Headless CMS: Key Things You Must Know About its CMS

The popularity of headless content management systems (CMSs) is well-known to almost everyone in the web development space. And the reason is simple – its capabilities and features overpower its monolithic counterparts, making the development process smooth and quick. 

By leveraging the benefits of an efficient headless CMS, you can easily scale your business needs, countering the existing business challenges alongside. And that’s not it – you will also get faster content turnaround time, improved security, and enhanced overall performance.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the global headless CMS software market was valued at $328.5 million in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 impact, this figure is estimated to reach around $1.62 billion by 2027 at a whooping CAGR value of 22.6%.

Well, by now, you might have made up your mind to invest in a headless CMS. But do you know not all headless CMS platforms are the same, nor do they have the same features?

Different types of headless CMS are available in the market with unique benefits and specifications. This blog will help you find and pick the right one that best suits your business needs.

Different Types of Headless CMS

Generally, there are two types of headless CMS available out there – One is open-source, and the other is cloud-based (SaaS) headless CMS.

In an open-source headless CMS, developers can easily access the source code if there is a need or they want to. Some common examples of this CMS are headless WordPress, Netlify CMS, etc.

On the other hand, a cloud-based SaaS headless CMS solution will be either hosted on-site or in the cloud itself. These types of headless CMSs include Contentstack, contentful, etc.

What Should You Look for When Choosing a Headless CMS?

We understand that choosing a headless CMS is not an easy option when all of them have some unique features. However, here are a few things that you can consider while picking a headless CMS solution for your business:

Identify the Purpose of Your Website

Firstly, you need to figure out whether you need a website for the long-term or the short-term. If it’s for the long-term, you need a headless CMS that is flexible and scalable enough to align with your future needs.

Determine Your Performance Expectations

Do you want to develop an online store with an integration-heavy digital experience? If that’s so, you might need a headless CMS that is highly responsive, quick and has suitable hosting.

Consider Convenience for Everyone

Do you want your development team to spend hours updating and modifying content that even a non-technical person can do? If not, then make sure your headless CMS is easy to use and convenient even for the non-technical members of your team.

Consult with Your In-house Team

Ensure that your in-house team is proficient enough to work with the headless CMS you pick before making a decision. Also, make sure it meets the needs of your developers and has all the essential features that streamline their tasks instead of spoiling them. Remember, the headless CMS you choose must empower the development team, not frustrate them.

Figure Out Whether You Need Omnichannel Support

If you want to offer a seamless digital experience to your users across different devices and channels, you can consider omnichannel as a part of your system. In that case, pick a headless CMS that supports an omnichannel approach.

Understand Your Expected Turnaround Time

The turnaround time varies from business needs to business needs. Generally, a complex website with a plethora of functionalities takes a little longer to go live compared to the basic ones. For instance, in an eCommerce project, you might need to focus on specific content strategy, diversity & growth, attractive UI, and users’ security.

Consider Your Budget

Finally, it is crucial to take your budget into consideration before making any choice. Enlist all the features you want in your website and evaluate the potential cost of the CMSs offering those features. Despite the package and integration cost, don’t miss out on the maintenance, repair, and upgrade expenses keeping the future needs in mind.

Key Takeaways: Technical And Business Benefits

Now that you have an idea about what things you must consider before choosing an efficient headless CMS, let’s focus on the top technical and business benefits you can avail of with the right one:

Technical Benefits

  • High speed and optimized performance
  • Design interactive front-ends with your choice of frameworks (Angular, Vue, React, etc.)
  • Complete all your projects within the deadlines across multiple channels
  • Easily design and develop your content and application structure
  • No need to hire hard-to-find and expensive CMS experts

Business Benefits

  • Expansion into dynamic markets with advanced digital products
  • Minimize the cost related to the tech stack, such as maintenance and infrastructure costs
  • Enhance SEO and content discoverability
  • Organize content distribution through a single content hub
  • No cumbersome editing experience contrary to conventional CMS

Core Headless CMS Considerations Checklist

Besides the basic things-to-consider list, there are a few specific considerations that you must check in a headless content management system before picking one. Here are they:

  • API Designs And Content Architecture
  • Your CMS must have a GraphQL API
  • The CMS should have a feature that offers you the flexibility of staging your content and schema.
  • The API design must include functions such as filtering, ordering, and pagination.
  • The API in your headless CMS must be capable of writing content-related information into the content database along with delivering it.
  • Your headless CMS is not ideal if there is no ease of setup, and it’s taking a lot of time to build the content structure and get API responses.
  • Content Delivery Efficiency
  • An ideal headless CMS and its content APIs must have middle-layer caching that performs across the global content delivery network (CDN).
  • Your content must be available and cached across multiple data centers near your targeted markets.
  • The API shouldn’t under or over fetch content above what it should.
  • Custom Editorial Features

Your headless CMS must:

  • Be convenient for content creators and editors
  • Be easy to set up and have well-optimized SEO
  • Have storage of assets
  • Include manual image operations, such as rotation and picture resizing
  • Be able to develop flexible content models for posts, editorials, and other marketing requirements
  • Have custom workflows and roles
  • Contain a rich text editor to create and edit the content
  • Privacy, Security, And Compliance
  • Privacy, Security, And Compliance

In terms of privacy and security, your CMS must:

  • Have a robust infrastructure
  • Provide an option for custom roles and permissions
  • Offer auto-scaling features
  • Be compliant with EU-US and GDPR privacy shield
  • Have 27001 certified third-party providers and data centers
  • Include API-related security policies and IP firewalls along with custom origin policies
  • Encrypt data
  • Have the feature of Single Sign-On (SSO)

Wrapping Up

Switching to a headless solution becomes extremely challenging when coming from a conventional web CMS background. But, you have to admit this, there would certainly be some reasons (and probably the good ones) why headless CMS has taken the web development space by storm! The future-ready tech stack, highly flexible architecture, and feature-rich make it a golden egg for your digital landscape.

But as they say, “Only a discerning eye can value the finer things.” You need to identify the crucial factors based on which you can choose a suitable headless CMS solution for web development. 

This blog has covered almost all the essentials needed to find and pick the right headless CMS for your project. However, if you still have some doubts, it’s better to consult with a professional web development company like Exemplifi before choosing one. Their experts won’t only suggest the best headless CMS as per your requirements but can also recommend you best practices for your next web development project.

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