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website vs web app

Website vs Web application – What’s the Best Fit For Your Business?

Do you need a website or web application? Do you even know the difference between these two? Sometimes it’s hard to know what is the difference between them but this post will help you decide what best suits your business needs.

Website

When someone says “website”, your first thought is probably a collection of beautifully designed, informative pages with text, images, animations, and video combined. And that’s a pretty good description of a website. The whole purpose of a website is a presentation of a particular topic, business, person, or anything else to the general public. We can also say it’s a one-way informational feed. By now you’ve already visited thousands of websites, and you are on one now too. Maybe you’ve seen it on social media, business card, advertisement or you googled a specific term and ended up here. These are all sources that can guide you to a particular website. Also, websites are static, which means every user at the same time sees the same content on the page. To understand it better, let’s break down a typical website into smaller parts.The website usually consists of a couple of sections and pages, such as:

  • Header/Cover – here to catch viewer’s eye and interest, with appropriate call-to-action
  • Services – here are listed website’s owner services usually alongside FAQ
  • About – additional information or story about company or person, mostly with team showcase
  • Portfolio/Projects – past works, references or case studies with images and explanations
  • Gallery – a collection of images or videos 
  • Blog – collections of categorized posts providing news or other articles
  • Privacy Policy – explanation on how the website uses user’s data
  • Contact – additional contact info, with appropriate contact form

 

You can even build your website today without any extra knowledge in software development. There are many simple page builders available out there such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly but these are very limited if your requirements and expectancies are high. If you are looking for quality, then your best option is to contact a digital agency specialized in creating great websites. That way you can have a much better presentation of your business, like these websites below are doing a great job in presenting the business:

flowchart - build website or webapp?

Web Application

Web application on the other hand is a much more interactive version of a website. It is still providing information to users, but users usually have many more options for interacting with the presented data. A web app is usually connected to some kind of a data source, for example, a database, which means users can do a variety of operations with provided data through the web application’s user interface. Take for example Gmail which is a web application. You can create new emails that contain data such as email addresses, subject, message, attachments, you can send and receive messages, save them as a draft, or even categorize them by their topic. This means that the web application is providing dynamic content, i.e. every user sees different data in the browser and all these operations on data should be secured from unauthorized and malicious access. 

The purpose of web applications may be different for each company, some will need a content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), social networking or data analysis system, while some will need an e-commerce solution that includes an online store and inventory system for managing their items and transactions. Some examples of web applications are Gmail, Youtube, Google Docs, Skype, Shopify, etc. Most common types of web applications are:

Content Management System (CMS)used to manage digital content for a particular website, like posts, text, images, videos, users, etc. Inside the CMS, there are usually defined a few different user roles with different permissions for particular actions. One of the most famous content management systems currently is WordPress.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)used to manage, build, observe, and analyze a company’s interactions with its past, current, and potential customers. Possibilities of CRMs are endless, they can track and measure different marketing campaigns, aggregate transaction information, and build customer structures and segments to provide key performance indicators.

Business Process Automation Systemsoftware tailored to automate the company’s tasks for a specific purpose. Imagine that you have to use four different tools to manage your inventory items or to manage your customer support. Wouldn’t it be easier to use only one tool that connects all these parts?

Web Portal – can be public (external), or private (internal) and is used to display common information for staff. It can also serve as a status tracking system, staff organizer, etc.

E-commerce / Online Store – a platform through which different products can be sold, usually has an inventory system integrated to appropriate CRM for managing customers, inventory, and transactions.

Membership Site – content for users is provided on a different membership basis. Examples are web applications that provide courses or training content and track user’s progress.

So, is it a website or a web application?

Firstly, think what is the main purpose of your online solution, is it the showcase of your company, team, and services or is it a system for accessing and manipulating sensitive data that can be accessed only by authorized personnel. Sometimes you will need both, and that’s also okay because the solution can be made like a hybrid between those two. If you still can’t decide what is the best solution for you, then we are offering you a free consultation on what is the best fit for you, feel free to contact us through a form below.

Erik Matošević
erik@theorionlabs.com