A Content Management System is a software application that is used to manage the creation and storage of digital content. Now that you have created the content and have a place to store it all, you simply use the content when you create websites and other content delivery methods.
The concept of creating and storing is common but the method of delivering or using that content in your website and other channels can vary. When you want to choose a CMS, your choice may depend based on the method of how content is used and delivered. There is the traditional CMS and then the headless CMS.
Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS
To understand what headless means, let's take a look at how regular CMS works.
In a regular CMS, even before you create your content, you decide on how that content is going to be presented. For example, you know that the content is going to the home page of the website and will be placed in a certain way. You create the content and the presentation layer that goes with it such as custom code and templates, so you can use it on your website. The content, the template, and the code are all tied together. This means when you create a piece of content you already are aware of where it will be used and how it will be used. Therefore, you prepare the content in such a way that it is ready to be published in a particular way.
What's the problem with that, you ask? If you create a piece of content to be used on a webpage, that is all you can do. When you want the same information to be sent through an email, you have to create another piece of content with the presentation layer that would be apt for an email. You end you with the same information prepared for several different outputs. Updating these would be a huge task. Current marketing strategies involve personalizing content for the customers, which would be an impossible feat to accomplish. Here is where the headless CMS comes in.
A headless CMS means the content (body) and the presentation layers (head) are separate. Hence the term Headless. When you are creating content in a headless CMS you don't have to worry about the templates, the layout, the styling, and the code. All of these presentation layers can be created by a developer and maintained separately and are not tied to particular content. Since the content you create is without the presentation layer attached, just one instance of the content can be used to publish and deliver content on any device (mobile, smartwatches,) or platforms such as websites, emails, or social media. With a headless CMS you can deliver your content anywhere you need to through APIS.
Why do you need a headless CMS
The future of digital experiences has already changed. Delivering content on a webpage through a web browser is not the only way as it used to be for very many years. Now new devices, new interfaces, such as smartphones, watches are here. Headless architecture is the result of a new way of content delivery.
Benefits of Headless CMS
- You have the independence to choose your own platform.
- You can repurpose across multiple channels, hence you are always omnichannel ready.
- Your team can work in an agile way since content creators and developers can work simultaneously.
- It's your choice to choose the technology you want.
- You will be able to support cross-platform functionalities.
- Personalization and localization can be easily managed.
- Build websites and web apps with different frameworks such as Vue.js, React and Angular
- Create native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows phone