Is a Headless CMS the Right Choice for My Business?
If you consider the front end of a website as the ‘head’ and the back end as the ‘body,’ the term ‘Headless CMS’ might make more sense.
The body, or the backend, is where you create all the content within your CMS, and the frontend developers take this content through APIs and display it depending on which frontend (head) tech best suits their requirements.
How does a headless CMS help your website?
Well, marketers and backend users can continue creating the content with one comprehensive CMS platform, and the frontend developers can showcase, build and present this content to meet the end-users or company’s needs. Thus, one point of content creation can help display the information across different channels, like websites, apps, smart TVs, etc., in the best way possible.
Why did the need for headless CMS arise?
With the rise in the need to create an omnichannel experience for audiences, Headless CMS makes it easier to tap into different channels with a single content repository. This also allows us to reuse content, modify it and make it easily available to everyone.
Why isn’t everyone using a Headless CMS?
Unlike a traditional CMS platform, a Headless CMS is not for everyone! It requires advanced technical skills, creates a disconnect between the marketers creating content in the backend and the developers displaying it at the front, and it may not be affordable for you (yet!).
How exactly is a traditional CMS different?
A traditional CMS, like WordPress, stores, and displays all the content elements by organizing them in a webpage-oriented framework. This set framework puts all the different elements like images, videos, text, and code under one umbrella – the webpage.
While this works perfectly for a website page, it may become challenging for other channels and platforms to display this content as intended. So, whenever you want to use a new platform, for example, an app, you need to re-create a framework with the existing content to allow the app to display it. On the other hand, with a Headless CMS, you build a content repository in the backend that is accessible via APIs to display on different channels. There’s no set framework specifically built for any channel.
WordPress is still an option, even if you’re switching to a headless CMS. Reach out to the 3 Media Web team to learn more today.
How do I know if a Headless CMS is right for my business?
Let’s not run headless! If you’re confused about whether or not a Headless CMS is a right option for you, let’s break this up and look at the good and the not-so-good that comes with a Headless CMS. This way, you can find out if you’re ready to go headless or if you’d rather stick to a traditional CMS.
Pros of using a Headless CMS
First up, the pros of a Headless CMS:
Suppose a traditional CMS framework is limiting you and your business needs. In that case, a headless CMS may be the flexibility you need to create a frontend framework designed to meet the needs of the channel/medium you need.
If your developers struggle to create stronger content because they are busy managing how it appears on the front end, a headless CMS allows you to divide these two. Developers can solely focus on developing the right content.
If you’re struggling to keep up with different content touchpoints for your end-users, a headless CMS will make it easier to deliver the right content across varying touchpoints.
Cons of using a Headless CMS
The pros may look good, but weighing the cons of using a Headless CMS to make an informed decision is important. Here we go:
Creating Complex Templates
One of the things users love about traditional CMSs, like WordPress, is the availability of thousands of free and premium pre-designed templates. Templates make creating and displaying content easier, faster, and simpler. With a Headless CMS, you must build and create your templates from scratch.
Advanced Skills and Knowledge
With a Headless CMS, the front end is rendered and displayed by a different software which means that developers must know different code bases and have the required skill set and knowledge to handle this.
Additional Formatting Requirements
If you’ve used WordPress or any other traditional CMS, you already know how useful and important that ‘Preview’ button is. It allows you to correct formatting and make all the necessary changes before your content goes live. However, with a Headless CMS, you don’t always have that ‘Preview’ option, which could lead to formatting challenges in the front end or may require additional efforts to predict and modify content to overcome formatting issues.
With a traditional CMS, you have one platform that comprehensively builds, creates, manages, and displays your content. On the other hand, with a Headless CMS, you will need to set up infrastructure to manage all the different components of your content presentation across different channels.
Lack of Personalization
In a world where consumers are expecting more and more personalization, a Headless CMS can greatly hamper that need. Because your content and delivery are not fully integrated, you might not get all the data you need to understand consumer behavior and improve your content accordingly. This thus takes away the opportunity to create stronger, personalized content. Using business intelligence tools is the only way to gather this critical data with a Headless CMS.
With a Headless CMS, you will have added costs. You will pay not only for the CMS but also for your front end developer and the individual infrastructure setups for each of the channels/mediums you want to use.
Switch to a Headless CMS Using the WordPress Platform
If you are a developer who has to develop and deploy content for different channels and mediums, go for it. You have the skills and understanding of the different code bases and needs for developing an independent framework and infrastructure for each channel. However, a traditional CMS is enough and great for you if you are a blogger, a small business, or an e-commerce website needing simpler yet effective management. You can create more cohesive and personalized content that works well for you and allows you to ‘Preview’ to ensure it looks just like you want it to.
WordPress, like most traditional CMSs, continues to be the preferred option for most brands and individuals for its simplicity in execution and implementation. It can help you switch to a headless CMS and keep your familiar WordPress CMS tool. There will be headless CMS options from WP Engine and a decoupled CMS option from Pantheon; if you still want to build your website on WordPress, enjoy the benefits of a headless CMS.
If you want to explore your options on the WordPress platform further or need help switching to headless using WordPress, 3 Media Web is here to help!