Content publishers are increasingly moving towards a headless CMS architecture. As opposed to a traditional content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Sitecore, a headless CMS offers higher flexibility and distribution potential.
The traditional CMS tools allow us to present content elements (like text, video, images) on websites but make it difficult to use the same content on other platforms because everything is bound by a code.
But these days, businesses are looking at using not only websites but also mobile sites, apps, conversational interfaces, and digital displays. A traditional CMS platform fails to keep pace with this and, hence, headless CMS platforms are rising in popularity.
As per a report, 86% of people have a positive outlook towards headless CMS.
A headless CMS is not bound by any webpage-oriented framework. Therefore, it makes it easy to use the same content on different platforms. It enables brands to develop a content management model to reach across multiple devices and channels.
But what exactly is a headless CMS? What are its benefits? We have collated a list of the top 7 such questions related to headless CMS. Let’s answer those all in this article.
1) What is a headless CMS?
The term ‘Headless CMS’ comes from an analogy where a traditional CMS is considered a body. The front-end system of the CMS (the website) is thus the head of the body. When you remove that head, you are left with a headless CMS.
Thus, a headless CMS platform has no default front-end system to present the content to the end-user.
As opposed to a traditional CMS where we have a back-end (for storing data) and a front-end (for showing data), the headless CMS only has a back-end repository for all the data that can be published through different channels. This helps solve the limitations of a traditional CMSs.
2) What are the major differences between a traditional CMS and a headless CMS?
The traditional and headless CMS platforms can be differentiated on various factors including the following –
- Investment – A traditional CMS has a large upfront cost while a headless CMS can offer a quick proof of concept.
- Content model – A traditional CMS is built for a single page while the headless CMS is a building block for many products.
- Supported devices – There is a limit to the number of devices a traditional CMS can support as opposed to a headless CMS that can support limitless devices.
- Updates – There are scheduled updates on a traditional CMS as opposed to a headless CMS where there are continuous updates.
- Development mindset – A traditional CMS is project-focused while the headless CMS is product-focused.
- Workflow – A traditional CMS has a waterfall workflow while a headless CMS adopts an Agile workflow.
- Reach – When it comes to reach, a traditional CMS only has one-to-one reach as opposed to a headless CMS that has one-to-many reach.
- Back-end system – The back-end system in a traditional CMS is monolithic and all-in-one. Whereas, in a headless CMS, it is a microservice and best-in-class.
3) Why should one consider a headless CMS?
A headless CMS can offer the following benefits, making it an ideal choice –
- Flexibility – Headless CMS is more flexible, along with being easier and faster. Since headless CMS is API-driven, one can choose any front-end. One can develop it as per their preference without having to conform to any development constraints. Headless CMS also allows a single content item to be reused and combined with several different presentation outputs. It offers an unlimited number of front-ends.
- Cost efficiency – Headless CMS allows for the development of proof of concepts. It allows organizations to start with smaller solutions and then scale it up as per their needs. This reduces the upfront costs.
- Future proof – By separating the presentation layer from the data layer, it makes the applications future-proof. Using a headless CMS, one can easily structure their content to make new projects easier for futureproofing.
- Scalability – In a headless CMS, the back-end and front-end are separated. Moreover, one has unlimited hosting options with a headless CMS. This makes it more scalable than a traditional CMS.
- Upgrades – A headless CMS is always up-to-date. This is a huge benefit because upgrading can often prove to be costly.
- Software architecture – A headless CMS offers better software architecture since the CMS platform and the published content are separate. It also offers better security, scalability, and availability.
4) Are headless CMS and decoupled CMS different?
A decoupled CMS is the one where the back-end and front-end of the system are separate. So, a headless CMS is actually a type of decoupled CMS.
A decoupled CMS may still have a front-end architecture where the content gets funnelled into templates before being displayed. This is not the case with a headless CMS where there is no established front-end environment.
Simply put, a headless CMS removes the front-end delivery layer completely. However, a decoupled CMS may retain the front-end delivery layer while allowing for headless content delivery at the same time.
5) What is a headless API?
A headless CMS, a back-end only CMS, makes the content accessible on any device via an API. This API is called the headless API.
6) Can I preview my content?
Since a headless CMS is a back-end only system, this is a common concern.
The answer is ‘Yes’. You can still review how your content looks before publishing it. But some additional development may be required to do that. It all depends on the front-end system and the channel you are considering for publishing your content.
7) What should I consider before adopting a headless CMS?
Despite all the benefits of adopting a headless CMS, you should consider a lot of things before jumping on the bandwagon.
You need to first assess your needs and your desired goals that you expect from a CMS. A headless CMS needs an experienced team to correctly implement it. You must have a team to ensure that the back-end and front-end are well-planned from the beginning to allow seamless sync later. You must also keep in mind that you’ll be needing specialized engineers to implement this.
You must define your expectations and then decide on whether to implement a headless CMS.
In conclusion, there’s a reason why headless CMS is gaining so much popularity these days. If your requirements align with what a headless CMS has to offer, then you must give headless CMS a shot.
Do you still have any questions? Get in touch with us at https://heptagon.in/