The way web content is consumed has changed in the past few years and will continue to do so as the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is adopted. You can now utilize wearables, smartphones and other devices to obtain information. This change is creating some challenges for companies using traditional content management systems as the type of architecture used doesn’t provide the flexibility required to integrate new delivery formats. If you’re running into this challenge and want to push your content to several different types of devices, you may wish to utilize headless content delivery, which focuses strictly on the backend and use of an API.
What Is Headless Content Delivery?
When working with a traditional CMS, you may run into limitations. As explained by Contentful, “one way to solve the limitations of a traditional CMS is by implementing a “headless” CMS — if the presentation layer of a website is the “head” of a CMS, then cutting off that presentation layer creates a headless CMS.” The makeup of a headless CMS consists of a backend and API that allows you to provide content as a service. Using this type of CMS architecture takes away having to be concerned about how different frontends display your data. Using headless content delivery provides you with more flexibility. This means you’re able to push the same content to several different devices and control the user experience with just one backend. Understanding the differences between different CMS systems such as headless, decoupled and traditional should help clarify how using headless architecture may be advantageous for your company.
Decoupled vs Headless vs Traditional CMS
Traditional CMS: Both the frontend and backend are completely bound together. Visitors see the frontend with this type of system, and applications are stored in the backend. It includes a database for storing content, backend for creating content and a frontend for displaying content on HTML pages.
Decoupled CMS: Two separate systems manage the frontend and backend. Content is sent through an API after being edited in a CMS and then published to a frontend or delivery management system. It includes a database for content storage, administrative interface where you can manage and create content and a frontend for predetermined content publishing.
Headless CMS: This system doesn’t include any frontend whatsoever. Your content is sent to a web service or API that pushes it to any type of smart device. This process is beneficial as you can use the same content and send it to an app, website or devices connected to the IoT. It includes a content management backend and an API.
Benefits of Utilizing Headless CMS Architecture
Compatibility with several devices and the flexibility offered by headless content delivery are two major benefits. You’re given the ability to spread your content to different devices faster and scale your content without having to worry about upgrading or changing the frontend.
Challenges of Using a Headless CMS
Formatting challenges can occur with headless content delivery as you’re not always able to preview what your information will look like. Another disadvantage of using headless architecture is the elimination of being able to utilize customer interaction data. You will probably not be able to gather the information needed to personalize content for a visitor.
Using headless architecture may be right for you if you want your content to be pushed to several smart devices. The scalability, compatibility and flexibility it delivers may make it easier to provide more content to your customers as well.