What is a Headless CMS?

Headless CMS is a popular trend for the past few years, especially in the field of digital content management. CMS is short for Content Management System, but what is headless CMS? This article deals with this interesting concept, the benefits, and which companies need to go headless. 

How it got its name

This CMS is headless, meaning the head and the body operate independently of each other. The head here represents the front-end presentation layer, and the body represents the backend content repository. The content that is in the repositories will be easily created, labelled and stored in modules also within these repositories. This will be managed by the marketers, while designers and developers work in the presentation layer. 

Benefits of Headless CMS

  • Comes with a wide variety of API Connectivity to conduct various functionalities, and helps in SEO too
  • It is easy for businesses to access and edit Metadata to make it SEO friendly
  • A horde of features to make it easy for marketers with its drag and drop content modules, preview screens, versioning, one-click publishing, etc.
  • Easy to create and change URLs
  • Makes it easy for developers to implement canonical tagging by editing the HTML in the header tag
  • Allows for easy editing of Markup to make it easier for search engines

Headless CMS VS traditional CMS

In traditional content management systems brands can create and share content on their websites or applications. The CMS lets you do everything, including CRUD – Creation, Reading, Upgrading and Deleting. 

But headless CMS is different. Brands can manage their content, but it doesn’t bother with how the content is displayed. The content can reach anywhere, and so they can be presented from anywhere, even inside smartwatches and virtual reality headsets. In the past, content was delivered only through websites and blogs. 

But now things are different. They can be delivered through connected devices, where several kinds of interfaces are involved. Businesses are looking to deliver content through these portals, away from the boundaries of standard web browsers. Brands can manage and organise content without a connected display layer or front end. 

It is the way they present content, and the quality of content they produce that mark the success and popularity of a brand. That was how it was years ago, and still is. When consumer behaviour changes considerably, the way content is presented must also be relative. It must change to accommodate the changing needs. Since there are multiple channels, it is important to deliver different content in all of them. You cannot serve the same wine in different coloured bottles. People appreciate different things, things that stand out. So you need to incorporate a smart content architecture to stand out, to deliver personalised, attractive content. 

There is something known as information architecture that needs to be considered. Information architecture is a technique where you organise and label content. Such content is easily findable. 

This would be easier with an example. 

Imagine that you run a cycle store. There are so many different kinds of bicycles for sale – Mountain bikes, cross country bikes, road bikes, cyclocross and so on. Then you deal with different manufacturers for tyres, frames, seats, other bicycle components. How does a shopper visiting your website find information on a particular bicycle? The content has to be easily available. This is where the information architecture comes into play, where the content delivery network methodically organises and labels each piece of content so they can be easily searched and found.

The headless CMS content architecture seeks to address all the content challenges that develop when the new portals find their way in. Traditional CMS takes a backseat, when you consider the benefits of headless architecture. And it is great for marketers, developers and users.

Benefits of Headless CMS

Headless CMS is the future of content management because it appeases all, as mentioned above. There are two main reasons for it:

User expectations are always high and when you present highly interactive content, amazing and responsive, you can do it with headless CMS. 

All kinds of devices and platforms are emerging, and to deliver excellent content to connect with your audience, you need smart options. Marketers and developers can leverage the benefits of headless CMS to deliver consistently. 

Companies that will benefit from headless CMS

You can’t turn a blind eye to the importance of content. It is omnipresent, because content can be found everywhere, and it manifests itself in various portals and formats. If your business is looking to provide customised content to people and deliver useful information throughout their buying journey, headless CMS would be the right thing to adopt. 

If you are still wondering whether it is a good choice for you, here are certain things to consider:

If your app is as important as your website

Most people do not even visit websites, but they visit apps regularly. Many businesses do not even update their websites with promotions and offers, but would be very prompt with their apps. It is not that they are neglecting the website, but they know where their people are. 

Is yours an IoT product

If you have to deliver content on IoT products, then going headless is the only option. These would let content delivered on smartwatches, smart refrigerators, gaming consoles and so on. 

You need to develop separate versions of your website so it can be viewed on different devices

It’s time to switch to headless CMS if you spend loads of time just developing and editing content so it can accommodate different screens. 

If you are planning to upgrade to headless CMS, choosing the right software is important, so keep that in mind. 

How headless CMS appeals to marketers, developers and users

Marketers love it because…

They can take the created content and place it anywhere to reach users accessing different portals. All they need to focus on is marketing the content and creating awesome cohesive experiences for users, and less time on the administration part.

Users adore it because…

They can enjoy responsive and consistent content across all channels. Unlike in the traditional CMS systems, the front side doesn’t have to communicate with the backend, so no time is lost. The CMS just has to render the content. 

Developers vouch by it because…

They just have to use the latest APIs and push out content without worrying about the backend restrictions of the programming languages that they use. If they lack expertise in that, they don’t have to worry about it, but instead, do a better job than ever before. 

So who should opt for traditional CMS?

It doesn’t mean that just because headless CMS is in vogue, you have to use that. Traditional CMS is a great system that works for other deployment types. If you run a small business, or build your own website or have some content that you wish to share through your website, and not through other digital portals, then you can go for the old system. If you want to get your own website up and running fast, and manage your site from a single source, traditional CMS is a good choice. And they also come with plugins to enable multi-site access, so you can share your content with external applications. 

Interesting Links:

More information about Headless Content Management System

Some of the trending Headless CMS you should put on your radar

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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