Why headless CMS?
When it’s time to replatform and implement a modern and flexible content management system (CMS), you’ll be hearing a great deal about “headless” CMS architecture. No longer simply a trend, a headless CMS is a strategic choice for your company’s content, one that affords your content creators and developers greater power, freedom and agility. When determining if a headless CMS makes the most sense for your business, you should first understand its advantages and its challenges, and also consider the other CMS options that are available.
Understanding headless CMS
The role of a CMS is to create and publish content—along with house design assets (including visual layout and code). Using a traditional CMS means your content is confined to the location locked in to its coding (e.g., WordPress for a blog, or Drupal for a corporate website). You may have a great site, but you lack the ability to share its content in the display you want when a potential customer checks her smartphone or accesses a page on a tablet.
To solve this problem, many organizations are turning to headless CMS platforms. A headless CMS provides only the back end, where content is created and stored. For the front end, your business can use any design that best fits your requirements, and your content shows up accurately across multiple channels—whether it’s OTT, mobile apps, wearables or even voice.
What are the benefits of a headless CMS?
A headless CMS offers a host of important benefits, including incredible speed, flexibility and much more control over content delivery to each channel/device.
With a headless CMS, the CMS is responsible for back-end functions only, while front-end presentation of that data is the responsibility of your development teams. With a headless CMS, the content published is made available to any application via API data services. This is commonly known as Content as a Service (CaaS).
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How headless CMS puts your content front and center
Above everything else, it’s content that motivates initial site visits, downloads, signups and further conversions. Today’s users expect to be able to access content immediately, on any device, in their preferred format.
With a headless CMS, content delivery is paramount. Content and copy composition may be done in parallel with layout and design, or sequentially.
As the number of channels and devices continues to grow, it’s even more important to create content that can easily be personalized, delivered and reused.
What does headless CMS mean for your business?
What does this shift mean for you? It requires you and your front-end team to think about how to deliver great content in a “post-browser world.” A headless CMS can help maintain, grow and engage audiences in real time as those audience members consume and share content in different ways and on different devices.
Why headless CMS is in demand
With a legacy CMS, your content is tied to your design, and that means the latest devices are often unable to read your data. Headless is in demand because, with your content. separated from your design, you can quickly and seamlessly deliver content anywhere, in any way it’s required.
The move toward digital microservices may have begun with the Unix philosophy, but it’s a trend that has only progressed in agility and increased in popularity since then. The natural divide of content and technology responsibilities in a headless CMS lets the microservices shine, while allowing developers to use the latest and greatest tools and techniques available (which include serverless technologies, such as AWS Lambda).
Omnichannel delivery drives today’s consumer experience, and it’s a nonlinear journey. A customer might switch from one device to another, then backtrack or even open two of the same applications at once. Not only does a headless CMS make this kind of journey faster and easier, but it also allows you to capture that experience from end-to-end and find new ways to support it.
Having the ability to push content across platforms has never been more important. It has also never been easier, thanks to the headless concept of unhooking content from design—a true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. With Brightspot, for example, we’ll take care of the CMS while you focus on how your content is displayed.
By serving up content suited for specific experiences, a headless CMS also allows you to provide a collective content experience, also known as a “content mesh.” In this scenario, each platform’s strengths can be harnessed, while maintaining a cross-referenced consumer experience. With a traditional CMS, this can be challenging, since there may be several different types of content management at play, each separate from the others. Your developers may become frustrated by the amount of duplicate work they have to perform in order to get the same or similar content flowing to different channels (e.g., a tablet and a smartphone, or a laptop and a smartwatch).
Because headless is designed as content-first and front-end agnostic from the start, it avoids channel-specific concepts like “pages” and tools that work for those (e.g., drag-and-drop functionality). Thinking of content independently of presentation allows you to focus on what you want to say before thinking of how you want to say it.
Headless CMS in action: Televisa
Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, decided it was time to replatform at the end of 2017. They sought a new CMS to streamline all back-end functions, enabling them to focus on front-end design. They wanted a solution that would give the company complete control over the look and feel of all of its sites.
Over the course of five months, Televisa’s front-end developers and editorial teams worked side-by-side with the Perfect Sense team to learn Brightspot. After migrating all of Televisa’s content and creating a headless model site launch (Las Estellas), a total of nine sites were replatformed to Brightspot in just five months. A custom-built tool called Style Selector now gives Televisa the ability to preview and control every output of Brightspot code. Today, Televisa manages nine sites—eight of which are headless—from one powerful, multi-site CMS, which saves the organization both time and money.
Headless CMS articles
Headless CMS FAQ
What is headless CMS?
What does headless CMS mean?
How does a headless CMS work?
An important part of understanding how headless CMS integrations work to provide ultimate flexibility for businesses is GraphQL. Known as the querying language that enables flexible connection with APIs to support headless CMS integrations, GraphQL enables content management and delivery to external systems, including third-party syndication.
When should I use a headless CMS?
- A database where content and digital assets are stored (back end);
- A content management back end where content is created (back end);
- An API that connects the content management back end to any device or channel;
- The ability to connect to any publishing front end, allowing organizations to have the front-end technology of their choosing.
If headless CMS architecture is a fit, it needs to be implemented correctly (of course) to bring to life its intended benefits. This requires an experienced team to ensure the back end and front end are well planned from the beginning, so they can sync up seamlessly later. Keep in mind, the freedom that teams enjoy when using these systems means that they are responsible for writing, debugging and maintaining everything that their rendering systems require.
Is a headless CMS faster than other CMS options?
Your content teams can work faster, freed from time spent formatting content for different platforms and devices. Your developers can make rapid enhancements and updates, improving productivity and allowing for more effective use of stored data without risk of instability or performance issues. Your users will have a smoother and more interactive experience due to boosted load speeds and streamlined connectivity.
What are the benefits of headless CMS for technical teams?
Is Brightspot a headless CMS platform?
Meaning? Brightspot CMS is naturally headless, but users determine how they want to use the platform to create digital content experiences. Brightspot provides the only evolved CMS platform that is front-end agnostic with an extensible architecture that is API-first so that users can publish how they want—headless or decoupled—all within the same environment.
Are other headless providers an API-first CMS platform?
In today’s digital economy, Brightspot recognizes that all businesses are content businesses—all organizations must communicate and reach audiences by creating and publishing unique content. In that sense, while not all businesses may see themselves yet as a content business, all businesses leverage content as a vehicle for communicating and engaging with their stakeholders—customers, partners, employees, and shareholders.
What is GraphQL? And why does it matter for headless CMS?
Is a headless CMS more secure than other CMS options?
Consider this example: A popular method of hacking a website is through SQL injections—but headless CMS systems combat that by running on a server without SQL or even without being connected to SQL. When a developer creates a unique CMS from scratch, nothing about that CMS is a known entity.