Do you want to learn more about headless CMS?

The phrase “headless CMS” first gained popularity globally around 2015. A quick look at Google Trends demonstrates how headless CMSs are becoming increasingly significant in the era of omnichannel marketing.

Choose the Right Headless CMS Platform

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Many content management systems in the early days of responsive web design were unable to provide omnichannel content management features, leaving us with a lot of loopholes for publishing content on various channels. In this case, headless CMS emerged.

Traditional CMS Headless CMS
Monolithic Semi-decoupled
Self-host SaaS or Hosted
Websites Web Oriented

Organizations look for ways to become agile and provide pleasant digital experiences to customers. Sooner or later the organizations realize that content management is holding them back. As a result, they choose to switch to headless CMS. If you are one of those who want to shift to headless CMS or want to start a new business with headless CMS, this article is for you to understand all about headless CMS, benefits of headless CMS, difference between traditional CMS vs headless CMS and its platforms. 

Let’s explore what headless CMS is in more detail.

What is a Headless CMS?

Headless CMS is increasing its popularity. It seems like a silly and strange term “headless”, has it got no heads or what?

Let’s understand headless CMS by comparing it to a human body. CMS platforms have a clear structure, much like humans have a head and a body. All of the databases and web content are kept in the CMS’s main body. The presentation layer, or head, is where all the content is shown.

Imagine what would happen if we separated the head from the body. What if the content database and presentation layer were kept separate? Then, how would it be able to show content?

Now, that’s confusing. Let’s define what is a headless CMS?

What is a Headless CMS?

Only a back-end content management system that is disconnected from the front-end is referred to as a “headless” CMS. To put it another way, if you were utilizing a headless CMS, you could produce, manage, and store all of your digital assets in the back end, but you would have no control over how they were shown in the frontend.

This is so because a headless CMS isn’t linked to a specific website as a traditional CMS does. This is why the term headless is appropriate: the frontend is referred to as the “head” and the backend as a “body”. 

How does your content get onto your website if the frontend and the backend are separate? An API (application programming interface) is incorporated by a headless CMS to transmit and distribute your content to many channels. Your intention to publish content on websites, mobile applications, or other digital platforms and devices doesn’t matter. All of these external channels get content from your CMS and deploy it through the APIs.

Hope now you are clear about what does headless CMS means but now the question is how does it work, how is it connected to APIs and what are APIs? And all sorts of questions woolly in our minds.  

What are APIs and how do they work with headless?

An application programming interface is a means of communication between two or more computer programs. 

Software that uses APIs to offer data and functionality is more adaptable, scalable, and integrable, which means it can be beneficial and useful to organizations in a variety of ways.

A Headless CMS is fundamentally a content repository that makes content available to any platform via an API. The idea of separating the “head,” or frontend (website, app, etc.), from the “body,” or backend (content repository, database, etc.), is where the name “headless” originates. A headless CMS merely provides the content via an API rather than delivering compiled HTML. In comparison to traditional CMS approaches, an API-driven approach has many benefits.

Although the concept of a headless content management system has been around for a while, it has only recently emerged as the preferred method of handling content because of the increasing diversity of platforms that require content, the enhanced developer experience, and usually faster app load times. 

The teams can publish content more quickly and iterate on their online presence with better efficiency thanks to the headless approach to content management, which makes content distribution flexible via APIs rather than web page rendering.

An API-First CMS is a Headless CMS. Its foundation is the maintenance of content within a content repository, where APIs (like REST and GraphQL) distribute the content to various frontends according to how they request what content.

With the advent of IoT and smart goods, which have significantly changed how customers interact and engage with brands, an API-First CMS enables brands and businesses to reach out to customers on any platform.

Benefits of Headless CMS

  • Flexibility:

Headless CMS offer the advantages of both a traditional CMS and a headless architecture in a single platform since they decouple presentation and content.

It allows developers complete freedom to work without any development limitations. Additionally, a similar piece of content may be utilized in many channels, which helps in faster completion of projects. Secondly, it is adaptable due to the ease with which third-party tools and other technologies can be integrated.

  • Future Proof:

The presentation and data layers are separated, one can design the content and make it versatile for future requirements. There is no need to make heavy technical modifications at the time of rebranding the channels.

In addition, it integrates well with any framework or technology. Headless CMS would be able to adapt to changes if any were required during development. As a result, it is completely future-proof and is one of the top benefits of headless CMS.

