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What is Headless CMS

It’s well-documented that content is king, and that good content can drive traffic which of course can translate into conversions. With this in mind, companies are investing in content creation to grow their audiences, establish their expertise, and ultimately drive conversions. But managing all this content across different channels can get tricky. This is where the advent of headless CMS is coming to the rescue.

What is Headless CMS?

Headless CMS is a back-end only content management system built as a content repository that makes content accessible and stores it within the CMS (content management system) by an API (application programming interface).

This type of CMS is called headless because the idea is that developers have chopped the head or front end of the website from the body of the site, i.e. the back end. Previously the front and back end were inseparable in CMS, and the back end could severely limit the front. Headless CMS offers exciting new options and possibilities for both engineers and for users with wider range and more freedom.

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Why Headless CMS?

One of the most important advantages of using a headless CMS is that once content is made public through to an API (application programming interface), the information can be shared over multiple platforms such as web, mobile, chat, etc. This is a big deal because in this day and age, marketing and connection is generally conducted across multiple channels, i.e. omnichannel marketing. You wouldn’t, for example, write an awesome blog article with lots of links and references and benefits for your audience and put it up on your website but not address it on your business app. And that’s where headless CMS comes in handy.

The huge plus to headless CMS is that with one system, a business or client can reach multiple platforms such as web, mobile apps, etc. This means content is distributed through different channels i.e. mobile app, website, etc) without the need to create the content in 2 different systems. Both the app and the website have to be developed as separate entities, but once completed, both are managed through the same CMS system. This is called an omnichannel approach. A second advantage is improved security with headless CMS because there’s no database to secure on each individual channel. Third, the way the back and front end are completely separated allows for quicker upgrades or customization to a website with less downtime. It also provides greater flexibility for developers to customize the front end as much as they’d like without having to worry if the back end will support it.

Case Studies

Let’s look at a few examples of businesses using headless CMS to meet client needs. Elastic is a company in the software development industry. They make data searchable and offer cloud hosting to a variety of clients. Elastic had a slower word-press based website that wasn’t meeting the company’s needs. They switched to Contentstack’s headless CMS and according to the company’s website, “Elastic’s Move to Contentstack from WordPress Speeds up Development Process by over 500%” By transitioning to a headless model, Elastic was able to clients needs quickly and without hiring a costly third-party developer.

A second case study where headless CMS made a big difference is that of Lakeland Health. Lakeland Health needed to have different devices talk to one another. They relied on HIPAA-secured, proprietary software for their website that wasn’t keeping pace with the company’s needs. So when Lakeland decided to redesign its website, the timing was perfect to switch to an API driven headless CMS. According to a case study published on “Sitefinity’s CMS gave Lakeland the ability to deploy over 1,500 pages of new content in under six months, link the website to hospital staff software, drive social engagement with API callouts to Facebook, and even link the website to the G Suite, particularly Google Maps.” All of which were huge improvements to the previous site’s capabilities and helped save the company money.

If you're looking for a nearshore headless cms services or a technical staff augmentation service, Pixel506 can help. We are located in Costa Rica but also have Pixelians based in Peru, Nicaragua, and Colombia. Contact us today to see how we can help―we look forward to getting to know you and your business over a digital cup of coffee.

JAM Stacks

Another technology that can take advantage of headless CMS is called JAM stacks, which we’ll touch on just briefly here. JAM stacks stand for Javascript, APIs, and Markup. This is a new type of web development architecture that is not webserver-dependent.

Recently, Agility CMS hosted a webinar about JAMstack, detailing how brands can leverage JAMstack with Agility CMS and Gatsby (as well as other frameworks) to develop and launch super-fast sites.

Parting Thoughts

With the advent of headless CMS, developers are keeping pace with users’ demands for better, faster, more-streamlined content management. Omnichannel marketing and content creation have made an atmosphere where it’s important to display a brands’ vision and ethos across various channels, websites, apps, etc. The advent of headless CMS is also a response to the known importance of customization and personalization online, which are proven to help drive conversions and keep users satisfied. Headless CMS not only streamlines technology but also aims to help users share content more easily.

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