We are in the era of rapidly changing consumer habits, trends and it makes sense to keep things flexible when it comes to content publishing capabilities. De-coupling content from design and seamlessly publishing across any channel or device is the future.
Headless CMS systems allow you to manage content as simply as a traditional CMS, but unlike traditional CMS solutions, the headless CMS application in the backend displays information only - without the presentation layer or “the head”. In this article we break down what a headless CMS means, and how you can benefit from using the headless approach.
Cloud-first headless CMS in a nutshell.
Headless CMS is a content management system that allows you to manage content in one place and access it for multiple applications using an API. Think of it like this, a CMS is old technology, used for a single website to display content on a computer. Headless CMS applications are new technology, used for displaying dynamic content across multiple websites, apps and digital screens. Your content is not created and locked based on your website. Equally, you aren’t editing content to fit for a specific website design.
What is headless CMS?
A headless CMS system allows you to manage content as simply as a traditional CMS, but unlike traditional CMS solutions, the headless CMS application displays information only - without the presentation layer (the “head”) that would typically control how content should display on a website – this means you are focussing on the content, and not on how it will look, that part is automated.
We have come a long way since Y2K.
Traditionally building a website was as straight forward as picking a content management system (CMS) using platforms such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace (small business and sole trader websites) or Drupal, SiteCore, Magento and GovCMS (enterprise or government websites). The reason these tools are typical ‘go to’ was they have been around for a long time. The benefit is most people are familiar with them, but these have been around for many years and that is the biggest issue.
They were made for traditional websites that people accessed using a traditional desktop computer. As a modern-day consumer, think about how you access and communicate with your favourite brands and companies. Now think about the various devices you use to access them.
It has changed a lot. Habits, technology and devices used, all changed (and still is changing).
The way a website is used has been forced to evolve.
Content is centralised and hosted on a website, based on a desktop computer screen, and then re-styled to work for other screens and devices. But which device do your users use most? Or how many devices does a user typically use in a day? It makes sense to build your digital presence independent of a device and in a way that is agnostic to how it will be displayed.
Headless CMS means focussing on your content without needing to worry about styling.
Today marketeers are needing to have the ability to quickly manage content in central place that is separate to how it will be styled. This means that they can focus on activating and implementing their content strategy, and less time making sure the content is styled correctly when uploading it. That is where a headless CMS approach comes in. This diagram from Kentico Kontent sums it up pretty well.
How does headless CMS work?
To have your centralised content displayed across many types of digital mediums, the style/design output (on let’s say your website) is detached. The head of the CMS is taken away and API’s are used to connect your content to the website or applications. This unlocks what you can do, and technically speaking takes things to a whole new level for creating powerful digital experiences.
Why use a headless CMS:
- You can connect your central content to an unlimited number of frontends / applications / websites.
- You can consume and combine multiple programming languages instead of rebuilding them to make your systems talk together.
- Modular content ensures your message looks great on any device and can be easily reused across websites, campaigns, and any digital display.
- Dynamic user experiences, as the same messaging is correctly presented across platforms and devices.
- The flexible content and taxonomy model means you cater the experience to where each of your customers are in their journey. Test messaging for different segments. choose contextually relevant CTAs, or display different page elements to offer the most engaging experience every time.
- Your content creators can input new media without being slowed by fiddling with styling, templates, plugins and databases.
Your traditional CMS is becoming slightly outdated for today’s modern world.
Traditional web-oriented CMS systems have been used for years, now cutting-edge marketeers and large organisations are seriously noticing the limitations when you have grown past your website simply being a digital flyer that looks pretty. For those who are using a website to do more, it makes sense that this new multichannel era requires a different approach to managing content.
Let’s talk headless CMS.
Not sure what to choose, here is a quick checklist for you to consider if headless or traditional CMS is right for you. Choose a headless CMS if:
- You want to create content for multiple digital screens, not just a website.
- You want to leverage all benefits of a true SaaS solution provided as a cloud service.
- You want to build your applications using a microservices architecture.
- Your marketers are looking to implement an omnichannel content strategy.
- You want to stand out in a hypercompetitive industry and your users typically use more than one digital device.
Managing content with ease is becoming more complex, sole trader and enterprises alike are trying to understand the right choice for now – and in the future. Your team of strategists, administrators and marketers need a robust approach that improves the coordination of content across your entire organisation’s digital ecosystem. It is essential to now be able to implement your valuable content strategies across a range channels — avoiding content silos, or worse, manual duplication. We’ve delivered content as a Service (CaaS) for many clients, integrating the way in which they can manage content operations within their teams or across business units. Talk to our team to find out more.