  • Better Security:

Headless CMS platforms allow easy and secure third-party integrations and protect against security risks. Because of the design of a headless CMS, you can’t access the content publishing platform from a CMS database. This means you are less likely to experience a DDoS attack and unable to access systems and network resources.

Since your headless CMS is entirely independent of the actual website that is being displayed, it may securely lock down any administrative or data-holding parts. You can even limit IP access to the CMS.

  • Scalable:

A website’s content management system must keep up with demand as traffic increases and deliver web pages on time. All of this must take place without sacrificing uptime or performance.

Due to its ability to manage massive data and quickly provide web pages, headless CMS is optimized for scaling. This can be beneficial to both website traffic and SEO, which are both crucial marketing KPIs.

  • Omnichannel Architecture:

Omnichannel Architecture

Because marketers must provide memorable content that shines across all touchpoints, omnichannel may be quite a task.

A headless CMS offers the opportunity to orchestrate a seamless experience that extends across all touchpoints while preserving consistency and relevance, instead of controlling each channel independently. The growing number of digital touchpoints and languages marketers must adapt to in such a short amount of time increase these difficulties. A headless CMS eliminates these typical obstacles.

  • Additional Testing Possibilities:

Launching with a flawless digital experience is rare. Your system needs to be changed in some way periodically to improve performance. The more you can test, the more you can raise your site’s conversion rate.

A headless CMS gives your team more chances to test, iterate, and enhance your user experience, whether it be by enhancing the frontend of your website or by using your backend shared content library to fill enhanced customer touchpoints (applications, in-store experiences, etc.).

Difference Between Headless CMS & Traditional CMS

Today, we’ll discuss two high-level CMS variants: the traditional CMS and its modern derivation, the headless CMS.

What you need to know about each is listed below.

Difference Between Headless CMS & Traditional CMS

Traditional CMS:

Traditional content management systems (CMS) are monolithic, with a content database on the backend and a predefined, structured frontend presentation layer. Tools on the backend are inseparable from those on the frontend due to their close connection.

Traditional CMSs are built for content editors and have a page-based design. Without the assistance of development staff, authors and editors may easily create, modify, preview, and publish content using their visual interface, which comes with built-in templates, themes, and other components.

Best examples of traditional CMS are WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, Magento, etc offers easy to use editors and pre-built templates, making it very simple for content editors to design and launch pages.

However, as the number of devices and channels increases, traditional CMSs are losing their usefulness because they cannot enable simple omnichannel content distribution.

When Should One Go for Traditional CMS?

Content managers who don’t require omnichannel content distribution and who simply wish to publish content quickly and easily can use a traditional CMS. It is therefore most suitable for smaller organizations without engineering resources. With a traditional CMS, blogs, personal websites, and even simple company websites can be managed.

6 Reasons That Prove Sitecore Is The Best Headless CMS


Headless CMS:

A headless CMS is a backend content management system that is disconnected from the frontend and is referred to as a “headless” CMS.

The only component of a headless CMS is the backend, which is a structured content repository that centrally maintains content in its raw form. This backend layer can be connected to any “head” or frontend, such as a web browser, mobile app, wearable device, or kiosk, using an application programming interface (API), which integrates content and data across digital services and customer touchpoints. This is what’s known as Content as a Service ( CaaS)

Strapi and Contentful are the two best examples of headless CMS. 

When Should One Go for Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is best for companies who have time, budget, and engineering resources that help them to build and customize their frontend. A headless CMS can help teams deploy content to various devices and channels and provide a highly distinctive customer experience.

Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS

Traditional CMS Headless CMS
Monolithic Decoupled frontend and backend
We need to optimize in order to build a responsive website We can build a website with excellent performance
Backend is connected to the frontend The backend runs independently
Requires basic development skills to set up and maintain Requires highly development skills & resources to set up and maintain
Proprietary Frameworks and templates We can use cutting-edge, best-in-class frameworks as per our requirements
Plugin extension model Serverless function extension model
Less secured Highly secured
Not flexible Flexible

List of Top 4 Traditional and Headless CMS Platforms

Traditional CMS Platforms

  • WordPress:

One of the best Traditional CMS platforms. 41% of websites on the internet use WordPress. It is an open-source CMS platform written in PHP and paired with MySQL or MariaDB databases and supports HTTPS.

  • Joomla:

An open-source website development and traditional content management system platform. It is written in PHP, using object-oriented programming approaches, and stores data in a MySQL database.

