What Is A Headless CMS? – Let’s Talk About Content Management

What is a headless CMS - Image of some CMS code to illustrate the concept of content management systems.
Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash

If you have worked in the eCommerce industry long enough, or you have your own blog, you will have wrestled with a CMS at some point.

The traditional CMS (content management system) structure has been around for a long time. But companies are now looking for more flexibility in content management. Changes need to be made fast, with minimal resource. This is ever more crucial in the competitive eCommerce landscape.

But what is a headless CMS? Is it any better than a traditional CMS that you might use now? And what about DXPs (Digital Experience Platform)? Are they beneficial or just another acronym to remember?

Let’s find out.

What is a headless CMS - screenshot of a content management system.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

What Is A Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It’s “headless” because the overall concept of it is “chopping the head”, or front end off the “body”, the back end. A headless CMS is built as a content repository that makes content accessible via APIs to display on any device. 

A headless CMS is focused on storing and delivering content and allowing people to collaborate on new content.

Older CMS’s are often referred to as monolithic, regular or coupled content management systems.

What Advantages Does A Headless CMS Have?

A headless CMS gives companies several advantages over a monolithic CMS. Especially if a business has a website and an app.

The biggest advantage is that a headless CMS can be a building block for many different products. Due to the way it works with content APIs. Content can be fetched and served on a website and an application at the same time. A Headless CMS will also update on a continuous basis. Hosting and delivery is also handled in the cloud rather than in-house, which can be the case with a monolithic CMS. 

A headless CMS can also really help your content teams. With a headless CMS you can publish once, to all your properties, at the same time. You can also make updates and edits once to all your properties at the same time. It puts all your content in one place, which can save a lot of time.
So for eCommerce companies a headless CMS can be fantastic. We are now in an O2O, omnichannel world. So it’s important that eCommerce companies can easily serve their content in different places at the same time. So if you have a website (or several), an iOS app and an Android app, a headless CMS can make sure your content gets in front of your customers wherever they are.

What is a headless cms - Image of a laptop with CMS written on wooden block lettering.

Are There Any Disadvantages To A Headless CMS?

Despite the many advantages to a headless CMS, it might not be the right path for everyone. A headless CMS can be expensive to implement, so if you are a business with just one website then a simple monolithic CMS is probably the best solution for you. The headless CMS is also another part of your CMS workflow to manage. You will need some infrastructure in your content pipeline to manage the presentation part of your digital storefronts or experiences.

What Is A DXP?

A digital experience platform (DXP) is a set of technologies that are integrated which support the creation, management and delivery of digital experiences.

DXPs are not really the same as a CMS. DXPs always include a CMS in their suite of tools but they can also integrate with existing CMS systems. This helps businesses to manage and serve their personalized digital experiences.

What is a headless cms - Image of a testing environment in development.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Should My Business Change Over To A Headless CMS?

This really depends on your business and how mature your technology offering is.

If you are a small eCommerce business that is just getting started, you do not need a headless CMS system right now. But for future proofing purposes it might be helpful as if you need to change your technology stack, you will not have to worry about your content. If you are getting started right now, a DXP is a good idea as you will have access to a whole suite of personalization and data analysis tools right away.

If you are a large and established eCommerce business with a big website and you are thinking about an app, a headless CMS might be something you should consider. While it might be expensive, the scalability of a headless CMS might provide a good return on investment and free up your staff to work on more innovative ideas.

Contact us via hello@maqe.com.

Talk to MAQE

If you need help with content management and personalization. Or you need custom built back end systems to improve your operations, talk to MAQE. We can provide powerful insights and optimizations to help the operations side of your business. So your organization can adapt to a changing technological landscape. Get in touch via [email protected] to find out how we can help you.