Website vs Web App: Which is better for your business?

Introduction

A lot of people believe that any “content” you find on the internet through your browser qualifies as a website, but in actuality, that’s not true at all. They are both very similar so how people ended up failing to understand the key differences between a website and web application is okay, not everyone has a technical background. That is why we’ve gone ahead and prepared this blog so you too can understand the nuances between a website vs web app.

What is a website

a graphic image of a website Technopedia defines a website as “A collection of publicly accessible, interlinked Web pages that share a single domain name.” Google and Amazon are some of the most notable examples of a website.

Types of websites

There exist two types of websites, Dynamic Websites and Static websites. A Dynamic website is a type of website that is mutable. Meaning, the content on the website changes completely or partially whenever a user visits or revisits it. So each time you visit them, you’re shown something different. Some of the factors that influence or cause the content and appearance of the website to change can be the time of day, geolocation, preferred language, and more. Static or stationary means something that doesn’t move. So a Static website refers to a website that displays exactly what has been stored on the server, the complete opposite of what a dynamic website is. But that certainly doesn’t mean they can’t be interactive and engaging. In fact, they can look pretty fancy if you add a bunch of buttons and links that are clickable, tons of relevant images and videos, digital forms and downloads, converting CTAs, and animated elements to compliment the UI design and user experience.

Advantages of a Website

Here are some of the benefits that come with having your own website.

  • Online Presence: A website if your first point of contact with your audience. It can either be a brand’s biggest asset or greatest liability. So make it count, because it is one of the easiest ways to target your audience and convert them to leads. It also helps establish your brand’s digital presence while strengthening your brand’s credibility.
  • Information Sharing: How do you let your audience know about who you are? Through a website of course! A website is one of the easiest and most convenient (for both, you and your customers) platforms to communicate and exchange information with your audience. Your audience can find out what hours your business is open, where you are located, contact information, details about your products and/or services, as well as cater inquiries submitted through contact forms. You can even showcase different specials and promotions you are running. 
  • Cost-Effective: A website is relatively affordable considering it is a long-term investment and will pay you off in the long run. Besides, the benefits it entails far outweigh the cost you’re paying for it.
  • Boost Credibility: Let’s be honest, in this digital day and age, it seems kind of sketchy for a brand to not have a website. Ask yourself, when was the last time you bought something from a brand that didn’t have a website? So one thing’s for certain, having a website helps establish and boost your brand credibility.
  • Enabling Growth: Having a website enables you to target and market your audience on a much greater scale than before, in turn, generating more leads and helping drive sales, enabling tremendous growth for your business.
  • Consumer Insights: Integrating various marketing and analytical tools onto your website will help give you insights of your website traffic, your target audience, and your customers. This enables you to make minor tweaks to your strategy as needed, ensuring you always remain on course.

Disadvantages of a Website

Everything has its pro’s and con’s. These are the cons of having a website.

  • Payment Required: Unless you have the technical know-how to create a fully functioning website yourself, you’ll probably have to hire a professional to make one for you. Let’s not forget about maintenance and updates which you have to roll-out to keep your website up, running, and optimized, further racking up the cost. And then there’s the domain and hosting fee which is a recurring expense you’ll have to pay each month or year, depending where you got it from.
  • Not as Secure: Protecting your website from any hacking attempts, malware attacks, or data breaches is not an easy task. You’re especially at risk when your website contains sensitive information. It can be pretty costly to keep your website up-to-date with all the latest security features.
  • False Information: Some websites even provide their users with inappropriate content, such as violent or pornographic material, which can negatively affect children.
  • Competition: There are approx. 2 billion websites on the internet as of today. Although the majority of them may not be relevant to your business or industry, it is still very difficult to stand out.

Examples of website

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and Amazon are just some of the most well-known and common examples of a website. Just search anything on google, anything, click on any link, and voila! You just found yourself a website. 

What is Web App

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A web application or better known as a web app is simply an application program that is stored on a server and accessed through the web browser. Not to be confused with mobile applications which have a specific SDK (Software Development Kit). Web Apps are developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming language and are supported on any platform that can run a browser.

