Followers of this blog (and of the mobile space) are well aware of the ongoing apps vs. mobile Web debate. In one corner sits Apple and an app-centric mobile universe. In the other is Google — motivated by its core search business — pushing for a mobile world where the browser is the front door.
In the middle sit scores of developers, publishers and media companies that are trying to figure out which platform accomplishes their technical objectives and ultimate reach. Apps’ advantages include better native device capability and (sometimes) discovery, while mobile Web sites are cheaper and oftentimes more scalable.
Mobile Web site developer DudaMobile joins the fray, waving a flag that represents the ease and affordability parts of this argument. Its platform is offered to publishers to build mobile versions of their Web sites, using an easy “wysiwyg” dashboard. This includes “pro” and “Web platforms” editions with varied features.
The platform’s biggest draw, according to cofounder and CEO Itai Sadan, is that it syncs easily with Web sites that have been built over time by a range of different tools (i.e., once-pervasive Dreamweaver). It will also build in additional features and “calls to action” more suited to mobile, such as click-to-call, and maps.
Sadan also stresses the importance of low barriers to maintain mobile sites. For example, ongoing changes to a given Web site are automatically translated and synced to the mobile version. This ease and compatibility opens a bigger addressable market, says Sadan, including SMBs and smaller Web site owners.
All of the above has recently attracted a massive U.S. local publisher (whose name I can’t yet reveal) with direct touch points to local merchants. Said publisher bundles mobile Web site creation and hosting with its core local advertising, and now uses Duda (via subscription-based rev share) to add mobile to the mix.
Supporting this strategy, we should continue to see growth in mobile site development as SMBs and individual publishers mobilize their Web sites. Easy-to-use tools (and local resellers) should help to push this forward and generally support the mobile Web camp, when compared with the native app development process (and cost).
This could be met on the user side with more ability and inclination to graduate from the relatively user-friendly world of app stores to the more difficult to navigate mobile Web. Smartphone penetration, better mobile browsers, user sophistication and time should drive this.
Citing Nielsen data, Sadan also points out that traffic has increased by 13 percent for businesses that have added a mobile Web site. But there is a ways to go and an opportunity for growth, he says, if you consider less than 1 percent of Web sites are currently mobile friendly.