While commencing a business one of the most dilemmatic questions that arises very often is- whether you need a web-app or a website for your business. This article provides you with ideas based on which you can differentiate a website from a web app. Before even considering to develop a digital presence of your business, it’s obvious that you should have a proper idea about your requirement.
There are various factors you need to consider before making up your mind about the website or an app (be it a web app or a mobile app). So what makes a website different from an app?
Having a vague idea on the difference between a website and a web app can hamper your decision-making process which might lead to building unrealistic expectations from the web development agency.
Website vs Web-App
It’s common for the business owners to be confused between the website and web app since both runs in browsers, both needs access to the internet, and both can be written in the same programming language. Yet, there is a difference between the website and web app.
If you are in need of a digital space where your customers can visit and gain all the information which is static in nature, like the features of your product, the history behind your company, the team behind your product, blogs, case studies, upload promotional videos or even your contact details, which are purely informational, then that space you will be offering your clients is website. Such a website is a “Marketing website”.
Web Apps, on the other hand, will still be supplying information, but there is an interaction with the users/customers. An engagement/interaction is expected from your customers, be it in the form of registering themselves, booking, purchasing, or any other form of activities with complex user journeys across different modules such as registration, billing details, transaction logs, product/service listings, adding items to cart, buying them and tracking the packaging and shipping process, etc.
A website usually doesn’t mandate the users to sign up, although some websites ask for user details in case the users wish to avail more information in the form of newsletters or such others. A web application, on the other hand, mandates the user to sign up to get access to the system.
Since it is mandatory for the users to sign up in case of Web apps, as a business, it becomes your responsibility to keep their data secure.
Summing up, Website is Informational; Web App is Interactive with respect to data.
Although these terminologies may not make a difference to the users, it’s important for the business to understand the same, so that it becomes easier to communicate to the web design agencies about your requirements and also to plan for future.
For eg: ikigaihub.com is a website while portal.ikigaihub.com is a web-app but from the user point of view, all s/he expects is to get access to the system to use the product/service.
How a website can be beneficial?
- Easy Access
The website is accessible to users through any browser across a wide range of devices and is compatible with multiple platforms which makes it widely reachable. All that your users need is the URL which makes it easier for them to share amongst their circle.
- Easy Updation
Since there is no engagement/activities from your users, the content on your website can be easily edited, updated or deleted as and when there’s a need without hampering any of your business activities so that your website is always up-to-date.
- Time and Cost
When compared to developing an app, website development is more time and cost effective considering the efforts required is lesser than that of the app. Also, the support and maintenance cost to be invested in a website is lesser when compared to that of an app.
SEO and online advertising is a great way to build awareness and also to increase your website traffic.
- Customer Satisfaction
A website can be a place to provide all the information from one place, in the form of FAQs or educational videos. It’ll be much easier for your customers to know everything that they need to know online and make a purchasing decision, rather having to physically come all the way to you to avail any information.
From the above points, it is clear that a website is a place to educate your users about your business products/service, make the information available 24*7, create awareness about your presence in the market, in short, it is one-way communication.
How a Web-App can be beneficial?
- Personalized Experience
The App can provide a personalized experience to the users based on their requirements, interests, behaviours, location and more. This can help in enhancing the user experience and also to boost the engagement.
As a business, you would definitely look forward to consistent growth. An app lets you understand the users’ behaviour across each module and lets you introduce new features and keep your users engaged, therefore, improving the stickiness with the app.
- Leverage Device Capabilities
A web app can use various features of the device such as camera, GPS location, and so on to enhance the user experience and can expand its possibilities of engaging the users in the form of push notifications, Device alerts, Instant and automatic updates etc.
- Customer Satisfaction
Additionally, apps allow for more interactive ways for the user to engage with your content. Rather than looking at the exact same text and images as a website, apps can integrate features which allow users to interact with certain components of the app.
When do you need a website or web-app?
Now that you know the advantages of developing a web app and website, you need to answer the below questions-
If your business has offline services such as logistics, UI/UX Design, etc and you want to attract customers to inquire about the pricing and services from you, you need a website to market your business on the digital front and add a new channel to acquire customers.
If your business is into selling furniture, clothing and apparels and you are planning to digitise your operations by having users buy your offerings online repeatedly, a web-app is what makes sense for your requirement.
Some businesses during the commencement, care about only creating awareness. But eventually, as the business grows, it can integrate several features, so that the platform becomes a hybrid of website and web app.
The decision on developing a website or web app depends on several factors. Whether your goal is to create awareness about your product by providing as much information as possible with the limited requirement for interaction from users, your readiness to ensure the security of the personal information provided by the users, target audience, and the budget among several other factors are to be considered.
There’s no hard and fast rule to first develop a website and then later, build a web app or integrate app in the website. As a business, two important factors to be kept in mind is how aware are you of the difference between a website and a web app (this helps you to make your future plans clearly) and what is that you should expect from such development. When the end goal is clear, your web development agency will be able to help you to suggest what might be beneficial for your business.