Headless CMS.

Headless CMS architecture is the future for websites.

Headless is a new framework for creating websites that has significant business advantages over the more traditional website and CMS set up. With Google putting more value on speed and usability, now is the time to start considering getting ahead of the curve and using a headless CMS for your next project. 

What is a headless CMS?

To explain what headless is, we need to compare it to a traditional CMS. The vast majority of companies, agencies and developers offer the traditional CMS set up. This usually involves WordPress, Umbraco and Drupal or similar. This setup has everything in one box: the database, content and front-end website, all on the same server (the same box). In this approach, you can easily end up with a front-end website, which is what users see, running slowly. Whether that’s because of the CMS, calls to the database, or the fact it hasn’t been updated, whatever the reason is, load speeds are affected. The knock on impact of that is lower conversions (sales and leads) and Google rank.

Headless is sometimes referred to as detached or decoupled CMS (they all mean the same thing). In this approach, the front end website (the head) is detached from the CMS, content and data (the body). In this setup, we have two boxes – one for the front-end website and one for the CMS and content. These two detached boxes sit on separate hosting, load independently and speak to each other through an API. It’s always great to learn about and understand new technology, but what we’re really excited about are the business benefits of headless. 

CMS platforms.

What are the business benefits? Why is headless better?

CMS platforms.

Let’s start with the best one: speed. Headless really frees up the potential of the front-end website. Users will rarely wait for slow-loading websites. The code base and overall file sizes are minimalised here and speed is therefore optimised. It’s often been speculated that speed is a ranking factor, but with the recent announcement from Google of ‘core web vitals’, speed is no longer subjective – it is a definitive benefit. The faster, the better. We have seen clients’ conversion rates double by improving speed alone.

We’ve built a lot of websites in WordPress – it’s been a great CMS for years. However, an area of concern is version and plugin updates. To maintain security, traditional CMS versions need to be updated to patch vulnerabilities. This often leads to problems and bugs that then have to be fixed, which means time and money spent on repairs and not marketing. With headless, there is no maintenance, no core updates and no plugins. Now your marketing budget can be used on services that are going to add value, not on what can prove to be costly repairs.

The traditional CMS is very popular so hackers quite often target websites running particularly old and vulnerable versions. Alternatively, they go after a common admin URL that 99% of people use to gain access to your data. If you’re not careful, you can very easily have a GDPR issue in the form of a data breach, which needs to be reported to the ICO. This can be costly in time and may result in a fine. With a headless CMS, though, there is nothing on the front-end website to hack. Content and data sits within the detached CMS, which only you have access to.

Headless offers the possibility to have all your products or content sat in one central CMS feeding multiple front-end websites. This more complicated approach suits brands that might sell products on multiple websites under different brand names. Alternatively, you might have one content hub feeding separate websites in different languages. Even if you only have one front-end website with a headless CMS, you wouldn’t ever need to migrate data again. Whenever you want to change the front-end site, your content can stay where it is.

We’ve been championing component or block-based websites for a while now, even with a traditional CMS. But with a headless CMS like Storyblok, this type of design and build comes into its own. It’s so easy to create new pages from your component library. You don’t have to duplicate an existing page to add content. You can create your own new pages from the library. Super easy to use and massively flexible.

We are really excited about the benefits of headless CMS websites. If you want to find out more, get in touch and we’ll be happy to explain how headless can benefit your next project and precious business time.

Platforms we work with.