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Headless CMS

Power of Headless CMS and Why Your Business Needs it in 2023!

September 21, 2023
8 mins
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As a business leader, should you even care about headless CMS?

If you completely delegate technology choices to your IT team, you can forward this article and relax.

A headless CMS might be worth your attention if you are a marketing leader or product head interested in knowing the digital tools that accelerate your sales growth.

Continue reading to learn more about a headless CMS and why it may be  critical for your business growth in future.

What is a Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a decoupled content management system where the system's content management back-end and front-end are disconnected entities.

In a headless CMS, the content tool houses the content. The content can be displayed on the website, mobile apps, smart watches, third-party affiliate sites, or any channel or device you choose. The presentation is completely detached and controlled by front-end code residing inside the client application. For the presentation layer, you can use the modern tech stacks tuned to deliver blazing-fast web pages and mobile apps, for example, web pages created using headless CMS with React or Next.js.

Decoupling of the front-end leaves a headless CMS with an API and a back-end content managing technology. A headless CMS communicates with the view layer of the system through API calls for content delivery.

What are the downsides to a Traditional CMS, and how does a Headless CMS overcome them?

A traditional CMS is an entire web development environment with a connected front and back end, where a single application code base stores, manages and displays content. The content in a traditional CMS gets entered by editors, whereas the presentation is handled by developers using UI templates. WordPress is a famous example of a platform that uses a traditional CMS.

Traditional CMS are monolithic solutions; we know that. However, that's okay, given millions of websites are run on traditional CMS like WordPress and Drupal. A traditional CMS will handle the job if you have just one website to power. You only need to care for responsive UI templates, so it also looks good on the mobile browser.

On the other hand, the areas where monolithic CMS solutions begin to struggle are in the following contexts:

  • When customers interact with your application using more than one channel, including web, mobile web, mobile app, third-party white-label websites, and more
  • When the front end needs to load fast on mobile devices, you will require API-based CMS solutions to integrate with modern web frameworks like React, Next JS, or Flutter.
  • When you have multiple digital products that have shared corporate content
CMS Comparison

A simple example is publishing a privacy policy. If you need that on the website and mobile app, you must capture the content in one place and present it with a different UI in different channels. And say you have three divisions in the business. Each division will have its web portals, but the underlying corporate content, such as contractual terms, corporate culture, or recruitment policies, are identical.

In the traditional CMS platform, all this content is copied and pasted; when the next version arrives, you will need to update the content in all places. Missing these updates can negatively impact your business.

This is where a headless CMS emerges as a blessing. A headless system combats all these problems with its decoupled approach to managing and delivering your content. 

Marketers love headless CMS due to the tremendous presentation flexibility they get. From launching mobile pages to adopting internationalization and hosting a single website in multiple languages, a headless CMS is on its way to becoming the default choice. 

What Constitutes a Headless CMS?

The expression "headless" comes from removing the "head" or view layer of an application from its "body" or the content repository of the application. A headless CMS application consists of the following components:

  • Head: The head of a CMS is the user interface that displays the content of the websites. It is where content can be accessed, entered, or edited.
  • Content Management System: This is the back-end of a headless CMS application. It includes a content repository where all the website content is stored and managed and APIs to deliver the back-end content to multiple front-ends. 

A headless CMS is focused on content management and structured delivery. It does not care how and where you display your content. It has rich editors and a flexible data model to allow content with various structures. For example, a blog will need a title, meta description, category, headings, images, banners, videos, and outbound links. This structure is unique to blogs. Landing pages are a different beast loaded with fragmented content. They have panels; panels have headings and text, and images. On top of all this, they have a form, call to action, form submission success content, and error content.

The bottom line is that each business has unique content and being able to flexibly add and modify the data model is critical to digital agility.

Artitecture of CMS
Source - Infosys

How long does it take to launch websites using a headless approach?

A headless CMS's agile development approach allows you to use your time and resources to deliver websites quickly and efficiently. Separating content creation from website development enables developers and editors to work simultaneously. As a result, a decoupled headless solution streamlines and simplifies the content strategy for a quick website launch.

A business with a large editing team needs time to design and configure the workflows. It can take anywhere between 3 weeks to 3 months for such a business to launch its website using a headless CMS. 

A business with more than 20 templates to serve 1000s of pages typically takes 3 to 6 months to launch its website. The exact duration would be based on the size of the team deployed for the headless approach.

Under what circumstances is headless CMS not the best solution?

While it may be the best content management solution for some businesses, there are other options than a headless CMS. There can be many circumstances where a headless CMS might not be the best fit for your organization. Some of these scenarios include:

  • Constrained budget for new solutions: A headless CMS can be costly. Businesses with budget restrictions may not find it worth investing in a headless CMS. 
  • Limited technical resources for out-of-the-box headless solutions: Businesses that lack the technical support to deploy and operate a headless CMS may find out-of-the-box headless solutions to be a burden. 
  • When building simple websites requiring a single content stream: Businesses working with simple websites without robust content requirements do not need a headless approach to manage their content. They can easily manage their single content stream websites with traditional systems.
  • When your business doesn't care for highly SEO-optimized websites: A key feature of headless CMS tools is their ability to create SEO-optimized applications. Companies not competing for an SEO ranking do not need to invest in a headless system.

