Headless CMS VS CMS


For any organisation considering a move to headless CMS, it’s important to understand how the change might impact your business. Headless CMS isn’t the right thing for everyone, but it undoubtedly offers considerable benefits over traditional CMS. So we look at the 10 big advantages of a headless CMS compared to CMS in its more traditional form. If these advantages feel relevant to your organisation, then maybe the time is right to explore using this solution.

What is headless CMS?

The purpose of a headless CMS is to focus on the content component as an administrative interface. By removing the ‘head’, there is no linked presentation layer of a website or app. This subsequently eases the workload of administrating and editing content for different channels. In a headless CMS, removing the front end leaves just the back end and the application programming interface (API) to co-exist. In this way, raw content is stored and managed in a centralised location and is detangled from the presentation layer. This allows developers to build multiple channels from the content, enabling an integrated multichannel marketing strategy.

What is traditional CMS?

The traditional CMS approach to managing content is to essentially store content, images, and code together in one place. It is a single solution that manages both the front end and back end of a website or app. This offers ease of usability for content creators as long as they stick to one media channel and are happy to work within templates. As the landscape of content evolves to involve so many different digital presences, the limitations of traditional CMS are becoming more clear.

Advantages of Headless CMS

These 10 advantages of a headless CMS cover both practical and strategic sides of content management. Investing in a headless CMS solution allows for improved functionality and aesthetic freedom, as well as simplified processes and eased workloads.

1 - Better UX

User experience is the single most important element in building customer loyalty and achieving sales conversions in e-commerce. As content stored in a headless CMS is unformatted, its final presentation isn’t limited by a front end tool. This enables flexibility of design and navigation at the front end. So every platform can be designed to offer the optimal user experience across multiple devices.

2 - Functionality

There’s a reason that developers tend to prefer a headless CMS. This is because it empowers them to work with their preferred front end tools, frameworks and languages. This translates in an improved level of functionality that is unique and targeted to your organisation. So organisations with access to a front end development team can use a headless CMS to build high function channels that stand out from competitors.

3 - Futureproofing

With separated front and back end systems comes increased flexibility. It is this flexibility that supports future proofed technology for an organisation. A headless CMS approach brings with it a freedom to adopt any future tech that works for your organisation. Programmers and developers are therefore able to integrate different technologies as and when they make practical sense. This is preferable to making one single core change that causes disruptive downtime.

4 - Flexibility

Organisations often rely on their ability to act flexibly and responsively within the business landscape. This speed and agility can enable rapid organisation growth and prosperity. As a headless CMS is separated from the front end, developers can enjoy far more flexibility. Channels can be trialled and altered without having to disrupt working parts of a project. This allows organisations to be able to move fast and take advantage of new opportunities.

5 - Multi-Channel Content

By their very structure, headless CMS systems enable well integrated multichannel marketing. Customers now expect an organisation to have a coherent presence over multiple spaces, such as a website, mobile app, AI and social media. As a headless CMS centrally stores content, all front end channels are engineered with their purpose in mind. All creating and editing is done in the central repository, so there’s continuity of brand and message, which offers a seamless experience for the user.

6 - Optimisation

The parameters of Google’s core vitals continue to prioritise elements of user experience, such as page loading times and optimisation, for SERP rankings. In this way, load times and page stability are increasingly important for more complex websites and apps. By using a headless CMS, page loading and integrity is automatically improved. This is because developers can build a front end that is completely streamlined.

7 - Centralised Content

While many benefits of centralised content manifest in how that content is pushed to the user across different media, we should not forget about the advantage of having one location for your content. This is in the ease of edit and a considerable decrease in workload. As traditional CMS stores content and code all together, edits would need to be made individually across different channels. A headless CMS requires just one edit, enabling content creators to work more productively and prevents the likelihood of errors.

8 - Microservices

Part of an agile methodology, headless CMS works to support microservice architecture. The aim is that your teams can build services that are independent of others. Loose coupling reduces all types of dependencies and subsequent complexities allowing developers to focus on one capability only. In this way, developers can quickly stitch together applications using multiple APIs. This means that the performance of your organisation can evolve far quicker and become more responsive to market conditions.

9 - Security

By separating the front and back end of a CMS, extra layers of code are automatically introduced. This improves security and decreases the attack surface of a headless CMS. As the API used to present content from a headless CMS is normally read only, it becomes less vulnerable to attack. It’s not true that traditional CMS is inherently insecure, but larger organisations will certainly benefit from this extra functionality.

10 - Organisation Growth

As an organisation grows, so must its digital presence. This may mean improved website functionality, rebranding, or an increased span of media presence. If you already have headless CMS in place, these changes become less dramatic as they can happen incrementally. This is better for consistency of performance and presence, rather than waiting for the organisation to have achieved a set level of growth.

These many advantages of a headless CMS compared to CMS clearly show that headless CMS is a productive and efficient way to work. And in many circumstances it is the right choice, as long as you have access to good developers. Get in touch to discover how we can help you to enjoy the advantages of a headless CMS.

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