The rise of the headless CMS

By Ross Wilson | 15 May 2019

For years now, companies have been managing the content on their website through traditional Content Management System (CMS) platforms such as Umbraco, Drupel, and WordPress. But in the age of multichannel content streams, it’s going to be the headless CMS that takes the lead in providing content.

For those who don’t know what a headless CMS is, it provides all the key features of a more traditional CMS but with some key differences. Whereas a traditional CMS has a template linked to the content that’s being edited, headless removes this template from the CMS completely. This means that the content served from the CMS has no look or feel.

Now, this may seem like a disadvantage, and to some projects and use cases it is, since it adds a layer of complexity to the solution that may not be necessary, but the power of the headless CMS comes when a business wants to expand its digital presence and spread its content over multiple platforms.

Take, for example, a brand that wants to release a native mobile application for its users. It may already have a good website full of rich content, which it now wants to provide to the app from day one. But how would this be possible given the existing traditional set up? It’d be very difficult to do, maybe even impossible. The brand would then have to create a separate way of populating content on its app that’s separate to its main site. This is far from ideal as the team would have to duplicate content manually across two platforms – however, this bother is eradicated when using a headless CMS.

Since all the data created and maintained sits in a separate place to the front-end of the website, it allows a mobile app to easily communicate with the CMS, allowing two different code bases to display the same content in their own way. This also allows flexibility when it comes to any other content stream that the business may want to develop in the future.

Headless CMS’s are a great way to futureproof the content being created for a website, and with the speed at which new platforms, technologies, and trends operate, it’s something to think about when considering how your website will evolve over time.