Headless CMS. Ready for the future.

But what are the benefits of headless CMS actually? And when does the model really help companies? In this article, Kraftvaerk gives you the answers. Maybe headless CMS is what will make your company faster, more unified and more prepared for the future.

Consumers’ buying behaviour is changing. They spend more and more time online and many use online platforms when shopping. At the same time, the amount of touchpoints where consumers and brands interact is increasing. This requires brands to make the customer journey unified across all platforms. That is why the concept of headless CMS has been trending for some time now.

Benefits of headless CMS in short

#1 With headless CMS, content can be pushed through all possible channels, making the customer experience better and more unified among all touchpoints.

#2 A headless CMS system makes it possible to make fast and rapid changes. Because changes can be made on the front-end without disturbing the back-end and vice versa. 

#3 Headless CMS is a way of future-proofing your solution. The system’s flexibility makes it possible to adopt new technologies, new strategies, etc. when they occur in the market.

Separate the head (front-end) from the body (back-end)

And then, let’s look at how headless CMS architecture differs from traditional CMS architecture. Headless CMS decouples your front-end from your back-end, whereas traditional CMS ties the two together. In that way a more traditional CMS system combines the content and the presentation, while a headless CMS system separates the content and the presentation. Simply put, with headless CMS you separate the head (front-end) from the body (back-end). That allows the head to focus on workflow facilitation and collaborative aspects of CMS, without being concerned about the site structure, design and page templates.

Content without design can be used on any device

From a content perspective there are multiple benefits of headless CMS. One of them is that content without design can be used on any device. Here IoT and Smart Watches would be the easiest concepts to grasp. Because it would be impossible to keep up with all possible device sizes, methods of design, available colours, etc.

A system with the possibility of scaling

For a CMS system to be considered headless, it needs to be built from an integrations first perspective. Many of the CMS systems that are called headless are actually full-blown CMS systems that simply have APIs built into the system at a later stage, to gain certain headless capabilities. The rise of cloud systems brings a new twist to this as well. If you need a system with the possibility of scaling, you will need a microservices approach, because this allows you to scale one specific service, without duplicating an entire CMS system.

Two models. Numerous possibilities

Typical CMS architecture. In this model the front-end and back-end are connected. That means that the editors need to be concerned about the view, and it gives them more control over how the content is shown.

Headless CMS architecture. In a headless model the front-end and back-end are decoupled. On the one hand, that means you lose control of the view. On the other hand, you gain more ways of showing the content. This allows editors to focus on what the content actually is, more than on how the content is shown.

When to consider a headless approach?

  1. Cross-platform support & strategy
  2. Freedom on view side technology choices
  3. Easier to allow multiple vendors to create views

The decision to implement a headless CMS system or not depends on which platforms your company is using and the number of vendors they have doing the work. If you want to start, or continue, pushing content on multiple platforms and leverage multiple vendors on these platforms, headless CMS is something to consider. On the other hand, if you only use your content on your website, and only have a single vendor, there is no obvious reason to be pushing CMS.

When choosing a headless CMS system, it is important that it is well-structured. When the content can so easily be fetched from the API, it needs to be very well organised. You need to make sure that all content is classified correctly, you need to plan your taxonomy, and you need to make sure that the CMS system pushes the editors to keep this up to date. 

What if you only want some of the headless features?

It is possible to incorporate some of the features from a headless CMS system without having a fully headless system. These features can be built into a CMS system, exposing selected data to be delivered forward in a headless manner. Typical data to be pushed out this way is product information and news. These are more often already structured in a manner that will fit the headless approach.

Sources:

Todaysecommerce - How Headless Commerce is Becoming the Future of Retail, August 29, 2019

Bloomreach - Headless CMS vs Decoupled CMS: What Is The Difference?

Pupuweb - State of Headless CMS Market in 2019, April 1, 2019

Contentstack - The State of the CMS Industry, October 2, 2019

hbr.org - A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works, January 3, 2017

Coredna - Headless CMS vs Decoupled CMS, December 15, 2019