Going Headless is Less Spooky Than You Think

No need to be frightened! We share a few factors to consider when choosing the right CMS for your business.

Yes, it’s Halloween, but going headless doesn’t have to be frightening! The buzzy term is particularly appealing for design and development teams looking for more flexibility in designing and building modern apps, while still leveraging some of the key features of a good Content Management System.

Content Management Systems (CMS) are software applications used to create and manage a website’s content, effectively allowing non-technical team members to publish content and make updates to a company’s site without engaging developers. Two primary forms of CMS exist today – traditional CMS and headless CMS.

What is the difference between the two? How do you decide which is the right approach for your organization?

Let’s look at the options.


Traditional CMS vs. Headless CMS

Traditional CMS controls a website’s front end (the client side) and back end (the server side). Over the past decade, traditional CMS has been the standard for website development. But as digital channels and devices have evolved, organizations need more flexible and scalable solutions. Today, more companies are adopting headless CMS to meet their goals.

With traditional CMS applications like WordPress, the front end and back-end are closely connected. On the other side, headless CMS applications only handle the back end of a site. Because there is no front-end, it is considered a headless system.

Headless CMS is used to edit and store content but isn’t responsible for the content’s presentation. Instead, front-end developers have the flexibility to use any framework they choose. The data or content is retrieved through an Application Programming Interface (API) and returned using structured language. In this case, the front end and back end are only loosely connected via the API.


Advantages of Traditional CMS

Simple: Content management and design are served from a single system, making it easier to develop and publish content quickly. Some traditional CMS also provide built-in themes and templates, which can simplify or accelerate site development.

Affordable: Depending on your business, it can be cheaper to use the templates provided by traditional CMS rather than designing and building your site from scratch.

Customizable: Traditional CMS may not require a dedicated team of developers if the features and templates provided cover your needs. The administrative interface of the CMS allows you to create and manage the look of the content, with set parameters.


Advantages of Headless CMS

Flexible: Headless CMS allows for more flexibility in the website’s design. By removing the UI templates from the CMS, the possibilities of what can be built are practically endless. Front-end developers can retrieve data and present it however they want, often leveraging frameworks like React, or Angular. Businesses wanting a more customized or unique design, are restricted by limited templates or functionality of a traditional CMS. Instead, they can build unique websites that stand out from their competitors.

Compatible: Content managed by a headless CMS can be displayed across any application or device, whereas traditional CMS serves content only for the websites built using its templates. Headless CMS is future-proof, as it can power platforms that are not even on your current product roadmap. Do you want to reuse your content, images and other resources from your website in your new mobile app? If you’re using a Headless CMS, your app can connect to it via APIs and reuse the same content, rather than replicating and storing it in an additional location.

Secure: A Headless CMS is separated from the front end application, which can make it less vulnerable to potential system attacks, since the CMS code is not exposed on the public server.


Should I Go Headless?

If you are a small organization with limited resources or have a simple website that only requires features available in built-in templates, a traditional CMS may be the best option for you.

If your organization has a complex website and needs flexibility and functionality that a traditional CMS can’t provide, then a headless CMS will help you scale and grow.

Don’t be spooked! Whether you’re looking for assistance setting your organization’s CMS strategy or are ready to start with a headless CMS, the Concord team can help you make the right determination and execute a system to meet your needs.

Find out how to map your digital strategy to outcomes!

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