The headless CMS is not just a new buzzword, making its rounds through the digital world. In fact, it’s more than a CMS, it’s the agile way of approaching user experience and all that it encompasses: development, content creation, personalization, analytics and so on.
In trying to technically define the headless CMS, we find out that it is a back-end only content management system built as a content repository that makes content accessible via API (Application Programming Interface) to be displayed on any device and channel.
The term “headless” refers to the concept of removing the front-end, the head, from the back-end, the body. This, essentially, means you can add any “head” to your “body”.
Differences Between Headless and Traditional CMS
The main difference is exactly at the core, meaning that each of them has a different approach. With traditional CMSs, the website is connected to the content and any content creation has to wait until the website is up and running. Anything you want to change in your front end has to be built from scratch in the backend. Additionally, marketers and content creators rely on developers to make any major changes or to create landing pages.
On the opposite side, if you work with a headless CMS, you have the possibility to strategize your content, build relationships between content items, and then feed said content to any digital channel via APIs. You become omnipresent and have a transparent overview. Creatives are able to work independently from developers, decreasing the time-to-market.
To understand better the differences here is a more detailed overview:
|Architecture||Coupled architecture with the linked backend database and frontend presentation layer.||Decoupled architecture where the front-end presentation layer is separated from the backend database layer.|
|Channel Delivery||Limited to one channel at a time due to a predefined technology and structure. New channel integrations require extensive customization.||Connects to any frontend channel seamlessly with APIs that facilitate omnichannel content delivery.|
|Workflows||Restrictive workflows that create content bottlenecks, prevent reuse across channels and lead to content silos.||Facilitates collaboration and communication between teams for iterative development and deployment of content.|
|Integrations||Integrations must be compatible with current architecture or require additional resources and custom builds.||Flexibility to integrate with any technology needed to handle the job with the help of APIs.|
What Are The Benefits for Marketers?
The greatest advantage of using a headless CMS is the fact that it was built for the IoT era. Marketers can benefit from an omnichannel strategy and do so with ease. We will go into more detail below and see what are some other reasons to go headless.
As we found out, through its decoupled nature, a headless CMS is independent of any platform. As mentioned, it acts as a content repository that can feed the content to any device or channel. Brand consistency can be reached across channels and meet the customers on all devices, offering them an omnichannel customer experience. Consumers can move between channels without restarting their customer journey.
Any successful brand can say that this has become a normality in the past years and most eCommerce platforms are available on websites and mobile devices. And, while not easy, these 2 channels can be administered with moderate success from a traditional CMS. However, if you want to add more channels, like virtual assistants, for example, it would be a Sisyphean task to do it without a headless CMS.
Having a seamless user journey across devices also means you have a complete picture over the analytics, and you can work with a complete package of information in order to achieve the right level of personalization.
Having all the content in the same place also translates into better administration of said content. More than that, with a headless CMS, content creators and marketers are able to reuse individual items of content, to create reusable templates.
Some headless CMSs, like Storyblok, offer modular content blocks. These blocks also open up the possibility to automate a portion of the content creation process, moving towards data-driven, automated content creation.
No More Data Silos
With a headless CMS it’s easy to overcome the challenges of siloed content that is managed manually. The content team can make fast changes that are implemented across all channels, minimizing the impact of redesigns and product changes.
Time To Market
It is easy to observe that some of the benefits sprout from one another. In this case, the fact that you only need to edit and create content in a single place, and the fact that you can reuse modular content blocks, drastically reduces the time-to-market.
As a bonus, the creative team has more time to experiment and improve user journeys, since they now have the tools to test, target and optimize those experiences.
Depending on the size of a business and the volume of content it publishes, there are most likely a series of guidelines and quality control processes for publishing entries.
With a headless CMS, you can take a strategic approach to manage and publishing content. Features like custom workflows, versioning, custom user permissions and approval processes will help you plan, test, re-edit, schedule and publish content. There is room for mistakes and repairs before the content reaches the users.
Marketers are fully aware that at the heart of every digital experience is content. The way you, as an agency, help them approach content creation and delivery can be a game-changer and can dictate the future of their and your business. As such, we recommend becoming headless and start building projects with a future-proof CMS.
If you want to read more about the benefits of the headless CMS by project type, you can download our eBook here.