Content is the linchpin that connects you to your customers. In a world where people consume content on multiple devices and in many formats, ensuring a great experience is critical.
A headless content management system (CMS) is the right solution—not only for your users, but also for marketers and developers supporting content creation and development.
By separating the back end from the front end, headless CMS isn’t just changing the way users experience your content; it’s changing the way companies approach content development
Read on to learn why a headless CMS is the superior choice for streamlining content management in an omnichannel environment.
What is a “headless” CMS? How is it different than a traditional CMS?
The most important thing to know about a headless CMS
is that it separates the creation and storage of content (back end) from the presentation and delivery (front end). Known as “decoupled” architecture, a headless approach provides superior flexibility, scalability, site speed, and security.
Unlike a traditional CMS, where content is tied to a pre-set theme, a headless CMS delivers it through Advanced Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Key takeaway: A headless CMS stores and manages your content, while a presentation tool (website or mobile app) presents the content.
This structure makes it easier to manage, deliver, and repurpose your content, matching the omnichannel environment your customers use.
To support the best possible delivery of content across a variety of formats, the headless approach involves creating content bites that can then be ported to any type of front end. For example, suppose you’re creating a web page that may include elements such as:
- a banner image
- a page heading and subhead
- body copy
- an introductory paragraph
- text sections
- infographics or photos
- a testimonial quote
- a targeted asset
- a contact form
With a traditional CMS, you might break out a couple of these items in separate entry fields, but more likely, you'd just lay them out all together in a single content object using a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor.
A headless system, such as Storyblok
, breaks these components down even further and doesn't mix content, layout, and design—keeping the end display more flexible:
- a banner image
- a page heading
- a page subhead
- an introductory body paragraph
- a second-level heading
- a body paragraph
- another second-level heading
- a second body paragraph
- an infographic
- a caption
- a testimonial quote
- a targeted asset heading
- a targeted asset description
- a targeted asset image
- a targeted asset link
- a contact form
The CMS enables you to specify which of these pieces should link with others by adding tags and taxonomy notations to each item.
With this information, developers can use programmatic APIs to pull the content into a variety of front ends. The results are more attractive and easier to utilize than a big block of content designed for a static webpage shoehorned into other formats.
What are the challenges of using a traditional CMS?
A traditional, monolithic CMS is clunky and slow. Its architecture limits your capabilities and creates workflow bottlenecks.
By using a traditional CMS you can run into these issues:
- Slow website loading times
- Limited integration, programming, and framework options
- Content bottlenecks preventing you from publishing updates quickly
- Worrying about website security and plugins
- Outdated CMS architecture that crashes your website
- Too much time spent optimizing content for multiple channels
- Training non-technical staff on editing code for content changes
- Zero template flexibility
Learn how we helped Western Research Institute, a major non-profit organization, migrate from their traditional CMS to a modern Storyblok headless CMS.
Read About Our Work and
Read the Case Study
Why do marketers want to use a headless CMS?
As a marketer, you need to get campaigns off the ground fast so you can start seeing results. In a headless CMS, a centralized content repository allows you to create content once and publish everywhere, without experiencing long web development lead times.
If you select a headless CMS with a visual editor, such as Storyblok
, your content creators can see real-time previews of website changes before they are published.
Headless helps focus content
A headless approach can also offer some distinct advantages in unexpected areas, such as copywriting. By thinking about content in smaller, interrelated chunks, you can tighten your writing and lead readers to a desired conclusion efficiently.
It will also help you answer important questions:
- Is each paragraph as tight and compelling as possible?
- Can an image stand on its own (with its own caption)?
- Which combination of components delivers the most value in a certain format?
- Are you truly delivering a cohesive user experience across every channel?
A closer look at the content you develop enables a more granular taxonomy and tagging strategy, which improves the user experience. It also enhances the way you reuse and repurpose content.
Why is a headless CMS right for developers?
Because a headless CMS separates a website’s back end from the front end, developers are free to choose their preferred technology. In contrast, a monolithic CMS limits you to the same programming language the CMS uses and only mediocre integrations that work with their system. That’s important if your developers know a certain language such as .NET but aren’t as well versed in PHP.
A headless CMS, such as Storyblok, enables you to choose best-of-breed solutions that fit your business needs—whether that’s a marketing automation, ecommerce, or other solution.
Many developers today are used to agile workflows. Headless is perfect for this workflow, simplifying content creation, coding, and delivery. Your marketing team can work in sync with your developers, saving valuable time.
Tired of your CMS limiting you?
We can help. Refactored is a nationally recognized leader in effective website development. Our unique approach starts with understanding your business needs and goals first, then we align your technology to achieve those goals.
By working with us on your website, you’ll get:
- 2+ decades experience building award-winning websites
- Comprehensive training and step-by-step documentation for your staff
- Integration, migration, and custom-build capabilities
- A Storyblok Certified Partner
Contact us today for a free needs assessment