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What Is Headless CMS - The Ultimate Guide

Not long ago, traditional CMS was the center of the web development world. But as is the law of nature, everything has a rise and fall. Now the world has moved towards the increased scalability and flexibility of headless CMS software.


As your forever partner, Vizteck brings the complete guide regarding Headless CMS as well as the differences between a traditional CMS and a Headless CMS. Thus here is the complete guide that answers “what is headless CMS?” better than anyone.


Today's Points Of Discussion

What Is A Headless CMS?

Headless CMS Vs Traditional CMS

Headless CMS Vs Decoupled CMS

What Are APIs?

Why Do You Need Headless CMS?

Benefits Of Headless CMS

Things To Consider To Choose The Best Headless CMS!

5 Best Headless CMS Systems

Headless CMS Vs WordPress

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


What is CMS


What Is A Headless CMS?

So, what do headless cms mean? In essential words, the term “headless” comes from the concept of chopping the head off the body. To make it more clear, the charge here is the front end or the website while the body is the beach end or the content repository.


Moreover, a Headless CMS is a content management system that operates where the content is stored i.e the body from where it is presented i.e the head. As a developer, you can now store the content in your headless CMS and send it for display wherever you want. This provides way more flexibility.


I hope This Answers the “What Is Headless CMS System?”


Time For A Little Flashback!

The beginning of the 21st Century announced an approach of a new era. In the early 2000s, the coupling between the delivery layer and the CMS became much tighter. This was way more convenient for both the editors and the developers as they were now free to use all the features associated with CMSs.


But as the 2010s approached, two new trends emerged. These were:


  • The emergence of news channels such as mobiles, IoT, and wearable devices.

  • The introduction of the front-end frameworks.


Now, this has shifted the approach. On one hand, the content editors were looking for their content in all the channels. In comparison to this, the developers wanted to develop the solutions with their favorite front-end tools. Thus, they made the CMS Vendors see the need for a headless CMS System.


Since the 2010s, the Headless CMS is rapidly changing the world of development. Earlier, the client mostly wanted his/her website to be ranked or developed in a better way. But now, the work is to deliver content to numerous channels and devices, and this can only be done if you adopt Headless CMS.


Headless CMS Vs Traditional CMS

When it comes to Headless CMS vs Traditional CMS, there’s always a great battle between these two. A headless CMS differentiates itself from the traditional CMS as it does not connect with the front end at all.


In contrast, the traditional CMS is the single solution that manages both the content and the front end at the same time. A headless CMS will work directly and strictly with the content. Once you have created and edited, the content will be published through an application programming interface (API) and that's it.


To provide more understanding, below are the pros and cons of both the Headless and Traditional CMS.


Headless CMS

Pros

  • The content can be served on any device.

  • Thanks to the headless API, the developers can now focus on presentation as content is sorted.

  • A Front-End Agnostic (A headless CMS will not care one bit about where the content is going or how you can display it).


Cons

  • No content preview

  • More Upfront integration


Traditional CMS

Pros

  • The entire site will be served from a single system

  • It's easy to manage the content

  • Control Front end design through themes and templates


Cons

  • Only creates website content

  • Has a limited flexibility

Headless CMS Vs Decoupled CMS

To understand it better, just think of it in this way, the decoupled CMS is proactive while the headless CMS is reactive. The decoupled architecture will prepare the backend content and present the formatted content to various channels.


On the other hand, Headless CMS is a content-only data source, and it has no functionality within the CMS to present content users on its own. Content is created as well as managed, but unlike other things, it will just sit there and would wait to be called upon by an API. And this brings us to our next point of discussion, “APIs”.


Read More: Headless CMS Vs Decoupled CMS


What Are API's

What Are APIs?

So, what is a headless API? Also known as the Application programming interface, headless CMS delivers the content through APIs. This provides a seamless display across all sites. Besides, it can aid in any device or other digital touchpoint.


This is quite helpful as it would make the content in a headless CMS completely reusable. Also, it’s quite different compared to WordPress and other monolithic CMSes.


