If you’ve heard the phrase headless CMS and thought that from a client’s view it probably doesn’t affect you, think again! Whether you’ve got to grips with the technical nitty gritty or not, there are huge benefits for a client in understanding a bit about adopting a headless CMS system. To make the most of it, you’ll need to have a basic grasp of what it is and how it works. This will enable you, as a client, to use your systems in the most efficient and effective ways. So this beginners guide to understanding headless CMS will allow you to optimise your platforms for your business.
What is traditional CMS?
A traditional Content Management System aims to be a single solution that manages both the front end and back end of a website or platform. The traditional CMS approach to managing that content is to essentially store everything; content, images, and code, together in one place. Therefore, traditionally it was impossible to immediately reuse the content because it was tied in with code. This didn’t matter so much until a multitude of different digital media and platforms became prevalent.
What is headless CMS?
Since there are now so many different digital spaces that your content should be shown, the aim is to minimise the work that this entails. So headless CMS is basically a way to detangle content and ease workload. The ‘head’ that’s being removed from the system is the presentation layer of a website or platform. In a headless CMS, removing the front end leaves just the back end and the application programming interface (API) to co-exist. The content is, in this way, stored in a central repository. This allows developers to build as many channels from the content as they require for a multichannel marketing approach.
What are the benefits to Headless CMS
Storing your content in a central place that’s then accessed by your different platforms and online presences ultimately reduces workload as it negates the manual duplication of content.
Content stored in a headless CMS system is raw and unformatted, which means its final presentation isn’t limited by a front-end system. This allows flexibility of design and language at the front end. Aesthetically, it frees up a marketing campaign’s ability to publish dynamic content across a range of platforms and devices within the variety of designs that they require.
Through a separated content infrastructure, agile development frameworks can be supported. So for teams who work in parallel, headless CMS can be an integral part of efficient working practices and simultaneous collaboration. This results in a competitive advantage for organisations that need to rapidly update new software, landing pages and micro-sites.
Your content is more accessible when stored centrally. This infrastructure allows you to optimise the resources spent on content creation. This central content can then be personalised and localised by different teams for different purposes.
By making changes in just one place, headless CMS can enable more rapid scaleability. In this way, you can manage content from a single source and distribute it to different channels. Should your organisation growth demand a change in developer tools, separated front and back end systems enable more flexible changes to be made.
We’ve seen that headless CMS makes editing content easier. So you can change the copy or image centrally, and that change applies in all locations that the content is placed. This unification improves the consistency of your brand. It’ll also make changes and updates to marketing campaigns far more simple, allowing your teams to focus more strategically.
You can easily publish content on different platforms. This means managing and publishing content on websites, apps and social media. Your content uploads quickly and can be fully optimised. This enhances your users’ digital experience which converts into more sales.
When the front end and back end are separated, a website uses fewer resources in loading the website. Additionally there is no time delay caused by installed plugins which can slow down page loading. This improves user experience and Google core vitals.
How about Decoupled CMS?
Similar to, but not the same as headless CMS, it’s helpful to understand how these two concepts differ. Even though the back end and the front-end application function independently of one another in a decoupled CMS, the front-end is a defined system or presentation layer. This links the two systems which can then function as one, giving less flexibility of presentation.
So it’s clear that headless CMS systems enable better multichannel marketing from a client’s view. Why is this important though? Customers now expect an organisation to have a presence over multiple spaces, such as a website, mobile app, text messages and social media. And it’s the success of this presence that will ultimately return greater sales and organisation growth.
Don’t forget that as part of the latest update to Google search parameters, search results now prioritise factors that impact user experience. In this way, your priority for how your content is presented in online locations should focus on good user experience. When content is stored and managed separately to code, you can ensure the best user experience for individual platforms.
A customer journey from browsing to dispatch should involve a minimal number of clicks! Ensure that your product pages are SEO friendly for those customers on the search for specific products. Similarly, utilise categories for your products for those shoppers who are looking for inspiration.
Front end aesthetics may be stunning, but it is the efficiency of a website or app that results in sales. Ideally a page load time will be 3 seconds or less. This should be consistently monitored to allow for a response if needs be. The functionality of your platforms can be improved through headless CMS, especially when implemented by good developers.
With multi platform marketing now prevalent, organisations keen to future proof their online presence should take a moment to appreciate the benefits of headless CMS. Once your content storage and delivery is in place, you’ll reap the benefits day to day.