Headless CMS Deployment & Support by MIND

Operating across multiple channels, working with different teams, and the increasingly ever-connected, evolving Internet of Things (IoT) can present challenges for businesses online. In some cases, the unified architecture of a traditional content management system (CMS) cannot efficiently keep up with the solutions required to meet these challenges for new media management systems. In those situations, a headless CMS could be the right solution.

What is a Headless CMS?

In a traditional CMS, the backend (where content is created, managed, and stored) is typically connected to the frontend (where the content is displayed) in a unified architecture. The traditional CMS manages everything about the content of a website. Creating, reading, displaying, updating, and deleting are all managed within the traditional CMS and you are typically limited by your theme or template.

The headless content management system (headless CMS) decouples the backend and frontend. In a headless CMS, the content is stored separately from the frontend. Essentially, content is stored in a repository or database separate from the frontend and content is delivered to the appropriate digital channels via APIs. This separates your content from your tech stack.

This allows for the database to deliver content efficiently to multiple digital touchpoints across multiple channels including websites, apps, speakers, various screens, etc. In order to meet the definition of headless CMS, the platform must give developers the ability to customize APIs to work with any front-end tool to display the content delivered through them.

Why Consider a Headless CMS?

Provided it is the right solution for your business, a headless CMS approach can offer several benefits. Here are a few reasons to consider a headless CMS:

1. More Flexibility

A headless CMS can provide the ease of use that is attractive in a traditional CMS while also providing more flexibility through the modern API-based architecture. Because a headless CMS separates the backend and frontend, it can integrate with any front-end tool provided there is an API. And, you can still customize the front-end displays to meet your needs without affecting the separate database on the backend.

2. Multichannel Efficiency

Instead of the content and the display of content being limited by a website template or theme, you can deliver content via API to a customized frontend whether that is a website, an app, a different type of screen or device, and more. This also opens up options for increased efficiency and flexibility for seamless personalization, localization, and more of content.

With this type of separation between your tech stack and your content, you can deliver better-structured content across multiple channels and devices to create complex digital experiences and meet the needs of your customers across various channels.

3. Easier Content Management

When the backend and frontend are tightly connected into a single interface and all content is also stored and managed there, things can get difficult when you need to make changes. Small updates to content in a traditional CMS are easy provided the edits fall within the parameters of the current theme. If they don’t, you need developers.

A headless CMS unifies content into a single content hub. Although you need developers for changes in a headless CMS, you don’t have to worry about backend changes needing to corroborate or wait on frontend changes to accommodate what you need.

Provided the APIs are in place, you can update content directly on the backend and deliver it when, where, and how you need it faster and easier without affecting the frontend experience. Essentially, you can create once and publish everywhere (COPE principle) or update once and disseminate those changes wherever that content is located.

4. Faster Website Experiences

With a traditional CMS where the backend and frontend are coupled, managing a ton of content can slow down your website experiences. Because all of it is stored and managed in the same place, there are often limits on the speed improvements you can make.

Although you can improve page speed in a traditional CMS when you have a lot of content, there is often a trade-off where it may be slower on the backend for administration to ensure it loads quickly on the frontend for website users. With a headless CMS, the decoupling of the backend and frontend means you can offer faster website experiences on both ends even with large amounts of content.

Does a Headless CMS Make Sense For Me?

At this point, a headless CMS doesn’t make sense for every business. The right choice for your business will depend on several factors, including type of business, budget, development resources, deployment cases, ongoing needs, etc. Because content management with a headless CMS is a separate backend with a custom frontend that delivers data via an API, developers are required for builds, deployment, and support.

With a headless CMS, content management does not occur within a traditional “theme” that is accessed and managed via a user-friendly administrative interface, like a traditional WordPress website, so most plugins become irrelevant and do not work. Headless WordPress, as a decoupled CMS option, is available, but you won’t be able to add flexibility or function with plugins in a headless CMS; customizations and changes you want to make will need to be done by a developer who knows what they are doing.

For a business that does not have dedicated development resources and is looking for a basic website with user-friendly management and only basic maintenance here and there, a traditional CMS often meets their needs. Within that, there are still differences between a template website vs a custom website to consider, but a headless CMS may not make sense in those cases.

Currently, headless CMS tends to be a better fit for larger enterprises with multiple teams and multichannel needs for complex digital experiences. Typically, large, high-traffic websites with large content repositories that need to be managed can be a good fit for headless CMS or decoupled CMS provided they have the dedicated web development resources available or the budget to obtain them to deploy and support it.

When evaluating headless CMS vs traditional CMS, the best fit for your business is truly a case-by-case basis depending on your business, long-term goals, needs, and budget. If you’re thinking about a new website or wondering if a decoupled CMS or headless CMS is what you need, contact us. Whether a custom design in WordPress or another CMS, a decoupled CMS, or a headless CMS approach, we can help you determine the options that best fit your goals.

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