To clarify, understand that a headless CMS's main john is only to store and manage your content. In contrast, the major job of a display platform such as a website or a mobile app is to present content to the users (people).


APIs here play a magical role as they become a bridge that allows the backend systems i.e headless CMS and the frontend systems i.e website to communicate in a complete and specific way.


Why Do You Need Headless CMS?

In this modern world, managing textual, structural, and multimedia content is not that easy. To manage such content, you need to be able to distribute it on different platforms such as the web, e-commerce, mobile applications, and personal devices.


Additionally, what matters the most is that the content must be personalized according to the user, the user’s location, language, behavior, and preferences (some may call it a buyer’s persona). Hence, it is a basic necessity that the content must be as much independent as possible.


To make it as much independent as possible, there is a need to implement solutions in which the information management part is decoupled from the frontend part. This is where the headless CMS comes into play.


The CMS part is focused on content functionalities such as managing content for reusable components, presets, versioning, collaboration, workflow stages, roles, permissions, preview, backup, security and it goes on.


Decoupling the front end as well as the content management part ensures that the development team is free to choose their stack without having to go through any requirements coming from the CMS part. Besides, thanks to headless CMS, they can now focus on UX and UI. This would aid in reducing the time to market their costs.


Benefits Of Headless CMS

As mentioned above, headless CMS has several advantages that can aid greatly. There are several benefits Headless CMS can provide developers. Thus, below are a few benefits you guys should know about.


A Fast Editing Experience

When it comes to content editing, a traditional CMS architecture will have to spend resources on content management and editing. But this is not the case with a headless CMS. A headless CMS doesn’t need to deal with the rendering side of things.


Can Manage Content For More Channels

Also, the headless content is not bound to a single presentation concern. Hence, you can use the headless CMS to manage content for websites as well as apps. Besides, headless CMS can also be used to manage the internal/admin content in the same place and can aid in extracting more value from it.


Provides Unreal Flexibility To Developers

As headless content is served over APIs, developers can now choose their front-end tooling. Besides, if you are looking to work with javascript instead of working PHP or Ruby, you can do that easily.


Also, you can interchange parts of your stack or you can move from one framework to another without putting an effect the CMS.


Easy Scaling

The headless CMS will let you manage the content from a single source of truth. Besides, you can also change the developer tools at any time you want, and you can benefit from sending your content to high-performance cloud-based hosting.


Provides Enhanced Security

The best thing about the headless CMS is that the content is separate from the presentation layer. Hence, this is a smaller area of attack.


Things To Consider To Choose The Best Headless CMS!

When choosing the best headless CMS, you need to keep a few things in mind. Below are a few things you have to keep in mind.


Support And OnBoarding


The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a headless CMS is whether the support and customer success management system is good or not. In what manner does the vendor offer support, and can they quickly resolve your requests or not?


API Response Time

In a headless CMS System, one of the most important factors is the API response time. It not only affects the application but the quality of the website's user experience. So, when you choose a headless CMS system, make sure that you check whether the vendor is offering a global content delivery network (CDN) for digital assets and APIs and ask about the data center's location.


Infrastructure

One more thing that you guys need to keep in mind is the CMS infrastructure. You should know whether the vendor offers SAAS. You should know that SaaS is way more secure as it hosts the cloud management component in the cloud while the front-end site will reside on your server.


5 Best Headless CMS Systems


Kontent.ai

When it comes to Kontent.ai, it's a true SaaS model that aids in empowering enterprise content teams. The Kontent.ai CMS helps both marketers and developers to focus on their digital customer experience.


Magnolia

Founded in 1997, this Switzerland-based Magnolia CMS aids in helping the enterprise to build their corporate websites, provide flexibility, and unify the entire content in one single hub.


Besides, Magnolia aids in providing structured content across numerous channels and multiple devices. Perhaps the best thing about this Headless CMS is that it enables the developers to utilize other frameworks such as VUE, Angular, or React.


