What is a Headless CMS?
Branded the new industry standard, a headless CMS gives content editors the ability to take back control and manage their website’s better while providing developers with a flexible way to work. To understand a headless CMS, you need to consider a traditional CMS architecture. Many vendors originally chose to pack their CMS with ‘out-of-the-box’ features meaning that most traditional CMS solutions can now do so much more than content management.
But this isn't necessarily a thing as they tend to be able to do lots of things but not very well. Using a traditional solution, you have to build the site within the CMS and are heavily constrained by the CMS itself, making replatforming or moving agencies difficult.
In a headless CMS, the content repository – also known as the ‘body’ – is decoupled from the front-end user interface – also known as the ‘head’. The body is where your content is stored, and the head is where your content is displayed.
How is Headless different from a Traditional CMS?
Unlike a traditional CMS, a Headless CMS see the head and body of your site loosely coupled. Your content is provided as data over an API rather than coupled to a particular output such as a web page. This means your body can now have as many ‘heads’ as required, which means your CMS can be used for any channel, whether that be a website, mobile app or campaign microsite.
Even better, each head can be built by a different provider without the need for a CMS expert solution. It also enables you to redesign your site from scratch if required without having to rebuild the CMS too.
What are the benefits of a Headless CMS?
Encourages cross-team collaboration
Using a traditional CMS, content editors usually have to wait until the end of the development phase to begin populating the site. However, by having the front-end and the CMS separate, it means that marketing teams can work in parallel to developers allowing for a collaborative process. Content editors can write, upload and edit content directly into the CMS as soon as the content model is defined, potentially before the design phase has even begun.
Faster editing and deployment
A content-first approach is known for its positive effect on your entire project timeline, allowing you to launch your website faster. While this approach can and, where possible, should be used for any CMS solution, headless in particular favours this approach. The simplicity of headless CMS’s user interface also makes it quicker for content editors and developers to carry out work with no barriers.
While some traditional CMS’s such as Umbraco or Kentico Xperience isn’t limited by rigid page templates, many are. Using a headless CMS, content editors can build new pages or add to existing pages easily using individual components. With greater flexibility to the layout and content used, editor frustrations are reduced and there’s less dependence on developer support.
Whether you have one or multiple channels, the central content repository of a headless CMS allows you easily reuse content across your channels (or even multiple websites). This not only has the added benefit of reducing the time it takes to add content to each page or channel, but it also means changes only need to be made once in one location.
More content for more channels
As businesses engage with their customers across more and more platforms, a headless CMS means you’re ready to adopt an omnichannel approach to your content creation too. Headless content isn’t tied to a specific channel making it easier to reach your audience across numerous platforms, making content highly accessible and reusable so you’re able to get the most out of what you’ve created.
A headless CMS delivers content via an API which provides full flexibility at every stage of the project. Designers and developers can be more creative with their solutions in comparison to working in a traditional CMS. Additionally, many headless CMS’ integrate with a range of development platforms so you’re not limited by choice. For example, Kentico Kontent acts as a multi-tenant SaaS delivering the back-end performance, security and upgrades you need all in one place.
Technology developers love
The separation of technologies also means that your developers (whether internal or agency) can work with their preferred technology stack, making it more likely that you’ll benefit from the latest frameworks and tools.
As the ‘head’ is loosely coupled to the ‘body’, in the future when you’re ready to make larger changes to your website, you can do so without replacing everything. You have the flexibility to replace the front end and change the user interface yet still preserve and use your existing content – or vice versa if you wish.
Why Choose NetConstruct for your Headless Project?
An agency with over 20 years’ experience, we have become experts in both Kentico and Umbraco solutions. Working with leading technologies, we can draw on our experience of both traditional and headless CMS solutions to help you make the right decision when it comes to selecting a platform.
A headless CMS loved by both developers and marketers. Kentico Kontent delivers all the benefits of a headless CMS while empowering your marketing team to manage the experience across your digital channels. Build digital experiences without compromises, Kentico Kontent is a cloud-native headless CMS that lets you build websites and applications fast, using any technologies you want.
With Umbraco Heartcore you get a headless CMS with a strong core. This means you will get a backend and editor experience that makes working with content delightful, structured, logical and scalable. The strong core allows you to worry less about time-consuming administrative tasks and lets you focus on what's important: creating great content and displaying it beautifully on any frontend you build.