Since the earliest days of web development, people have been using content management systems (CMS) like WordPress to produce and present content including blog posts, images and videos.
It was a great way of curating a business’s digital content and organizing it on website-oriented portals for publication without the need for specialized coding or development skills - anyone could use it.
However, with the ongoing evolution of the internet and the emergence of new digital platforms, content production is being tested more than ever before. Material needs to be published on apps, mobile sites, social media feeds and a variety of other locations, and this demand only looks set to grow in the coming years.
Indeed, 66% of marketers expect to spend more on content marketing in 2022 than they did last year, while HubSpot states that the top four formats are now video, blogs, images and infographics.
It’s fair to say we’ve come a long way from the 150-word news articles of Web 2.0. Marketers today need a more flexible, customizable solution that can deliver whatever content and experience customers demand.
Enter headless CMS
So, how can headless help? Well, a headless (or cloud-first) CMS refers to any type of system where the content repository (or body) is separated from the presentation layer (front-end or head). This somewhat macabre allegory means content can be delivered via application programming interfaces for a seamless display, no matter what device it’s being viewed on.
It allows for almost limitless possibilities for the customer’s experience, from traditional desktops to smartphones - and even Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including smart fridges.
For marketers, this equates to an easier way to personalize content throughout a customer’s buying journey and to target them via multiple channels.
Benefits of headless CMS
There are many benefits of adopting a headless CMS system, including:
1. Perfect multichannel presentation
As briefly mentioned above, simple websites just don’t cut it for marketers as more devices go online. Uploading content to one portal after another would have been time-consuming and tedious, but a headless CMS overcomes this and ensures multichannel content production is quick and easy by instantly optimizing it for any device.
This is important, as 73% of web designers believe non-responsive design is one of the biggest reasons why visitors leave a website. On the other hand, Deloitte found improving mobile site speed by just 0.1 seconds can boost conversions by 8%.
The number of IoT-connected devices worldwide could grow to 43 billion by 2023, according to Gartner, so this issue is only likely to become more pertinent as marketers grapple with new techniques, perhaps including displaying recipe ideas or articles about food waste on the likes of smart fridges.
2. Flexibility in CMS solutions
Because a headless CMS will integrate with traditional and even hybrid models, there’s no need for marketers to rush to make the transition. Instead, they can have the editing tools and templates they’re familiar with and know inside out, yet also the ability to publish content seamlessly across various platforms.
3. Speed and ease for developers
Rather than struggling with the different requirements of proprietary platforms, a headless CMS saves developers time by ensuring a piece of content can be reused in different formats. For instance, a newsletter can be published in multiple spaces at once, increasing the likelihood of more eyes on the content and better click-through rates.
Businesses have experienced enough online life to know that technology can change rapidly, potentially making once-useful marketing channels obsolete almost overnight. If you’ve become used to one system and it fails, it could be a major inconvenience to learn a new one.
However, with a headless CMS, you can quickly adapt and create new content that’s effectively future-proofed. For instance, many businesses are now putting the content they would once have published via FAQ pages into chatbot systems, something that becomes easy with headless.
5. Cost savings
There can be benefits for the bottom line too, as marketers can create anything they like for publication without having to wait for an IT developer to build a new CMS template for it. The up-front cost should also be lower because of the scalability.
6. Easier to learn
In the early days of Web 2.0, marketers had to learn all the ins and outs of a CMS because the whole system was intrinsically linked. With headless, only the content is stored and so less time needs to be wasted understanding what all the other clutter is about, meaning content can be king once again.
7. Better software architecture
Because the CMS platform and the final content are separated, a number of advantages are offered for marketers. To start with, it should offer more security thanks to internal access only, with any outside content needing to be approved.
It’s also scalable depending on the requirements of a particular project. For instance, if an application is showing more demand, a new app server can be provided to support the content.
Finally, the increased availability is another plus point should the CMS go offline - no longer will the web apps suffer and fail to display anything.
With digital strategy becoming ever-more important and the range of ways to reach customers growing, marketers may find it’s time they updated their traditional CMS in favor of a headless future.
As we’ve seen here, the benefits could be significant when it comes to presenting a competitive advantage for firms of all sizes - and that’s surely top of every marketer’s agenda going forward.