Welcome to the debate about the core experience of internet browsing: websites and web-based applications. The dilemma of whether to choose a website or a web app is becoming increasingly difficult to resolve thanks to the modern interactive nature of the web development process.

People often confuse web applications for websites and vice versa. But why? They both run in browsers, are integrated with the devices they use, and require an internet connection to function. Interactivity is not limited to apps, as websites also use it and confuse end-users alike. While it may not matter to lay people, if you’re looking for a solution for your business, this interactivity is crucial. The process of creating a web application and website involves different development strategies, design, and time.

If you’re having trouble grasping the difference and you’re looking for an online service for your business, read on, because we’re delving into the key differences between web applications and websites to help you see your options and learn what differentiates various types of web content.

Websites

Websites play a vital role in internet navigation. Access to government portals and the healthcare system, educational sites where you can learn and find academic resources, social media, galleries, news sites, and e-commerce pages are likely websites. Until relatively recently, all pages on the web were static websites.

But more specifically, a website is a compilation of content that appears on multiple web pages with the same domain. Users use a web browser to consume information and find the data they need. In the past, they were defined by static, non-interactive material that did not update dynamically and did not allow for responses. Today, however, web developers are also creating dynamic websites that are more like applications and are dynamic in nature and features. 

Both types of websites serve their purpose, as diverse businesses from accounting firms to podcasts need different types of websites. In terms of technology, most websites use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

More complicated, dynamic websites use databases and other computer languages to support back-end contact with users.

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Examples of effective websites:

This commercial illustration and production agency presents their graphic offerings with an original and diverse drawing style in a fresh and engaging way. You can easily navigate through the website and access examples of their work as well as art offerings such as animations, videos, logos, and storyboards. It’s immediately clear how to navigate and what they want you to do – browse their portfolio and contact them for inquiries

HR scheduling tool Kin has a much more contemporary design feel, but largely serves the same purpose. Kin uses a screen of a scheduler that you can imagine how you’ll use the tool. With compelling content, a suggestion, and a free trial button, clients can quickly locate the solution or product they want.

Pros and cons of a business website 

Pros:

One of the most important reasons why you’d want to create a website is that it can help you get the word out about your business and expand your customer base. A solid and well-designed website for your business builds trust and credibility. 

If properly optimized for search engine optimization, it may attract more customers, help you meet your goals, and allow you to reach a new audience. It’s also a great way to showcase your products and services, like a portfolio that you can access at any time.

Potential customers can visit your website at any time of day and from any location. They can also place orders for products, find the site FAQ, or contact you via a chatbot even outside of business hours.

Cons:

A contact form on your website can attract a large number of unsolicited spam emails from bot traffic or other malicious actors. Sorting information and finding relevant customers or business offers takes time and effort on the part of employees.

Websites also lack a complicated interaction feature, which could discourage younger people from using the service. Also, if a consumer has an unpleasant experience on your website, they may post negative reviews about your business. If a potential customer sees such reviews, they may decide against your services or to go with a competitor. Reputation and customer base could suffer in the long run. 

Web-based applications

Web applications are dynamic software programs that people can access through a web browser and that aim to keep users engaged. There is no need to download web apps. You access them through a URL, similar to web pages. Web apps respond to the user’s requests to the web server and are often connected to a database in the back end.

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Instead of just displaying material or transmitting information, web apps perform several activities as well. They enable shopping, communication, food ordering, and content management. Web applications are more difficult to build because they are highly customizable and responsive to user behavior, and therefore require an experienced team of software engineers, front-end and back-end developers, and quality assurance specialists. Examples include Twitter, Wikipedia, and YouTube.

Almost every web-based application requires server-side processing. Web apps excel at helping visitors complete tasks, such as converting files, editing resumes on Canva, registering for events, or monitoring tasks on Asana. Web apps may be a better choice if you want to engage your users more directly.

Examples of great web apps:

Google’s suite of tools such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides are among the most popular web apps. The users’ interfaces are simple and easy to use and are available on a wide range of devices. They’re also shareable and you can edit in real-time over an internet connection. The aesthetics are great, and the formulas are easy to use.

Another powerhouse of a web app is Spotify. Not only is Spotify one of the leading audio streaming apps, but the company’s launch of a progressive web app in 2021 led to a surge of paid users. This was in large part due to the better usability and responsive design that web apps offer.

Of course, web apps can also be relatively simple. The word puzzle Wordle and several of its spinoffs like Worldle and Wheredle are all web applications. Part of why it’s so successful is the simplicity and interactive nature of the game.

Pros and cons a web app for business

Pros:

Web-based apps offer more interaction, engagement, and integration. They do not need to be downloaded or installed. Web apps are scalable and some cross-platform apps can work across operating systems, which makes them very versatile and scalable. 

Web apps are also easier to manage because they run on the same code throughout the app. You’ll not find any compatibility issues here. They are also easily customizable so you can add new designs, UX/UI updates, and other functionalities as your business or the market changes. 

Web-based apps can help you save money as they require less physical equipment and space to store servers.

Cons   

Since web applications are not available in the App Store or Play Store, they can be hard to find. A web application is usually developed for a specific operating system. Therefore, it is difficult to educate consumers about the existence of such applications. In addition, web applications depend on websites, internet connections, and browsers to function. This means that changes to the browser or connectivity could affect service.

Data security is also a concern. Since web app data is stored in a cloud-based server, there are more vulnerabilities to contend with. Using SSL certificates and other security best practices can help secure your web app. A reputable vendor can guide you through that process.

Which one is right for your business?

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As you may have noticed, our website vs. web application is not over yet. All in all, you still have to make a decision about which option is more effective and practical for your business. Both web applications and websites are commonly used by small to large businesses, depending on their objectives and budget. They are excellent tools for conducting business over the internet and engaging your customer base. The type and goals of your business are the only factors that play a role in deciding one option or the other.

  • Choose a website if you want to attract new customers, garner more leads, and build strong brand recognition without spending a lot of money and have a professional business card for your services and products.
  • A web-based app is the way to go if you want to implement a complex, entertaining, and profitable product concept while providing a channel for communicating with customers that allows them to easily complete certain tasks such as purchasing, booking, or streaming videos.

Without having to bother about the website vs. web debate, a knowledgeable web design company can assist you in creating and building the greatest possible solution for your organization.

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Websites vs. Web Apps: Which one is right for your business? - marcel-100px Hi, I’m Marcin, COO of Applandeo

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