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What is Headless CMS?

Have you heard of Headless CMS? It’s a content management system that separates the front-end display layer from the back-end content management layer. This means that content can be stored and managed in one place, while being used in various ways across multiple channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices.

What is Headless CMS?

Image of toddler in sand for headless cms blog
Credit: Richard Pennystan

Unlike traditional CMS, Headless CMS does not dictate how content is displayed or presented. Instead, it provides an API that developers can use to access content and create their own presentation layer. This makes it highly flexible and adaptable to different use cases.

Store at one place, distribute anywhere

The key benefit of using Headless CMS is the ability to easily deliver content across multiple channels. By storing content in one place and using APIs to access it, developers can quickly create new applications and experiences without having to worry about content management. It aims to offer total freedom to three main departments of your business which is design, development & marketing.

Integrate your content easily

Another benefit is the ability to easily integrate with other tools and platforms. Because Headless CMS is API-driven, it can be integrated with other systems, such as eCommerce platforms, marketing automation tools, and customer relationship management systems. This means you can update your content almost everywhere by updating it in one place.

User experience wise performs better

Headless CMS also offers better scalability and performance compared to traditional CMS. Because it separates the front-end from the back-end for better content management, it can handle high volumes of traffic and complex content structures without affecting the user experience.

What are the examples of Headless CMS?

Contentful

One example of a site built using Contentful CMS is the Spotify Developer site. The site uses Contentful to manage all of its content, including documentation, tutorials, and API references. With Contentful’s API-first approach, developers were able to easily integrate the content into the site using their preferred tools and programming languages, resulting in a seamless user experience. Additionally, Contentful’s flexible content modeling allowed the Spotify team to easily customize the CMS to fit their specific needs.

Strapi

An example of a site built using Strapi CMS is the official website of the Vue.js framework (https://vuejs.org/). Strapi is used to manage the content of the website, allowing the Vue.js team to easily update and add new content as needed without having to worry about the underlying technical details of the website. This enables them to focus on creating and maintaining a great website experience for their users.

Prismic

One example of a site built using Prismic CMS is the website for the company “Lush Digital”. The site features a sleek and modern design, with clear navigation and visually appealing images. Prismic’s custom content types and fields allowed the site’s developers to easily manage and display Lush Digital’s portfolio of work, as well as their team members and company blog. Overall, Prismic’s flexible and user-friendly interface made it a great choice for building this dynamic and engaging website.

Sanity

One example of a site built using Sanity CMS is the official website of the technology company Norigin Media (https://www.noriginmedia.com/). The website showcases the company’s services and expertise in the field of streaming technology, and uses Sanity as its headless CMS to manage its content. The site features a clean and modern design, with smooth animations and dynamic content. With Sanity, the team at Norigin Media is able to easily manage their content and keep the site up to date with their latest developments and services.

GraphCMS

Some examples of websites built using GraphCMS include:

  1. TeuxDeux – a popular to-do list app that helps users organize their tasks and stay on top of their schedule.
  2. Xerox – a multinational document management company that provides printing and scanning solutions to businesses and individuals.
  3. Territorial – a lifestyle and travel magazine that features articles and photography from around the world.
  4. SaaSquatch – a loyalty and referral program platform that helps businesses grow their customer base through incentivized referrals.
  5. Communo – a talent marketplace that connects freelancers and agencies with top brands and businesses.

Kentico Kontent

One example of a website built using Kentico Kontent as a headless CMS is the website for the National Trust for Scotland. The website provides information on the organization’s mission, history, events, and locations, as well as resources for members and supporters. The headless CMS architecture allows for flexibility and scalability, as the content can be easily updated and distributed across various channels, including web, mobile, and social media.

ButterCMS

One example of a website built using ButterCMS is the website of the footwear company, Allbirds (www.allbirds.com). ButterCMS is used to manage and deliver the website’s blog content. The headless CMS allows Allbirds to easily manage their content and seamlessly integrate it into their website, while also providing a great user experience for their customers.

Cockpit

An example of a website built with Cockpit CMS is https://kulturspace.com/. Cockpit has been used to manage the site’s content, including blog posts, events, and press releases. The CMS allows the site owners to easily create and edit content without needing to know how to code. Cockpit’s API has also been used to integrate with other tools and services, such as the site’s email marketing platform.

Directus

One example of a website built using Directus CMS is the music platform site called “Bandcamp Daily.” The site uses Directus as a headless CMS to manage and serve content for their blog, including articles, images, and videos. Directus allowed the developers to easily create a custom API that would handle the content for the site while providing a user-friendly admin panel for content editors to manage the content.

Agility CMS

One example of a website built using Agility CMS is the official website for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), tiff.net. The website features a wide range of content, including news articles, video interviews, film trailers, and a searchable database of past and present films showcased at the festival. Agility CMS allowed the TIFF team to easily manage and organize all of this content, while also providing a flexible platform for building custom features and integrations.

Pros and Cons of using Headless CMS

Pros:

  1. Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of using a headless CMS is the flexibility it provides. Developers have complete control over the frontend, allowing them to build custom user interfaces that meet the specific needs of their application.
  2. Scalability: Headless CMSs are highly scalable, allowing you to manage and distribute content across multiple channels, including web, mobile, and even IoT devices.
  3. Security: Headless CMSs are generally more secure than traditional CMSs because they don’t rely on server-side rendering. This means that there is no backend code to hack, making it more challenging for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities.
  4. Multichannel content delivery: With a headless CMS, you can publish your content to multiple channels simultaneously, making it easy to manage your content across different platforms.
  5. Time-to-market: Since developers can work independently on the frontend and backend, it reduces the time-to-market for new features, making it easy to roll out new changes and updates quickly.

Cons:

  1. Technical expertise: Headless CMSs require technical expertise to implement and maintain, which can be a significant barrier for companies that don’t have in-house developers or teams.
  2. Additional development: While a headless CMS provides flexibility, it also requires additional development to create custom frontends, which can increase the time and cost of development.
  3. Complexity: Headless CMSs are more complex than traditional CMSs, requiring more resources to set up and manage.
  4. Content previewing: Since a headless CMS separates the backend from the frontend, it can be challenging to preview content in the context of the website or application.
  5. Lack of features: Traditional CMSs offer bundled features such as website management, email marketing, and analytics, but headless CMSs focus only on the backend, leaving these features to be implemented separately.

Summary of Headless CMS

In summary, Headless CMS is a modern approach to content management that offers flexibility, scalability, and the ability to easily deliver content across multiple channels. It’s a great solution for businesses that want to stay agile and adapt quickly to changing market needs.

Prerak

Prerak

Prerak is founder and chief facilitating officer at TheIToons. When he's not writing blogs, managing team, educating clients and reading books for self-growth he tweets his thoughts on twitter and sometimes try to design his thoughts to post on Instagram. Find him everywhere by searching for @pntrivedy.

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