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Website vs Web Application: Which One to Choose for Your Business?

Website vs Web Application: Which One to Choose for Your Business?

WEB development
Recently, the distinction between a web application and a website has become more subtle as websites are now more interactive and can integrate with CRM systems. However, we at Peiko understand how far they have come in terms of development and use cases.That's why we'd like to share our take on the difference between a website and a web application.

Having a website is a must-have for the brand's online presence. With its help, you will quickly let users know who you are, why you are unique, and what exclusive offers you have for them. A significant majority, around 73%, of small enterprises recognize the value of having a website as it serves as their online representation, fostering customer trust and leaving a lasting initial impression. This understanding is precisely why they have invested in establishing a website.
By the year 2024, the global count of software developers is projected to surge, reaching an estimated 29 million individuals, a substantial increase from the 23 million reported in 2018. This also explains why the job of website developers has become so popular these days.

But what if you need more than just informing your audience about your services? For example, you may want users to ultimately take a specific action, such as a purchase, order, or transaction directly with you. For this purpose, be ready to go to the next level - web applications. Here you no longer inform users, but provide the necessary functions for their actions.

Peiko ensures that the experience of your users is personalized and pleasant regardless of your choice. For your attention, in this article we are going to consider the following questions:

- What is the difference between web applications and websites?
- Is using a web application a safer option for users than a website?
- Are web application sites the best tool for increasing your brand awareness?
- What examples of web applications do you need inspiration from?

So, let's begin our research!

Exploring the Distinction: Web Applications vs. Websites

Let's delve into a comparison between web applications and websites, uncovering the unique characteristics of each.
A web application is essentially a software program accessible through a web browser. It typically requires user authentication to access its functionalities. Combining server-side scripts with client-side scripts, a web application presents dynamic information to users. It relies on a server to handle user requests and manage data transactions. Notable examples of web applications include Google Apps, Amazon, and YouTube.
On the other hand, a website is a compilation of interconnected web pages comprising various multimedia elements such as images, text, audio, and video. It can range from a single page to multiple pages, catering to diverse content needs. Websites primarily offer visual and textual content for users to browse and consume. Accessing a website simply requires a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox. Websites can be classified into different types, including archive websites, blogs, community platforms, and more. For instance, a restaurant's website may showcase its menu and operating hours, while a forum or blog serves as a platform for discussions and sharing information.
In summary, web applications focus on providing interactive software solutions through the browser, requiring authentication and employing server-side and client-side scripts. On the other hand, websites primarily offer visual and textual content for users to access through a web browser, encompassing various types and purposes.

Delving Deeper into Websites

Let's explore websites in more detail and uncover their various aspects and functionalities.

A website is a collection of web pages collected under a unique domain name. They are publicly available, united by a coherent structure and linked together to provide better navigation for both users and search engines. Although each site may have different intended uses, they generally share a common feature of focusing on information. The easier it is to convey it to the target audience, the more likely it is that users will not leave the site after a few seconds but, on the contrary, will stay on your site for a long time.

However, the visual side of the issue is just as important — a poor design can greatly affect the user bounce rate. Another factor to consider is your site's cross-device responsiveness — it should work equally well on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. In the fourth quarter of 2022, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 59.16 percent of global website traffic. Thus, by making your website mobile-friendly, you give users the ability to navigate on the go and increase the chances of them staying with you for as long as possible.
Reasons to Create a Website

Check out the top 4 arguments to get inspired and develop your website.

1. Tell others about your services

A website is ideal for hosting and updating your visual and textual content. The latter helps users learn about your value proposition in the market. To make it modern, you can also decide to add some interactive elements to your site, such as a contact form, online chat support, quizzes, subscriptions, special offers for sharing personal information, etc. Don't miss the chance to be memorable, but remember to be clear first!

2. Run a company blog

Blogging is the best way to drive more organic traffic to your website. Once users come to your online business space, you need to engage them to prove that you are worth their attention. Although it all depends on the specifics of your business, the most common tactic involves providing useful information. You can demonstrate your expertise by giving examples from real life, sharing your experience in solving their problems. After all, a professional blog convinces your readers that you are worth trusting.

3. Increase sales

When filling the site with content, do not forget about relevant CTAs. These messages should be clearly visible to guide your TA to the desired actions - conversions. This usually involves selling a product or service for a new purpose. This can also be counted in the number of new registrations, subscriptions, clicks to try for free, etc. Do not sound intrusive, but clearly show the expected scenario of your client's actions!

