Headless CMSs were born out of new demands of the digital era. Specifically, to meet a business’s need to focus on engaging customers with personalised content through multiple channels at all stages of the customer journey.
The introduction of headless CMSs offer benefits and features that make them an appealing choice over traditional CMSs. This article defines the progression from a traditional CMS to a headless CMS and examines 7 of the key benefits for teams when adopting a headless CMS such as Liferay’s digital experience platform (Liferay DXP).
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system, or CMS, is a software platform that is used to manage all aspects of digital content in a firm – its creation, distribution, storage, and modification. CMSs were built to manage the creation and modification of digital content (think of WordPress, one of the most simple examples). They allow organisations to create, manage, and modify this content on a website without requiring highly specialised developer technical skills and knowledge - anyone in a business can use a CMS. A CMS website can be thought of like a database for managing web content in one simple application with publishing tools, search, editorial capabilities, and so on.
What is a Headless Content Management System (Headless CMS)?
A headless CMS is a system with no front-end components, or head, to determine how the content is presented to end users. The content instead can be published anywhere, for many channels through an application programming interface (or API). By removing the presentation layer or the head from the CMS, there are theoretically no restrictions to how and where rich content can be delivered for a great customer experience including on desktops, mobiles, smartwatches, smart fridges, IoT industrial devices, and so on.
There are myriad benefits for pushing content out for different user experiences including the ability to do so in a more timely fashion and the ability to integrate with third-party systems. However, it’s important to maintain a decoupled architecture when using headless CMS technologies.
That’s because headless refers only to the front-end agnostic architecture, meaning that it has no presentation layer. To gain a deeper understanding of the differences between a traditional and headless CMS, refer to this blog post.
What are the Benefits of a Headless CMS?
A headless CMS - also known as a decoupled CMS - has become a popular choice for meeting the needs of marketers looking to deliver omnichannel experiences across multiple customer touch points. Let’s take a look at 7 of the top reasons you should consider a headless CMS for your business.
1. Excellent Omnichannel Experiences
A CMS was originally built with websites in mind and at the time, that was sufficient. However, as technology began to shift from desktop and mobile to different devices, like smartwatches, voice-activated devices, and other forms of IoT, new delivery layers needed to be created, which made content uploads more burdensome for both developers and marketers. Additionally, since a traditional CMS’s purpose was to manage content for websites, and modern customers interact and access information on so many other channels, this traditional system is no longer enough for the modern customer experience. However, headless helps circumvent these problems.
Take Liferay DXP as an example. Since the content management in Liferay DXP is decoupled, business users can manage, upload, and edit content and content pages conveniently with no involvement from developers. This not only gives non-technical users more control over their content, it also accelerates the process for delivery. This division also makes it easier to achieve brand consistency throughout, especially since businesses need to have the ability to push content into many different channels such as mobile apps, digital signage, kiosks, smartwatches, etc. Due to the decoupling of content authoring and content delivery, enterprises have the flexibility to build engaging experiences regardless of presentation layer, which is extremely critical for delivering seamless and consistent customer experiences across all channels, even future ones.
This is extremely beneficial in building omnichannel experiences for your customers. Successful omnichannel marketing can contribute to higher customer satisfaction rates and retention rates, which can help to generate an increase in annual income.
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2. Flexibility in the Type of CMS Solution
Because headless CMSs decouple presentation and content, they provide the best of both a traditional CMS and headless architecture in one platform. Enterprises have the freedom to choose which type of CMS solution best fits their needs: traditional, headless, or hybrid. While a fully headless CMS allows content to be pushed to any presentation layer, it can present challenges to non-technical marketers due to a lack of editing capabilities they may be used to. A hybrid CMS such as Liferay DXP can help alleviate this issue with pre-built front-end tools that use APIs to connect with back-end systems. This gives marketers the convenience and familiarity of editing tools and templates to publish content and campaigns to relevant front-end environments.
3. Developer Support
Liferay’s foundation as a developer platform continues to evolve with the addition of headless APIs for out-of-the-box services. Liferay’s API layer supports the OpenAPI specification, the most popular open source framework for RESTful APIs. Front-end developers can leverage their native tools and frameworks they’re already familiar with to build sites. They also now have unmatched flexibility to integrate Liferay across all systems, which includes pulling data into Liferay or bringing Liferay into an existing ecosystem. Empower your developers to create differentiated customer experiences for every channel with content management APIs, content delivery APIs, content participation APIs, and other REST APIs.
4. Speed and Ease for Developers
The beauty of an open headless CMS from Liferay is the way it saves developers time by minimising hassles that come with proprietary platforms. You can pick your programming language of choice, and being API driven, you can build your presentation layer and front-end with ease. Developers can develop the way they’re used to without having to conform to proprietary platform limitations. Furthermore, a single content item can be reused and combined with several different presentation outputs, allowing for projects to be completed faster. A headless CMS allows easy and secure integrations with any of your existing systems. This includes the use of webhooks. A webhook is user-defined by an HTTP callback (or small code snippets linked to a web application) that trigger action specific events. A prime example of a webhook is triggering an email to your user once they have paid for a subscription on your site.
5. Future Proof Solution at a Lower Cost
With a headless CMS, it’s quicker for your teams to create new websites and new functionality on existing websites and portals. Let’s say you wanted to run a marketing campaign and create a number of microsites featuring new products and services. Your team could go into the headless CMS and start creating the new assets without having to wait for developers to build templates. Upfront costs are lowered because you can start small and create smaller solutions, rather than having to kick off with one large web development project. In the digital world, platforms can become outdated fast, so it’s reassuring to know that a headless CMS - such as Liferay DXP - lets you future-proof your applications by separating your presentation layer from your data and logic layer. That means you can structure and restructure your content at any time, making it easier to rebrand new projects across channels as and when the need arises. With a headless CMS, developers can simply work with other elements of the existing technology stack and use APIs to bring all the elements together.
6. Always Evergreen and Scalable into the Future
Having to upgrade systems and platforms every time a new project starts is a hassle and a cost which most companies want to avoid. A headless CMS frees up your teams to focus on generating value through valuable and engaging content rather than going through the laborious process and cost of continually upgrading systems from scratch. Headless CMSs are more scalable than traditional CMSs - if the back-end platform is experiencing any performance issues or requires maintenance, your team won’t have to contend with any failures, downtime, or performance issues while working on your website environments.
7. Superior Software Architecture
For companies creating web platforms and services, a headless CMS is a good choice for achieving and creating a best practice environment with the highest levels of integrity and security. That’s because a headless CMS allows you to simply produce a better software architecture from the ground up. Websites created this way are usually built in such a manner that the published content and the CMS platform are separated. Depending on the security and permissions settings put in place, this can result in greater protection since internal access to the CMS can be made available only within the company, and content generated outside the organisation could be approved internally or be secured or encrypted as needed.
Get to Know Liferay DXP for Your Content Management Needs
The future of content management is headless and it’s time to embrace these benefits for your own business with Liferay DXP. You can use Liferay DXP to empower your users to not only create customer experiences for different channels more easily, but also connect them together on one platform.
Discover how to:
- Deliver connected experiences that are unique to each customer.
- Support teams and processes across the enterprise to serve customers more efficiently.
- Use a platform that evolves with you as your digital business grows.
Request a demo of Liferay DXP, and discover how Liferay can help meet your content management goals!