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What is a composable CMS, and why do you need one

Marketing
Olena Teselko

Based on the most recent research on content management usage, respondents identified security issues, a lack of features, and difficulties integrating new technology as the primary three pain points in their previous CMSs that made them switch to a new one. 

Interestingly, all of these concerns can be eliminated by leveraging a composable CMS, a novel approach to content management systems that is becoming a cornerstone in the industry. 

Understanding Composable CMS

Content management systems were historically monolithic — large, single-platform solutions where all components were tightly-knit together. While functional, they often lacked the flexibility and scalability needed in the dynamic digital world. Composable CMS has emerged as the antithesis of these traditional systems, offering a modular, flexible, composable architecture over the rigid, all-in-one solutions of the past.

At its core, composable CMS is about breaking down the CMS into its fundamental components — each serving a specific function and capable of working independently or in tandem with others. This modularity is the key to its flexibility, scalability, and customization capabilities, enabling businesses to adapt their digital content strategies quickly and efficiently.

composable system explained

Let's dive deeper into composability to understand why this approach is getting more and more popular. 

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For a deeper dive into Composable CMS infrastructure and architecture, check out our resources on Composable Infrastructure and Composable Architecture.

The building blocks of composable CMS

So, now you know that a composable system is something similar to a Lego constructor. But what exactly is it made from, and how do you connect all the dots? 

Content modeling

The heart of composable CMS is a sophisticated content modeling system that structures content into reusable components. 

With content modeling, you break information into smaller parts: types and attributes. Types can include landing pages, blog posts, galleries, etc. 

Attributes, at the same time, are even smaller parts, such as text fields, images, contact forms, FAG blocks, etc. 

content modeling explained

In a nutshell, content modeling makes it easier for content creators to assemble and reassemble content blocks to suit various contexts and channels.

Modular architecture

On the technical side, a composable content management system sets itself apart from monolithic solutions with its modular architecture.

Each module, whether for SEO, analytics, or content delivery, serves a distinct purpose but can be seamlessly integrated with other modules to create a cohesive system.

This modular approach allows businesses to build custom solutions tailored to their specific needs. No more need to pay for features that come in "bundle" and you never use. Instead, you can choose best-of-breed solutions for every feature you need. 

APIs and integrations

Using extensive APIs and integration capabilities is how you actually achieve modularity and composability. APIs bridge your content management system and all the integrations you want to implement. 

Most modern CMSs offer a variety of ready-made integrations with the most popular tools and 3rd party services, be it eCommerce, marketing, or analytics. However, you can always extend the functionality by creating custom integrations or connecting new tools via API. 

This approach allows brands to leverage their existing technology investments, add new functionalities, and continuously improve content workflows.

Customization and scalability

Meanwhile, the ecosystem you build with the composable approach is flexible. Unlike monolithic traditional CMS, where customization can be bulky and scaling often means a complete system overhaul, composable CMS is built for growth. So, if you need to update, change, or remove one module, you can do so without affecting the entire system.

In other words, composable architecture allows for easy customization and scaling, accommodating business growth and increasing the complexity of digital content without significant disruptions.

Benefits of adopting a composable CMS

Moving away from monolithic architecture and switching to a headless CMS platform offering composability will open the following benefits: 

1. Flexibility in content creation and management

Composable CMS eliminates the limitations of rigid templates and predefined content structures. Instead, it gives content creators the freedom to experiment and innovate. This flexibility ensures that the content can be tailored to fit the audience's needs and preferences, enhancing engagement and user experience.

2. Enhanced developer and editor experience

The separation of the presentation layer and back end benefits both content editors and developers. Developers can focus on building and optimizing modular functionalities without getting distracted by content management tasks. Simultaneously, editors enjoy intuitive interfaces and streamlined workflows, making content management more efficient and less prone to errors.

3. Faster time to market

Composable CMS offers faster content updates and deployments by decoupling content management from content delivery. This agility is key in competitive markets, where the ability to test and launch new content quickly can set a business apart.

4. Future-proofing your digital strategy

The digital ecosystem constantly changes, with new technologies and consumer behaviors emerging regularly. Composable CMS equips businesses with the agility to adapt to these changes, ensuring their digital strategies remain relevant and effective over time.

Key considerations when choosing a composable CMS

So, how would you choose a CMS that hits all the marks? Be sure to pay attention to the following aspects:

Evaluate scalability and flexibility

It's crucial to select a composable CMS platform that can grow with your business and adapt to changing requirements without sacrificing performance or stability. Check out if the vendor offers hassle-free scaling when you increase traffic, amount of data, or functionality.  

Assess integration capabilities

The value of a composable CMS is significantly enhanced by its ability to integrate seamlessly with your existing technology stack. Opt for a platform that supports a wide range of APIs and is compatible with popular third-party tools and services.

Understand developer support and community

A strong developer community and accessible support resources can greatly ease the adoption and ongoing use of composable CMS. Look for platforms that offer comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and forums to engage with other users and experts.

Conclusion

Composable CMS provides unparalleled flexibility and scalability for businesses' content management needs. Embracing this system can streamline operations and strengthen digital strategies for long-term success. To fully unleash its potential and enhance customer experience, businesses should invest in a modular, flexible digital infrastructure and explore top platforms to drive innovation.