Types of Web App

There exist many different types of web applications. We’ve listed below four types of Web Applications that are most commonly found:

  1. Static Web Apps
  2. Dynamic Web Apps
  3. eCommerce Application

1. Static Web Apps

A static web app is called so because of how it is structured (a collection of static web pages). Anyone who uses this program will always see the exact same data. Updating these applications is a very arduous task, because since the pages are created directly on the server, to edit or update them, the developer must completely reupload the pages for the desired changes to take place. Static web applications have no interactive features at all!

2. Dynamic Web Apps

A dynamic web app is a big step up from a static web app. While using this application, you can search, set up an account, post a comment, or communicate in many ways, and change the input to get different results.  The output of this application depends on input from the client end or server end rather than the web pages following a predetermined order. Dynamic Web Applications are created using a variety of programming languages, such as PHP or ASP and require servers, databases, and web hosting to function.

3. eCommerce Application

An eCommerce Web Application is a web app but for eCommerce stores and is an alternative to native eCommerce mobile applications. It’s a technically complex and arduous task to create an eCommerce application where you can maintain a database of products, a record of past and present orders, manage those orders, and process the payments for those orders.  Progressive Web Applications, aka, PWAs are a form of web application that make use of contemporary technologies that combine the best of both worlds, web applications and mobile applications. Just like live websites, these PWAs can be accessible from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day. Other types of web applications include Portal web application, Content management system web application, Animated Web Application, Single Page Application, Multi-Page Application, and Rich Internet Application, each entailing its own set of benefits and uses.

Advantages of Web Apps

  • Platform-agnostic: Since web applications are not built for a specified platform, they can be run on essentially any device that has a web browser.
  • Low costs: Since these web applications aren’t platform-specific, there’s usually no need for them to be written in a specific programming language, but instead use those languages, such as HTML and Javascript, that are common across all or multiple platforms, resulting in low development costs compared to full-fledged mobile applications.
  • Easy maintenance: Since these applications are built using common technologies and languages, they are not only easier to build, but to maintain as well.
  • No app marketplace: These apps are not available on Google PlayStore or App Store, it’s not necessary for them to adhere to their SOPs nor require their approval before launch.

Disadvantages of Web Apps

  • Need internet: Since these apps can only be accessed through web browsers, the need for an internet connection is vital, creating a hassle for users.
  • Poor discoverability: It’s much harder to promote and market these apps compared to mobile applications as they aren’t available on the marketplace, leading to poor visibility and difficulty gaining traction.
  • Less functionality: A web app can’t beat a mobile application in terms of functionality because they cannot leverage the full power and capabilities of the device it’s being used on.

Examples of Web App

Some of the most common examples of web applications are Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google docs, and Microsoft office.

Website vs Web App

Difference Website  Web Application
Purpose A website is designed to connect you with your audience, it’s a part of your business. A web application is designed to aid the user in certain tasks.
Developmental Process  The development process of a website is relatively simple. The development process of a web app is quite challenging. 
Notifications Notifications are routed through the browser. Messages are sent directly through push notification.
Resources needed Involves developing a website architecture and content to go onto it. Most of the time is spent creating functionality. 
Authentication Authentication is not necessary for websites. Has a user registration feature. Authentication is necessary for Web applications. Doesn’t have a user registration feature.
Type of Software A web browser and internet is needed to access a website. Doesn’t count as an entire website, but only part of it.
Compilation Doesn’t mandate pre-compilation.  Pre-compiling is mandatory prior to deployment.
Development Time Take a few days only. May take months.
Programming Languages JavaScript, HTML, and CSS HTML, PHP, and Ruby
Maintenance & Support Easy to maintain and manage. Difficult to manage and maintain.

Verdict

This was a rundown on website vs web app. Whether you decide to opt for a website or a web application is dependent completely on you and what your needs entail. But before you jump the horse and invest in either one, it would be wise to get in touch with us at Trango Tech first so we can help you avoid any bad business decision. Our in-house team of expert developers are skilled in the art of website and web app development.

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