What are the top headless CMS tools, and how to choose the right one?

CodeWalnut regularly does periodic deep dives on the popular tools available out there. We've laid our hands on many of these, and currently, the following headless CMS tools are featured regularly in our priority list:

  • Contentful
  • StoryBlok 
  • Strapi

With so many headless CMS solutions, choosing the right tool for your business can be exhausting. Your business does not need the "best" platform; it requires the platform that serves the most relevant headless CMS use cases for your unique business needs. Once you have decided that the headless approach is right for your business, you can look for a suitable headless CMS for your organization.

Contact us for more information about evaluating and selecting the right headless CMS tool.

What is the typical tech stack for deploying a Headless CMS application?

Modern web development requirements demand a modern technology stack that caters to the specific needs of developers and end users. For headless CMS applications, the JAM Stack Architecture fulfills this modern stack requirement. 

JAM stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. The JAM Stack is a web development technology stack that provides a flexible development environment for your headless CMS applications. It empowers you to choose modern technologies that best fit your headless CMS applications to create a best-of-breed tech stack. The tools in a JAM stack architecture seamlessly integrate with one another and can quickly adapt to your changing business needs. JAM Stack lets you focus on enhancing your developer experience to build the best applications and websites. 

How does Headless CMS help improve key business metrics? 

Businesses are always looking for changes in their key business metrics and the different ways to improve them. A headless approach to content management can be a simple solution to improving your business metrics.

A headless CMS provides a flexible development environment that allows marketers to participate in decision-making and development. This approach enables your business to customize your content according to your customer's needs. 

Consider, for example, a headless CMS for eCommerce businesses looking to improve their conversion rates. A headless CMS enables them to provide quick and personalized customer experiences, resulting in higher customer conversion and retention rates. 

How does Headless CMS improve customer experience?

Customers today have specific content demands and want content delivery to their choice of channels. Businesses can achieve optimal customer experiences by offering customers a smooth journey across all their desired channels and touchpoints. With its exclusive focus on content management, a headless CMS allows you to create unique presentation layers tailored to your customer's particular needs and devices. 

A headless CMS empowers you to create omnichannel strategies so your business can provide seamless customer experiences as your customers require. Central content management and omnichannel content delivery are the driving forces that enable a headless CMS to deliver meaningful digital experiences.

Who in the organization cares about rolling out a headless CMS?

No matter the size of your business, the departments in your organization will always have different requirements from the business content. To understand this better, consider the following business professionals and see what their content goals are:

  • Marketing Leaders: What the marketer cares for are landing pages, blogs, the home page, SEO-optimized content, banners, videos, and promotional content. 
  • Product Leaders: What the product manager cares for is product and service information, policy documents, category content, product-specific content across all devices, and ease of maintenance and updates.
  • Technology Leaders: What the IT head cares for is scalability under peak load, page load time, ability to configure new admin users, security, and uptime.  

Headless CMS is a one-stop solution that solves each of these areas robustly. By bringing all the business leaders together in a collaborative development environment, a headless CMS ensures the development of quality applications. 

Five reasons why business leaders cannot ignore Headless CMS in 2023

Digital agility is underlined as the critical success factor to win customer loyalty in 2023. With their agile and flexible architecture, headless content management systems have significantly improved content creation and delivery for organizations today. 

More and more businesses are shifting to headless CMS for agile content management. Moreover, with the arrival of JAM Stack, companies are finding a headless CMS to be a snug fit for making scalable, high-performance websites. A recent study estimates the Global Headless CMS Software Market size to reach USD 1138.97 million by 2027, from USD 592.43 million in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 13.91%.

Following are the five key business benefits of a headless CMS that will make business leaders rethink their content management strategies in 2023:

  • Design Flexibility: A headless CMS allows you to experiment with front-end systems and flexibly design applications that reflect your true business values. As a result, your business can attract and retain more customers than ever. 
  • Business Efficiency: By reusing the same content across multiple channels, a headless CMS singlehandedly manages all the content in one place, enabling you to efficiently reach your business goals without requiring multiple systems.
  • Future-Proof Applications: A headless CMS not only improves your efficiency today but also prepares you to scale with your growing business requirements in the future.
  • Localization & Personalization: A headless CMS is excellent for businesses that wish to expand globally. Companies can reuse their content with personalized view layers and eliminate the need to create separate applications for every region. In this way, businesses can reach a bigger audience without having an excessive workload.
  • Organizational Data Security: The digitization of businesses has moved a large amount of critical business data online. To ensure the security of this data, a headless CMS separates the content from the view layer, making it difficult for hackers to reach your data. 

How can CodeWalnut help?

To prepare for future advancements and technological innovations, businesses need to leverage the power of headless systems so they can to keep up with their competitors.

CodeWalnut, has built a reusable and repartabel framework to implement headless CMS with mobile first experience in the shortest possible time. With many CMS headless implementations under its portfolio, a 10 point checklist will help you to eliminate the majority of the risks and challenges associated with such large and complex migrations. 

If you are deciding to go headless in 2023, CodeWalnut can be a trusted partner in your growth journey.

Talk to CodeWalnut experts to build high performing technology solutions & get 2x returns on your digital investments.


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