4. Maintain a regular online presence

In order for new customers to learn about your company, you must not only create a website, but also regularly update it with new and valuable information. It will also be a friendly reminder to those who know of your existence and are interested in the new offer. Double your chances of targeting your TA with different types of content, attractive offers, responsive widgets or other special offers.
Summarizing the above information, we would like to emphasize once again that blogging, having a regular presence on the Internet and talking about your services are important factors in creating your website.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of a website in table form

Types of Websites

When creating a new website, you have to define a purpose. You have only two ways of achieving it - through static or dynamic content organization.

Static websites

If your business is small and you can write your home page, about page and description of your services once and forget about it for a while, static websites are the best choice.

Creating a website with static content and disposable HTML and CSS requires little or no technical knowledge. WordPress is a good solution for small 3-5 page sites that will load quickly and host at a low cost. Resume builders, portfolio sites, landing pages, blogs, and read-only informational brochures all follow this path. Check out the Seasons in Color blog for example!

Dynamic websites

This type gives you more functional flexibility, allowing you to engage with users on a deeper level and customize content based on location, local time, and language preferences. This is where data management becomes more professional, and you can even turn your websites into a community that offers memberships, newsletters, online offices and other perks for loyal customers.
In this case, you will make your content more restricted and secure. However, this requires knowledge of programming languages ​​(JavaScript, PHP) and download time. You may check out Hubspot as a good example.

Delving Deeper into the web application.

Now let's look at what you need to know about the web application.

Web-based apps are software that do not need to be downloaded from the store or installed on your device. Like a website, it can be opened using a browser if you have an internet connection. At the same time, the web application has its advantages:
- better interaction with users,
- responsive adaptation to different screens,
- integration of various software components into one system, 
- higher safety standards.

But the main distinguishing feature of web application sites is their focus on functionality. Here, information and educational content recedes into the background, but the main thing is to serve the consumer by solving a specific problem.

Reasons for creating a web application
These four arguments will not leave you indifferent if you are considering a web application for your business, so check them out.

1. Add the necessary functionality
Unlike a website, a web application allows users to read content and manipulate data based on their input. A clear example is Wikipedia, where registered users can participate in creating, editing or expanding an article.

2. Process automation
With web applications, you can give users the ability to search your product catalogue and make online purchases with just a few clicks. E-commerce will greatly benefit from developing e-business solutions that are compatible with CRM systems such as eBay, Amazon, and AliExpress.

3. Protection of confidential user data
Although authentication is rarely a requirement for website use, it appears to be part of the registration process for web applications. Creating an account with a strong password and unique access data prevents your data from being hacked and used by attackers. In the sphere of banking, this is already a must-have. 

4. Provide more interactivity for customers
Social and messaging networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Slack also join the web application examples. Connecting users around the world with chats, content sharing tools, and feedback options, they serve as built-in web applications for user communication and entertainment.
To sum up the above, we would like to emphasize once again that the important factors in creating your site are adding the necessary functionality, automating processes, protecting confidential user data, as well as ensuring greater interactivity for customers.

Let's consider the pros and cons of developing web application in the form of a table

Types of web applications

Peiko recommends looking at the most popular types — web portals and online stores — among the many web applications you might see on the Internet.

Web portals
As a rule, the portal is a virtual space that combines several services under one hood. A digital-only bank like Monzo can provide a good example as it allows users to make international money transfers, pay bills, open deposits and perform other transactions.

But beyond this functionality, it strives for interaction: quality surveys, FAQ section, online support, social media posts, and more. In other words, the main task of the web portal is to maintain a dialogue with users and guide them in using the service to its logical end.

Online stores
Shopping is another area where web application development is gaining momentum. Since the beginning of 2021, more than 73% of the total e-commerce revenue worldwide is derived from online stores. Ordering was never as easy as it is now!

Thanks to the web application, you get full data control, visibility into customer behavior and quick understanding of marketing ideas. Peiko invites you to view TopUp App and Gs Diamonds as the fruits of our team's dedicated work. Develop similar functionality for your business!

When is it better to choose a web app over a website?

If you're looking to provide personalized content for different segments of your audience, integrate your app with other CRM systems to manage customer relationships more effectively, and create custom designs for your features, choose a web app.

Can a web application and a website co-exist?
If you already have a website, a web app might be the logical next step for scaling your business. After testing the popularity of your service, you can dare to play big. However, this step seems redundant unless your business requires complex integration with other software.

Choose the best web version for your business
Weigh your business priorities and you will get the answer. If you need to build a brand presence online, introduce yourself to potential clients, and start a blog to showcase your expertise, stop at the website for now. If you need to create a complex and safe-to-use solution that combines different services in one place, turn your attention to a web application.

Contact Peiko for expert web development services. We are happy to help you with both branding and website software development.
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