Content management systems (CMS) have played a critical role in the web's transformation since the early 2000s. When you're building a website for your business, chances are you've considered using a content management system (CMS), as they power a significant portion of the internet's total live websites.
A CMS is an application used to build a website from the ground up. It handles everything from text to digital graphics and page layout and navigation between pages. The pages can be designed using a variety of existing themes and templates. A content management system eliminates the need for coding, making it easy for non-technical people to edit and develop a website.
Traditional content management systems like WordPress and Joomla were created with the web in mind. They provide the convenience of having all of the tools needed in one place, but that is no longer sufficient. Today's content has various formats and can be displayed on a wide range of devices and communication channels. Traditional CMSs are ineffective for businesses that want to distribute content as quickly and easily as possible across all mediums.
Headless CMS is widely regarded as the evolution of content management systems, aiming to solve the problem of content distribution on multiple platforms. In this article, you'll learn what headless CMS is and what makes it special. Finally, you'll be able to decide if it's a good fit for your needs.
What Is Headless CMS?
Headless CMS is a new type of content management system that is gradually dominating the market and stealing the thunder of traditional CMSs. It's commonly defined as software as a service (SaaS) and the content is separated from the output. The headless part doesn't mean that a head isn't required; rather, you can have multiple heads and switch them out as needed without having to re-author your content. Basically, each output is the head, while the body is where the content is created and stored. Contrary to traditional CMSs, headless is considered a back-end only content management system. This means that you can upload your content once and then with the implementation of APIs you can deliver it on multiple channels.
A head could consist of multiple websites, mobile applications, social media networks, etc. As content in a headless system is not bound to the presentation layer, you can use whatever technology suits your needs to build your applications. Traditional CMSs, on the other hand, handle all aspects of the process. Assume you're using one to create content, manage workflows, and publish content on your pages. The content is tied to a single output, and it is not reusable. The flexibility of choosing heads or technologies to output your content is what makes a headless CMS so appealing.
Although the content creators still have an interface and databases where they store their content, there’s no web application, just raw content coming from your headless CMS. Ideally, you would want to be able to have as many heads as you want, including e-commerce systems, mobile apps, and other types of content. So the whole idea behind headless is to be able to have as many choices as possible, and the approach is designed to support any upcoming technologies.
Benefits of Headless CMS
Headless CMS is growing rapidly, and there are plenty of reasons for that. Let's see some of the benefits this technology brings to the table.
Efficient Content Development
Even though content is at the forefront of the digital world, many content developers tend to worry more about code than content. However, headless CMS allows content developers to focus solely on content creation for their company. By using a headless CMS, content writers do not need to worry about the appearance of their content across all of their channels.
One of the biggest benefits is that your website will function properly on all platforms and devices, including mobile apps, IoT devices, smartwatches, single-page websites, and so on. The way it's designed to work guarantees that your users will have access to the same content regardless of their device. This adds a certain level of consistency to your project and increases customer satisfaction.
A headless CMS disconnects a company's content publishing platform from the CMS database, reducing the risk of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and making data less vulnerable to manipulation. Furthermore, the content of companies that is accessible through APIs is almost always "read-only," which adds another layer of security. Developers can also hide the API behind multiple layers of code, making it very difficult for an attacker to break in. In general, with headless CMS, potential backend security issues don't affect the front end of your application.
Headless CMS allows you to build new websites and add new features to existing projects faster and at reduced costs. Furthermore, because a headless CMS separates content from the presentation layer, businesses can easily upgrade their CMS without changing the look and feel of the website or hiring a CMS specialist. This efficiency allows businesses to save a significant amount of time and money. Additionally, maintenance and management have also become cheaper and easier. The flexibility to select all the components of your technology stack allows you to pick the most suitable options that match your expertise and your budget.
With a headless CMS, you can create new content and publish it right away without facing the limitations of traditional platforms. You'll see a drastic reduction in writing turnaround times, and you won't waste time waiting for pages to load. Because everything happens in a single request, fewer connections are required. The result will be significantly faster delivery of content to your users. A single piece of content can be used again in a variety of presentation formats, and this also adds to the increased speed of project completion.
Scalability is one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a content management system. A headless CMS is much more scalable than a traditional CMS, and developers can implement a scalable, high-availability architecture. More and more, you can see websites built with traditional CMSs progressively getting really slow. Headless CMS separates the content from the presentation layer, making it fast and scalable and allowing you to grow your business as your digital presence expands.
In Which Situations Is a Headless CMS the Best Choice?
Traditional CMS is probably the first technology that comes to mind when you want to create a website due to its popularity. WordPress, in particular, powers 43.2% of all websites on the internet and is generally preferred by people that lack technical skills or don't have advanced functionality needs.
In contrast, a headless CMS is becoming increasingly important for organizations that need to deliver consistently cross-platform experiences across multiple channels. With a headless CMS, you can control how and where your content gets published. This makes it a lucrative option for innovative teams, particularly in fast-paced industries like e-commerce, financial services, technology companies, etc.
Additionally, contrary to traditional, a headless CMS gives you the flexibility to select the most suitable technology stack to build your projects. Suppose your team is already familiar with frameworks like React or Vue. In that case, you can use that knowledge and choose a headless CMS that will allow you to create complex and custom functionality for multiple outputs.
When A Headless CMS Might Not Be Necessary?
Headless is a powerful and flexible solution that's on the rise. Of course, this doesn't mean that it is the best solution for all businesses. Below are some reasons why a headless CMS might not be the preferable choice.
Lack of technical skills: If your team is small with no deep technical expertise and your budget isn't sufficient to hire an outsource team, using a traditional CMS might be safer.
Simple requirements: It takes time and effort to get the most out of a headless CMS. If your needs are simple and your project does not require some of the advanced features of a headless CMS, a traditional CMS would be a better fit.
A growing number of companies are using headless content management systems to create websites. Headless CMS architecture is flexible because it allows developers to work in any framework of their choice, adaptable because the content, which is raw data, can be used for any application or device, and future proof because technology evolves at a rapid pace, and a headless CMS allows you to evolve alongside it. The question is whether you should use a headless CMS or a traditional CMS.
In many cases and industries, going headless is the best option. It's a lot easier to manage content, and it's a lot more efficient and secure than any traditional CMS. Companies that spend a lot of time publishing and working on their content should seriously consider using a headless CMS. Furthermore, content is stored in a single location, giving you greater control.
Are you interested in a headless CMS and want to learn more? Give us a call!