Strapi

As strapi is an open-source headless CMS, it provides seamless integration and creation of content. Thanks to its self-hosted content management system, it allows even a beginner to develop a website if they do not have any experience or scripting knowledge.


Besides, Vizteck has experts in its team when it comes to headless CMS strapi. So contact us now and have a website of your own.


Netlify

Netlify is a great open-source content management system that collaborates with numerous static site generators. With the help of these tools, now you can pace up the process of content creation while we can assure you that the security and flexibility will be far better than you have ever tested. The best thing is that Netlify is quite affordable.


Agility CMS

When it comes to the word Agility, what's the first sound you hear in your ears? Agility, right? So being obvious, this is the major goal of Agility CMS, to be the fastest headless CMS.


This content management system provides the developers with the sheer quality and flexibility that can ensure things work out in a faster way. Besides, while Agility CMS is enabling developers to work flawlessly and comfortably, it in the meantime enables the editors to work to reuse the content, author the features, and do much more without requiring the help of developers.


Headless CMS Vs WordPress

Will you want to continue with the traditional CMS and get its benefits or would you opt for the new methods and choose Headless CMS for flexibility, versatility, and high speed? You may think we are way past then the headless CMS and traditional CMS comparison, but this is a bit different. Thus, read below to find out the difference between the headless CMS and WordPress.


Advantages Of Headless CMS

Although we have mentioned the benefits of headless CMS before, thus if you have read that part, skip this one and move on to the WordPress one. But for the ones who don’t know about the benefits, here we go.


Is way more secure

As headless is a bit distant from the front end, the headless CMS will provide a way lesser exposed region for a possible assault.


Offers A Faster Editing Experience

For content writers and editors, a headless CMS makes life much easier. Through a headless CMS like strapi, they can now ignore the code and can focus entirely on the material they are working on.


Compatibility

API-delivered content can easily be integrated, disseminated, edited, or cut down on time to develop content-driven experiences such as applications or websites.


Advantages Of WordPress


Easy to Install

The best thing about WordPress is that it can be installed quickly and straightforwardly. This makes it easy to use. All you need to do is to create your web pages and upload the database.


Has A Responsive Design

As mobile has become one of the most effective methods of getting traffic for company websites, it is a must that they should be responsive to attract customers through a suitable mobile channel. In this case, WordPress has a responsive design that ensures that your website is optimized greatly on various devices without the requirement of any extra effort.


Easy To Use

Another great thing about WordPress is that it's quite simple. As the program has an intuitive interface, even a young beginner can become a professional while using it. Thanks to its integrated dashboard, you can create new pages, categories, and articles.


A Few Drawbacks Of WordPress


Need Several Plugins For Additional Features

A drawback that most people do not expect from WordPress is that when you want to add more features to the website, the agency will have to look for plugins on WordPress. Although some plugins are free, others have a fixed cost.


Slow-Loading Pages

The worst thing about WordPress is that it is a bit sluggish due to its additional plugins, codebases, and oversaturated databases.


Apart from that, these are not the only factors that may cause the website to slow down. If you have large pictures, extra and invaluable text on the pages, and unstable hosting, your website will be affected.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


What Is Structured Content?

Structured content is a piece of information or content that is organized in a well and predictable way and it’s usually classified with metadata. XML is a common storage format, however, XML can be stored in other standard or proprietary formats.


Why Do The Brands Need Headless CMS

A headless CMS provides a more robust SEO readiness that is based on performance and optimization for multiple devices. Meanwhile, the content marketing team will have to make little to no effort.


Why So Few Developers Use Headless CMS

This usually depends on the CMS a developer is using. In fact, in this day and age, this statement would not fit, as according to the new statistics, more and more developers have switched sides towards the headless CMS.


Final Words

After much comparison and research, it is final that the headless CMS is the way to go now. Headless CMS is helpful in numerous ways and provides the best results and reliability a developer needs. So, thanks for reading our guide as Vizteck is always there to help our users and provide them with the best possible information.


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