In the last couple of years, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and software development landscapes have gained quite a traction, leading to the creation and provision of new advanced technologies in conjunction with improving existing models as well. Headless Content Management System (CMS) is one such progressed tool that now comes with enhanced capabilities and is becoming so popular among developers and companies these days.
Well, a CMS needs no introduction. From software engineers and product managers to digital marketing specialists and SEO experts, everyone is aware of the fact that a CMS is the underlying foundation and framework of your digital and content marketing campaigns. The emergence of the headless CMS has created a new excitement around the traditional content management model. The headless CMS is allowing brands to organize, syndicate, and manage the content directly to an abundant of devices, channels, or apps via API data services.
Traditional CMS vs. Decoupled CMS vs. Headless CMS
Traditional Content Management System
Also called coupled CMS, it is an inseparable combination of the backend and frontend. By using a traditional CMS like WordPress or Joomla, you can craft, edit, and save your content, along with all the visual and digital assets, to the backend database. The CMS then presents the content and design to users through the front-end delivery layer, which already is integrated into the system. A traditional system typically contains a database to store the content, a backend to create and enter the data, an application where design schemas are created and applied, and a front-end to show published information. One main drawback of such CMSs is that they are inflexible and rely on server-side rendering.
Decoupled Content Management System
In a decoupled CMS, also known as a hybrid headless CMS, the backend and the frontend of your website or blog are separated systems and no longer a single unit. The targeted delivery management layer, i.e., front-end is connected to the database of your website through an API. So when you create or edit the content, including text, documents, multimedia, or structured data, you need to make the call through an API to push the data to a designated delivery layer, or frontend. And once you make the call, the content would be published and displayed on all the devices and apps. An administrative interface includes applications to create and manage content and a pre-determined content-publishing frontend which is connected to the backend through an API.
Many experts claim that a headless CMS is the subset of the decoupled CMS model as it decouples the front-end from the backend, but doesn’t exclude the layer at all. It also allows users to employ various built-in frontend delivery tools and functionalities at their disposal.
Headless Content Management System
Unlike both a traditional and decoupled CMS, a headless CMS revolves around the IoT technology and is considered a subset of a decoupled architecture, as said above. The headless CMS model doesn’t include any default presentation environment or frontend system whatsoever. Instead, it focuses on passing requests between the application and presentation layer to access, store, and deliver structured content through a secure and flexible API. After broadcasting the content to an API, it pushes and displays the data straight on any app or smart device connected to the IoT. In a nutshell, it is a cloud-hosted content-only data platform that is less cluttered and allows you to manage the content across all the channels. A headless content system consists of only two elements: “A content-based interface to manage the data and a simple API.”
The Benefits of Headless CMS Architecture
There’s no denying that a headless content system has an array of constructive advantages it provides for developers, users, and companies. Without having to worry about templates, presentations, plugins, and front-end technologies, the user, even the non-tech savvy consumer can implement multi-brand and multichannel apps and publish content and media easily. Below explained are some of the key benefits to the headless CMS model:
Clean and Flexible:
Working with a traditional CMS can be a bit frustrating as the backend and infrastructure are tightly coupled with the front-end of the application, especially for those who don’t have any prior experience with the CMS or backend. The removal of a predefined frontend environment creates room for flexibility to make any desired customizations as required. The headless CMS is all about content and isn’t cluttered with complicated technical stuff, enabling the course of making changes as well as the implementation of new features very straightforward and cleaner. Since every headless system makes content accessible via a well-defined RESTful API, you can focus mainly on creating and managing content through an intuitive UI rather than dealing with backend challenges and content management.
Better Personalization and User Experience:
In a traditional CMS platform, users are typically constrained by its monolithic nature and with limited experience as well as tools. The headless CMS, however, allows developers and users to design and test their own user experience from scratch as there’s no front-end framework involved. That means you can push and syndicate your content out to more channels and devices, irrespective of the variability in devices and technologies used.
More and more internet users nowadays are interacting with visual content, multimedia, and live streaming events on their smart devices and phones. A traditional system such as WordPress is not capable of driving a mobile app or live streaming itself. In fact, publishing content using an API to third-party channels in WordPress and decoupled systems is quite challenging. And that’s where a headless CMS with powerful APIs and content management capabilities comes into the picture. With a little configuration and customization, you can set up your CMS to propel the data (already existing as well as new) anywhere and everywhere.
Another significant benefit of this digital marketing and content management tool is that it ensures that your latest content reaches your consumers quickly. In order to speed up the production and sales pipeline, the time to market is essential. The capability of syndicating all updates and content across various digital outlets via API calls allows you to not only streamline your content pipeline and spend more time on marketing but also reuse individual content components as well as combine them effectively. Additionally, a headless CMS is an ideal approach to agile marketing as it also supports consistently arising new technologies and services.
Effective Communication with APIs:
The entire concept of a headless CMS is exclusively driven by APIs and IoT functionalities. Traditionally, platforms like WordPress and Drupal depend on server-side rendering and prescribe a specific workflow and predefined sets of rules. Making any changes, even a small one, would require you to edit the code, database, template, and the front-end elements as well. From future-proofing your digital builds to adding new features or products, a headless CMS enables users to perform numerous tasks without re-implementing the whole CMS or without needing to create CMS-based templates. The CMS comes with powerful built-in APIs which establish a connection between two technologies, enabling them to make calls and interact with each other. Both the decoupled and headless systems bank on API services for secure, fast content delivery to the different software and channels. The same APIs also play a considerable role in data analytics by collecting, processing, analyzing, and re-distributing the user data, such as purchase behavior, activity, and preferences.
The evaluated information helps you not just create and deliver personalized content to customers at every stage during their journey but drive potential users through sales funnels also, facilitating and increasing your conversion rates dramatically.
As far as a CMS is concerned, security is one of the prime engineering challenges for businesses of all sizes in today’s IoT age and hour. Since the targeted publishing environment is an entirely separate system and not linked with the headless CMS database, it lowers the risks of DDoS attacks while speeding up productivity and efficiency. The modern headless systems allow you to set up user credentials and content consumption permissions for protecting sensitive information from non-authorized users.