What is WaaS? Website as a Service

Website as a Service (WaaS) is an alternative to traditional Fixed Price Website Projects, where instead of a large up-front cost, the project is paid for monthly over the course of a contract. But is WaaS right for your business? Let's take a look.

What is WaaS? Website as a Service

What is WaaS?

Website as a Service (WaaS) is an alternative approach to website design and development. Similar to Software as a Service (SaaS), WaaS projects are sold as a package that includes website design, website development, SEO, Hosting, Maintenance and more. These packages are then paid for monthly over the course of a contract.

Compare buying a website to buying a car - There's two ways you go go about it.

You can buy a car outright with cash, meaning you 100% own the car, or you can lease it.

Leasing the car still allows you to drive it and make use of it, but you technically don't own it. Although you usually can buy it if you like it at the end of your contract.

Traditional Fixed Price Website Projects and WaaS are very similar.

With a Traditional Fixed Price Project, you pay for the website upfront and on completion, the website is yours. You can usually move suppliers, have access to the code, it's fully in your ownership.

Whereas with WaaS, you still get the advantage of being able to use your website to market your business, but you can't move away from the agency that built it and you usually don't have access to the code.

WaaS projects allow you as the client to have almost all of the benefits of a traditional Fixed Price Website Project, but without the large upfront cost.

What isn't WaaS?

WaaS is not a replacement for traditional Fixed Price Website Projects - Those aren't going anywhere anytime soon!

Website as a Service is also not a self-service like website builders out there that for a monthly fee allow you to build and host your site.

A WaaS project is still an agency advising, designing and developing your website, but the terms of payment and ownership are simply different.

With Website as a Service Projects, you still get the benefit of an agency by your side during development and beyond, you're not having to do everything yourself.

That said, in order for web design agencies to make a profit from WaaS projects, the websites themselves tend to be less custom and therefore have less functionality in order to reduce development time.

WaaS projects tend to have less functionality and less custom development, which is why they're great for startups for businesses with simple website requirements.

Is WaaS better than a Fixed Price Website Project?

WaaS projects can be better for some businesses, but definitely not suited to others.

If budget is your main concern, but you still want to work with an agency to get that level of quality that isn't possible with DIY website builders, then a WaaS project is the best option.

However if you are an established business looking to take full ownership of your website as an investment or if you have complex functionality needs, a WaaS project will not be up to the task.

Pros of WaaS:

  • Speed of Launch - As WaaS projects tend to be smaller and more streamlined, they tend to be much quicker to launch. A traditional Fixed Price Website Project may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to launch, where as a WaaS project (depending on scope) can launch in as little as 2-4 weeks.
  • All-In-One Solution - Rathee than having to work with different agencies for Web Design, Web Development, SEO and Maintenance, usually a WaaS provider will offer all of these as part of a single package. This makes budgeting, communication and organization much easier.
  • Commitment - WaaS projects tend to run for a fixed amount of time, such as 2 years. This means if your business is likely to pivot or you want to invest in a Fixed Price Website Project later, there's less initial investment upfront.
  • Smaller Upfront Costs - With traditional Website Projects costing anywhere from $10,000 - $100,000+, WaaS projects usually have a much smaller initial deposit, sometimes as little as one month payment upfront.

Cons of WaaS:

  • Functionality - If you're looking for a website with complex functionality requirements, such as a backend login for your customers or complex Ecommerce needs, a WaaS project is not as likely to cover these requirements due to the amount of development and cost involved.
  • Fixed-Term Contracts - Should you want your website to be online for a long time, WaaS might not be for you. WaaS projects tend to have fixed term contracts, so it's important to see whether contracts can be rolled over or continued ahead of time.
  • Tied To A Provider - While alsoa positive that you have one agency to work with, if relationships turn sour for any reason, this could mean you're stuck. You can't take your website from one agency and give to another to look after.
  • Ownership - You never really 100% own your website with WaaS. Like SaaS, you are paying for the usage, meaning you won't have access to the code and at the end of your contract, you won't have a deliverable to show for it.
You can read our Fixed Price Website Project or Website as a Service (WaaS) blog for a much more detailed comparison between WaaS and traditional Fixed Price Website Projects.

What businesses can benefit from WaaS?

WaaS is a fantastic option for businesses who:

  • Have a limited budget for a custom website
  • Don't want to use a DIY website builder
  • Still want the expertise of an agency
  • Only want to deal with a single agency
  • Want the flexibility in the short term

All of the above tends to point to smaller businesses or startups who want to get online quickly while also having the option to pivot in the future without wasting a large initial investment.

Not all businesses who choose WaaS are small though - Some simply prefer the simplicity WaaS offers them.

Some businesses aren't as reliant on their website as others and may perform the bulk of their marketing or sales elsewhere.

At Always Fresh, businesses who choose our WaaS projects do tend to be smaller, but we also have some clients who are much more substantial and just want to keep things simple.

Is WaaS the future of website projects?

It already is! As a full-service Webflow agency, we ourselves offer both traditional Fixed Price Website Projects and WaaS projects.

Why? Because of the advantages each methodology has for different businesses.

We work with a multitude of companies, from startups to seasoned enterprizes and by offering both options, we can advise businesses on which would be best for them.

If you're still not 100% sure on what WaaS is or how it may (or may not) benefit your business, click these purple words and we'll happily advise you!

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