What is a Headless CMS?

What is a Headless CMS?

Posted on July 03, 2019 0 Comments
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A headless CMS decouples content management from the frontend architecture typically required when building websites as a CMS. Instead, it focuses on the backend only, using RESTful APIs to facilitate display on any device.

Storing Content and Retrieving Content Through APIs

Companies that produce content know that the result of their hard work is no longer viewed on computer desktop screens alone. So having the ability to display content everywhere, in every kind of medium—think smartphones, tablets, watches, kiosks and various connected devices—is critical. Many think that the right way to do that is to use a Headless CMS that stores content and retrieves it via APIs. In this arrangement, there are various frontends that can be attached to your CMS. It works this way: Every frontend application consumes the data regardless of the technology stack, so your content is decoupled from any platform. The headless (or decoupled) CMS serves as a centralized place where you store your content.

The key here is that a headless CMS requires a robust API. Without it, you limit the channels to which you can push content. Also, your content needs to be stored in a format that allows for reuse in various display formats. There are a few key ingredients in a headless CMS, including:

  • API First: With its decoupled architecture and robust APIs, a good example of an API-first CMS is Progress Sitefinity, which can deliver content to any device. In Sitefinity, all content types are automatically exposed through OData services and with the help of an SDK, so your time to market is significantly reduced. Unlike other solutions, developers still have flexibility and full control over the data.
  • Content-as-a-Service (CaaS): Also known as headless in the cloud, CaaS should be simple with a headless CMS deployment. Look for fully supported Azure and Amazon cloud options, which make adoption of a headless strategy using public or private cloud simple.
  • Content Creation: A headless CMS should provide familiar, user-friendly content creation and management capabilities that organizations across the globe already use. Look for a high-quality user experience so your content creators now can produce for multiple channels simultaneously, without additional work.
  • Improved Customer Journey: The top challenge organizations face with headless implementation is the ability to track and optimize across customer touchpoints. Look for a solution that can track, analyze and receive cognitive-based recommendations to improve the customer journey on every device.

How Progress Helps

Sitefinity CMS works as a Headless CMS to help reduce costs and speed time-to-market. For example, developers are usually adept at using specific technologies, like a JavaScript frontend framework, Android or iOS. With Sitefinity, developers don’t have to spend time learning the innards of the CMS to build needed functionality.

As a headless CMS, Sitefinity has a number of key advantages, including:

  • Empowering marketing: Sitefinity reduces marketing’s reliance on IT for day-to-day changes by 80% while increasing their productivity managing digital experiences by three times.
  • Reducing operational costs: Sitefinity saves time and resources by utilizing a secure, stable platform for development that can build on your existing technology.
  • Easing multi-management: Sitefinity enables you to reach your audience through the medium of their choice, with consistent, compelling experiences across multiple sites, channels, and devices in preferred languages.
  • Increasing conversions: Sitefinity supports marketing programs, increases conversions and generates more leads with form templates that capture contact profiles from landing pages and downloads.
  • Leveraging flexible execution: Sitefinity empowers those closest to the customer to deliver the experiences expected while providing appropriate oversight.
  • Getting to market faster: Sitefinity helps you outpace the competition and do more with less with a high-productivity approach enables organizations to deliver campaigns and experiences up to 60% faster.

Sitefinity was developed with headless practices from its inception and has long been recognized for its flexibility and for its capability to integrate with multiple technologies. Leading analyst Forrester Research wrote, in “The Rise of the Headless CMS (2016), “this product has a cloud-first approach with a clean API approach and a new architecture that supports both traditional web CMS and third-party needs.”

You can learn how a headless CMS can benefit you with a free 30-day trial of Sitefinity today.

Try Sitefinity Today

Further Reading: Curious to hear how it works in action? See how Lakeland Health manages 30+ Microsites with a headless CMS.

Alexander Shumarski

Alexander Shumarski

Alexander Shumarski is a Sitefinity Product Marketing Manager at Progress. He has spent the past 10+ years managing large-scale website initiatives and has deep-dived into online media and e-commerce industries. An adventurer at heart and a power CMS user, he has embarked on a journey to empower marketers to tell compelling stories without reliance on IT.


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