your business grows.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This allows you to focus on core features first, regardless of platform. Developing an MVP means creating a version of your product with just enough features to attract early adopters and validate your business idea. This approach can be applied to both websites and apps, enabling you to start small and scale as needed.

Cost-effective initial launch:Starting with a website can be less expensive, allowing you to allocate resources towards app development later.Flexibility: You can adapt based on user feedback and market demands, gradually adding features and improving the user experience.Incremental investment: You can spread out development costs over time, reducing the financial burden on your startup.Validation before significant investment: A website can help validate your business idea before committing substantial resources to app development.Potential for delayed app benefits:While focusing on a website first, you might miss out on the early advantages of having an app, such as higher user engagement.Resource allocation: Managing both a website and an app can stretch your resources thin, especially if your team is small or if you have limited funding.Inconsistent user experience:Users might experience inconsistencies between your website and app if not carefully managed and synchronized. 

A hybrid strategy allows you to establish an online presence quickly through a website while planning and developing an app for the future. This way, you can test your business concept, gather user feedback, and make data-driven decisions on whether to invest in an app.

Choosing between a website and an app for your startup is a significant decision that should be based on understanding your audience, defining your business model, and assessing your budget and resources. Each option has its pros and cons, and a hybrid approach might provide a balanced solution. By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals and sets you up for success.

Need help with your startup’s launch? At Klik Soft, we offer tailored solutions to help you navigate the complexities of startup development. Get your consultation today!  

If you decide you want to proceed with setting up your startup’s website first, you can take advantage of a special offer we are running. When you purchase a WordPress Development package, you can get 3 months of secure, fast, and reliable hosting for free. Visit to learn more and schedule your consultation today!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should you make a website or an app first?

It depends on your audience, business model, and resources. Websites are generally faster and cheaper to develop, while apps can offer higher user engagement.

Is a website or an app better for business?

Both have their advantages. Websites are great for accessibility and SEO, while apps are better for engagement and retention.

Should I make a website before starting a business?

A website can help establish an online presence and validate your business idea, but it isn’t always necessary before launching.

Does my startup need a website?

Most startups benefit from having a website, as it provides a platform for information, marketing, and customer interaction.

Can you have a successful business without a website?

While it’s possible, having a website generally enhances credibility and reach, making it easier to succeed.

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