What is Headless CMS and why it is becoming so popular?

Oct 26th, 2022 | Faizan Thange

Traditional CMS’s became prominent when digital presence meant having a website only. Now with digitalization and its off-spring IoT, the definition of digital presence has immensely changed.

Companies now compete tooth and nail with each other to garner customers’ interest globally through multiple digital channels. From having a website to a mobile app, wearable devices, and much more, the need for pushing quality and relevant content on these has become a pivotal part of a business growth journey.

Therefore, headless CMSs have gained popularity to address the need for multi-channel delivery. This article will simplify what is Headless CMS and point out more reasons that justify its growing popularity.

What is Headless CMS?

Headless CMS is a content management tool that deals with the back-end elements only. It means the tool is geared to manage, store and track all kinds of content that a company pushes online – text, pictures, videos, and everything in between.

It is different from traditional CMS platforms which try to do everything, for example, Squarespace which has a monolithic architecture. In a monolithic platform, the back-end and front-end elements are tightly coupled together as a single system. Headless CMS is also not equivalent to decoupled CMS like WordPress which has a customizable back-end and a default content publishing front-end.

The headless CMS is all about the content and not about how it would look on different platforms. A Headless CMS exposes all its content via Open APIs letting the consuming applications define how the end customer experience is rendered using the content thus reducing the overhead for authoring teams. The separation of concerns increases flexibility for the UX, Development, and content teams thus improving the overall marketing operations workflows.

Once the content is ready and approved, the user can publish the content which makes it accessible via API for rendering. In other words, APIs serve as the semantic bridge between the headless CMS and the delivery platform like a website, or mobile application.

Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS

Benefits of Headless CMS

Since a headless CMS has minimal impact on the front-end elements, it offers a myriad of benefits for enterprises choosing this option as follows:

  • The same content can be consumed by different consuming end points, which enables multi-channel delivery and greater flexibility in terms of technologies and integrations.
  • Developers get the freedom to choose technology for the FrontEnd – this reduces the time to build applications and gets the content live on different platforms while potentially realizing cost savings by leveraging existing resources, skill sets, and tools.
  • Headless CMS supports structured content really well, making it easy for developers and editors to consume, manage and organize content.
  • The headless architecture enables the reusability of content and eliminates redundant processes like manual copy and paste.
  • Content editors get quick and easy access to all content in a single platform. This fast tracks the editing and publishing process.

What are the top Headless CMS platforms?

The headless CMS platform market was projected worth USD 475.4million in 2021 with a CAGR growth rate of 22.15% in the forecast period of 2022 to 2030. Some of the prominent players in this industry are listed below:

  • Contentstack
    • Crafted for enterprises
    • Fast content delivery with API-driven architecture
    • Allows seamless image management, preview, and team workflow.
  • Contentful
    • Supports Agile workflow
    • Perfect for businesses looking for a digital omnichannel presence
    • Offers stateless API with compact JSON gives users programmatic control over the content
  • Strapi
    • Open-source headless CMS
    • Offers Code editor to make changes to customizable API
    • Supports SQLite, MongoDB, MySQL, Postgres
  • Netlify
    • Offers git-based workflows
    • Build plugins allow automation of build tasks with just a click
    • Utilizes full-stack JAMstack for good performance

Why is Headless CMS becoming so popular?

Traditional CMS are inconvenient for developers

The monolithic architecture of the traditional CMS is such that content is tightly coupled with the presentation code. Often the presentation templating and technology is limited to what’s offered by the monolithic platform for e.g. .NET or Java or PHP. This means reduce flexibility and reuse for developers across different channels and, applications.

This makes the traditional CMS inconvenient for developers, especially when they are working towards creating an omnichannel presence.

Rich Web Experience

Headless CMS offers the flexibility and freedom to choose front-end technology. The developers can therefore choose the one which is the most suitable, and deliver an amazing product on time within the stipulated budget.

The editors can work independently on creating value-packed content, while the developers can choose the best framework for front-end needs. Result? A feature-laden website that provides a seamless user experience in its true sense.

Future proof omnichannel experience

Companies today need content on more digital channels than one – websites, apps, wearables, and IoT. Headless CMS provides a decoupled content repository that makes it easy for developers to develop and upgrade software and editors to create relevant content.

Therefore, investing in a headless CMS means future-proofing the company’s omnichannel experience.

Flexible upgrades

The Headless CMS makes the upgrades a lot smoother with backward compatible APIs.

Why do you need a Headless CMS?

Traditional CMS might be rigid for a project and, put a lot of constraints on the developers and content editors. You must consider moving to headless CMS if you want to:

  • Scale quickly

The independence from FrontEnd and its relation with API makes headless CMS a powerful tool to scale your digital presence from one platform to many.

  • Create personalized digital experiences

Headless CMS focuses on creating engaging and personalized digital experiences through customized content for each user.

  • Streamline business processes

Headless CMS works on an Agile developer mindset that promotes creating new ideas that open growth opportunities for your business.

  • Get a future-proof Technology stack

Headless CMS is equivalent to a technology stack that makes you ready to meet all your digital demands in the future.

The desire for personalized content experiences that are tailored to the consumer and the channel is increasing. The only way to keep up is to seek digital transformation and innovations that will revolutionize the entire organization..

If you need assistance switching to headless or if you have any additional questions about what is Headless CMS, get in contact with our experts.