Websites and web apps both streamline your business and give you a competitive advantage. But what are the separate benefits and drawbacks that each one has?
Before we answer that, it’s important to ask the question, “why does your business need a website or web application?”
Then, think about the fundamental difference between a web app and a website. A web app pushes the limits on design aesthetics, usability, and value. A web app opens up a whole new world of possibilities for a business.
Choosing the right option for your business is a crucial business decision. In fact, in recent years, we’ve seen many business owners discuss what is the best way to build their online presence, by building a website, web app, or both.
Websites and web apps are not the same thing. The subtle differences between the two are important, and knowing what those differences are can help you choose the right option.
The decision should be mostly based on the unique needs of your business and other factors, such as:
- Mandatory features
- The purpose of the website
- Your target audience(s)
- Your total budget
If you aren’t sure what your website will be for, then you’ll develop unrealistic expectations for yourself or your web development services company.
Have no fear because we’ve got all the important information laid out here. We’ll be showing you the major aspects of web applications and regular websites and their key differences.
As I’m sure you can relate, web applications and websites are an irreplaceable part of our lives. Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia are used by billions of people, and all of these people know the differences between these websites.
What is a Website?
Let’s start with the basics. What is a website? Since the birth of the internet, its goal has been to disseminate information to the masses.
With this simple goal in mind, we started with classic HTML, which was just static pages with content and media accessed via a URL address. These websites lived on servers that were connected to the web network. Even back then, these sites were cable of sending information around the world 24/7.
Now, what about web applications? These are another type of web tool that tend to be more action-oriented. They work just like any other software. They can utilize augmented rich internet application technology (RIA), which is what Silverlight, Flash, and JavaFX are.
Web applications are usually hosted over the internet and utilized in web browsers. They also offer a great range of features and functions than a website. Some high-quality web applications are Slack, Gmail, Trello, and Google Drive.
The Main Differences Between a Website and Web App
Here are the main differences between the two:
Web apps are better than websites at integrating with other online tools and software. These third-party integrations let the website app collect, process, and store data. These integrations also elevate UX (user experience) by helping create a more personalized experience with the content.
When it comes to integration, the difference between the two can be summed up this way: with websites, integrations are optional. For web apps, it’s the main function. Your web development services company will understand this and design it accordingly.
Authentication is a necessity if you’re handling sensitive information – after all, you must prevent unauthorized access, thus protecting you and your customers. Authentication means having a login procedure frequently in the form of a password and username. Only authenticated users can access the data on the website.
Of course, not every website needs authentication. Most information websites don’t require it.
On the other hand, for web applications, it’s much more common. While Wikipedia doesn’t ask for authentication to access its information, most pages on Facebook ask you for your password and login ID to view them.
Consider the level of interaction involved with a single page on a website. For example, an About Us page is designed for users to read it and be informed that way. Its job is to provide information and usually doesn’t require any further interaction from users.
On the other hand, a web app requires interaction and input from users. This interaction can occur in numerous ways, including form submissions, responses to those forms, Live Chat, or electronic payments.
Other Web Apps
There are also even more actions that a web app can perform, including online shopping, hotel booking, and even ordering food.
With the increase in actions and functions, the line between a web app and a website is becoming more and more blurred. This is largely thanks to the emergence of cutting-edge “hybrid” frameworks, such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Single-Page Apps (SPA).
Should You Choose a Web App or a Website?
A website is useful if you’re trying to inform users about your product or offer. A website works if you’ve just got a landing page with a simple form for subscribing.
A web app will provide more opportunities for interaction. If you’re looking for deeper user involvement, then a web app can be the best option.
For example, when looking at work apps (most of the Google ones), they are update-able and dynamic, meaning that everyone who has access to a Google project can update and access the essential files.
Examples of interactions in real estate apps are:
- Viewing accommodations
- Archiving them
- Setting up meetings with agents
- Making appointments for viewings
Conclusion: Web App or Website?
It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Go for a web app if you want to:
- Solve specific problems that businesses are having
- Do more than just brand your business online
- Create a robust communication channel
- Maximize your customer service and thereby increase revenue and sales
A web development services company like Salt Rank can assist you in whichever direction you decide to go into. If you need personalized advice for your business, feel free to get in touch with us!