A mobile site is similar to any other site because it consists of the browser-based HTML pages that
are linked together and also accessed over the Internet. The obvious features that distinguish a mobile site from a typical site is the fact that the former is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch screen interface. Like any site, mobile site can also display text content, images, data and video. They also have mobile-specific features such as location-based mapping and click-to-call.
Apps are downloaded and installed on your mobile devices, rather than being rendered with a browser. Users visit Android Market, Apple’s App Store, or Blackberry App World to find and download applications for their operating system. The mobile app can actually pull content and data from the Internet, like a website, or it may download the content so that it can also be accessed without a net connection. There is indeed a place for apps, but brands should understand when and where to use the same. Consider starting with a mobile website.
The majority of smartphone owners use Google as their search engine. And if you look at the results that Google return in a search, they actually list websites and not apps. Besides, the cost of developing and maintaining an app is very high. Whereas effort and cost required for website maintenance is comparative low. So you should go ahead with the process of developing a mobile site to begin with, and then once your site gains popularity, you can consider developing its app, as well.
If your mobile objectives are basically marketing-driven or you aim to create a broad market presence, then developing a mobile site is the best choice.