Yes, Sitefinity is a web application, which is good in my opinion! :)
I'm not sure if you can convert it to a website. I once worked with such configuration, but I'm not sure how they managed to run it as a website. I ran into all kind of troubles though.
Regarding the changes: You could try to disable the caching of the site, while developing? Goto:
Administration -> Settings -> Advanced -> System -> Output Cache Settings
And disable the 2 checkboxes.