When clients come to us saying they need a website, quite often they’re actually talking about a web app. So we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post explaining the differences between web apps and websites. So here we go.
In nerdy techy terms, a website doesn’t have much of a ‘backend’ beyond basic CRUD (create, read, update, delete) capabilities. What this means in plain English is that, from the user’s perspective, what we refer to as a website is basically static. User interactivity is at a minimum.
A brochure website is graphic design, text and images. When we build these websites, most of our time is spent creating beautiful and attractive designs. It’s all about look and feel. And then, if you have us write the copy as well, it’s about saying the right things. Because there’s nothing else after that.
A blog is in much the same category as a brochure website. The main difference between a brochure website and a blog is that a blog is updated far more regularly than a brochure website. Of course many brochure websites also have a blog section – it’s advisable to have one because otherwise a website can go without being updated for months or years which Google doesn’t really like.
While a blog does have a backend – somewhere the blog owner can do to write new posts and publish them – it’s only basic CRUD functionality and nothing more. So while it uses many of the same technologies as a web app, it’s so basic that it still falls into the category of website (by our definition).
All news outlets fall into this category.
Web apps have a much more extensive backend. This means the website can ‘think’ and do things. So a shopping cart is a standard type of web app. While you may think an online store is simple because you use them a lot, there are actually a lot of steps that need to happen in order for you to order your new items.
We have CRUD functionality here because the owner can add new products to their store, along with images and other marketing assets that are supposed to help them communicate to their customers and thus sell the products. But a shopping cart must also add up prices, check the items are currently in stock, reach an order total, connect to a payment gateway, put the order through to fulfilment and send any necessary emails to the customer to let them know what’s going on. That’s quite a lot! And it’s definitely a lot more than a static web page.
If you then want to start helping the e-commerce platform learn about individual customer buying habits, we start to introduce algorithms and it all goes another level up!
These websites need to do a lot of the same logistics that e-commerce stores need, while also applying dynamic pricing algorithms to available seats and properties. This would be a massive amount of work if it had to be done manually.
Websites can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on the quality you’re looking for. At Smart & Slick, we are definitely not the cheapest for web design, but we believe that the service and quality of our work is well worth the price.
A brochure website can be created from scratch in 3-5 days normally.
Web apps vary widely in complexity and because of that, costs can be anything from a few hundred pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds depending on your requirements.
An e-commerce store can be created in a few weeks. Other, more bespoke web apps can take several months. This is a conversation.