  • Drupal:

An open-source traditional CMS platform. It is released under a General Public License and written in the PHP programming language.

  • Magento:

Magento is an emerging open-source eCommerce CMS platform that uses MySQL and Zend PHP databases.  It provides control over the design, content, and functioning of e-commerce stores to store owners.

Headless CMS Platforms:

  • Contentful:

Contentful headless CMS is an API first content management platform that allows users to develop, manage, and publish content on any digital channel.

  • Butter CMS: 

It is an API-first headless CMS. With Butter CMS, you can quickly create apps and websites in any programming language.

  • Strapi:

Strapi is a cutting-edge Node.js based open-source headless CMS. It lets developers build and manage numerous APIs for distributing content. Unlike many other platforms, Strapi offers a developer-first approach, giving a lightweight, highly flexible system for managing content that can be distributed anywhere.

  • Agility CMS:

Agility CMS affirm the most adaptable and fastest headless CMS in the market. This multi-tenant SaaS platform offers an extensible user interface for marketers as well as being simple for developers to customize.

From the above 4 headless CMS platforms, Contentful headless CMS is the market leader with 2k+ customers and 400k engaged users. Their content platform is most recognized and recommended by experts. Leading global companies like ASICS, Headspace, etc rely on Contentful to scale and synchronize their content across all digital channels.

Contentful offers companies ways of enhancing their digital ecosystems and driving digital experiences. 

How Contentful Headless CMS Helped ASICS?

ASICS is a leading manufacturer of athlete sports footwear. Lots of coordination was required for preparing the content for marathon apps. The ASICS team communicated with organizational committees to obtain logistical details. The project team also worked with  other ASICS departments to add practical checklists, nutritional guidance, and fitness ideas to the app.

Contentful Headless CMS Helped ASICS

The AQ team often makes numerous content revisions as marathon day draws near, adding last-minute logistical changes and updating the gear area with event-related merchandise. “Initially, emails and spreadsheets were used to manage this workflow”- says AQ partner Paul Baron, But as the number of apps and supported platforms increased, it became clear that the production flow needed to be modernized.

Paul Baron Managing Partner at AQ says that- “We wanted to switch to a reliable, adaptable platform that would make managing content easier. We discovered that Contentful met all of our requirements and that interacting with the system was incredibly simple. But when our client team at ASICS started using it and quickly picked it up, Contentful actually outperformed our expectations”

How Do I Choose the Right Headless CMS?

  • Know about the headless CMS architecture 
    • Microservice architecture
    • Web first and content-first approach
  • Identify your business’s concerns
  • Determine the requirements of each team member.
    • Technical team
    • Content team
    • Business team
  • Do an in-depth budget analysis
  • List the vendors of headless CMS
  • Examine all available headless CMS options.
  • Determine an appropriate proposal from your headless CMS provider.

Which CMS Platform is Good for Your Business?

It goes without saying that there is no one method that works for content management. Several criteria, including the size and saturation level of your organization and the kinds of experiences you want to provide to your customers, will determine which CMS platform is best for you.

For some organizations, the ability to send content across channels and use information from customer touchpoints throughout the customer journey can be crucial, so here the headless CMS can be the best fit. Speed and efficiency in content delivery via a single channel may be all that’s required for smaller organizations or those who are just starting, for this traditional CMS can be the best fit. 

Choose the Right Headless CMS Platform

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In any event, the CMS is a crucial platform that significantly affects a company’s entire marketing approach. Making the right decision here can streamline your marketing processes, boost revenues, and lower expenses. The appropriate CMS system can help you reach limitless growth by increasing client retention and turning existing customers into brand ambassadors who bring in new customers.


More devices and channels are being used by users than ever before, and organizations must adapt to meet their needs in order to offer top-notch omnichannel experiences. The simplest approach to that is using headless CMS and we hope you have got a clear idea about what headless CMS is. 

However, when content is used on various channels, strategies get more complex, technology advances quickly, and businesses sooner or later see the need for Headless CMS.

A headless CMS, where content interacts with users across numerous platforms, devices, and channels, is unquestionably the CMS of the future.

Your potential customers will surely have the best experience with a Headless CMS. Additionally, it gives your business the flexibility to utilize any technology it chooses.

As well as you need to have the best development team to assist you. Ace Infoway’s team of expert web developers is always ready to assist your customer experience journey. Our expert Web Development Consultants will help you to choose the right CMS for your business.

Team up with us to have the best development team by your side to create amazing UI for an awesome customer experience.

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