Why should you move to a headless CMS?

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    Every brand and marketer wants to be omnichannel (and omnipresent) as much as possible - bringing a new, refreshing, and personalized content and customer experience to engage with a wider range of audiences, devices, and channels. With a growing need to create unique omnichannel experiences across various touchpoints and spaces, the growing headless space lends to content management systems (CMS) that can help brands to create, manage and engage their content accordingly. For marketers, this is a prime opportunity to deliver campaigns, messaging, content, and assets, with high-performing marketing teams being 34.4 times more likely to create personalized omnichannel experiences for their customers. Yet, many brands are still stuck using traditional CMS that are not built for such digital experiences. 

    But you might be asking, what exactly is a headless CMS, and what’s the difference between a Headless vs. Traditional system? Does one size fit all? In this article, we will explore why you should consider moving to a headless content management system, as well as the benefits that come along to seize and reap the rewards for a best-of-breed solution.

    What is a headless CMS? Headless vs. traditional systems? 

    When we look at a traditional CMS (such as Adobe Experience Manager, WordPress, or Sitecore), it is based on a monolithic architecture. This means the front-end and back-end are handled and tied together. Users can create and edit their content that is saved on the back-end, and the CMS then displays the content to the front-end delivery layer. In the long run, this can become complicated amongst marketers looking for the flexibility in offering a cost-effective and customizable experience to customers, publishing content to market quickly, as well as the overall page performance and security issues that could take place due to interconnected traffic between the two ends. 

    A monolithic traditional CMS

    A monolithic traditional system

    A headless CMS, on the other hand, has no default front-end, leaving it to be customizable for content creators to determine how they want to present their content to their audiences. In other words, imagine a traditional CMS is a body, where the “head” would be the front-end layer (meaning the template and framework), thus a headless CMS. By eliminating the front-end delivery layer, the CMS becomes a content data hub where your content can sit happily waiting to be published. Front-end developers can then create as many “heads” or custom integrations for your content to as many channels and devices as possible, creating an omnichannel experience on websites, mobile apps, smartwatches, VR/AR, or in-store billboards. Those pieces of content are then postable, the headless CMS moving content through an API to deliver. This is all supported by an architecture called JAMstack. To read the full explanation of a Headless CMS, please read our article on Headless CMS Explained in 5 minutes.

    Hint:

    APIs, or Application Programming Interface, is a set of mini programming modules that are coded to do a specific task. For example, APIs in a headless CMS helps manage the front-end presentation layer

    A headless CMS

    A headless system

    So what does this mean for marketers? Gone are the days of waiting to launch a new site, campaign, or digital experience - with a headless CMS, this takes mere months to just weeks. With an expectation and need towards omnichannel publishing - a shift into all things IoT, marketers must stay up to date with the latest technologies and systems that put them center-stage to power their content anytime, anywhere. 

    Headless CMS & the JAMstack

    Hint:

    What is exactly JAMstack? It stands for J for Javascript, A for APIs, and M for Markup. According to JAMstack’s definition, “Jamstack is an architecture designed to make the web faster, more secure, and easier to scale. It builds on many of the tools and workflows which developers love, and which bring maximum productivity. The core principles of pre-rendering, and decoupling, enable sites and applications to be delivered with greater confidence and resilience than ever before.”

    As a marketer, this points to the way a website is built that is static rather than dynamic. This provides key benefits to your site including speed, security, stability, security, and ease of scalability. This means that not only will content easily load (speed), but also in terms of SEO performance, user and design experience, a better understanding of your site structure, cost, and a reduced risk of cyberattacks. 

    A visual representation of how a JAMstack architecture works in processing your content workflow

    A website that runs on JAMstack is made up of an unlimited ecosystem of Javascript frameworks, API, and templated markup tools and services in the background, while the actual site that you see is on the front-end in HTML. Here are some benefits of using JAMstack in a headless CMS for both developers and marketers: 

    Not only that, JAMstack sites work on any device or platform, for both web and mobile users, pushing towards omnichannel publishing.

    Why marketers should move to a headless CMS

    The whole headless space commonly had the connotation that it was too technical, too geared towards developers rather than marketers. Typically, a headless CMS is a system most loved by developers for its openness and flexibility of use. Yet, many “typical” headless CMS that you find don’t offer visual tools that marketers and editors are used to and can benefit from. Therefore, marketers and editors thus have a hard time working with those systems. 


    By creating and providing easy-to-use tools to non-technical people such as editors and marketers, a headless CMS can become an open option for everyone to use for every team. This is one of the reasons why Storyblok was created in the first place - to make the lives of everyone, from marketer, editor, and developer easier. To create a CMS world that is geared towards moving to an all-teams-on-deck user experience with the right tools for developers, as well as marketers and editors.

    An illustration of mission control and a rocket ready to launch

    When it comes to researching your next headless CMS, there are various headless options out there to choose from - yet, not all are created equally. Make sure to conduct your research into finding one that matches your company’s needs and requirements, as well as making sure your brand and team alike are ready to make the move from a monolithic/traditional CMS to a headless one. 

    As marketers considering entering the new age of omnichannel content marketing and looking to improve the overall digital experience of your content distribution, frontend presentation, and scalability for the long-term, here are some benefits to consider as to why you should move to a headless CMS: 

    Cost-Effectiveness

    Get more out of your content - with API-based headless CMS systems like Storyblok, there’s no need to worry about storage costs or costly backend operations. As everything is in one place, and accessible to your team from anywhere, equals a more economic solution, with a better ROI to get your content and campaigns out there. Additionally, when it comes to hosting your site with JAMstack, a lower cost of hosting equals better uptime. Hosting static files rather than dynamic, means you don’t have to pay for expensive web servers or databases. All you need is a CDN (content delivery network). This saves your stakeholders and customers' wallet rather than spending on servers and power. 

    In the long term, such a low cost of maintenance is beneficial to both developers and marketers, combined with the simplicity of using a headless CMS. 

    Omnichannel

    The flexibility of this one-click omnichannel solution allows your marketing team and non-technical persons to focus on the content, rather than fuss about how to deliver the content. Going headless saves hours of having to previously copy and paste content per page, device or location, while aiding in the overall consistency in your team’s content distribution. With everything saved in a central location, this saves the average person 20% each day looking for lost files and assets. 

    According to a McKinsey research, brands can create an omnichannel customer journey experience seeing increases in revenue by 5 to 15% throughout their customer base. Yet, omnichannel for brands and businesses do not merely constitute being able to post and be present on various platforms and channels but to consistently story-tell seamlessly across such devices and channels, cultivating a digital experience. The ability to manage multiple content silos is key to establish the intersection between brand and customer, through omnichannel and a level of personalization. 

    With 92% of marketers reporting that content is a crucial marketing and business asset, 50% of B2B marketers working towards content geared towards top-of-funnel customers, which means an omnichannel presence is paramount. A headless CMS can thus aid in providing a solid content management hub, governance, and transparency while giving the freedom consequently to marketing teams to orchestrate content strategies. 

    Learn:

    Have you read our article on Omnichannel Marketing in 7 minutes?

    A system that works with you

    Developers can choose any technologies that they are already familiar with, without the need to learn and onboard new technologies. Why? Headless systems are highly flexible and adaptable. This means that developers can focus on their work, without the fuss of handling bugs in an already existing tech-stack. Marketers can additionally also connect with any third-party software or automation tools such as CRMs, conversion optimization, or localization technologies for an international reach. With a headless CMS, developers and marketers have the choice of best-of-breed technologies at the touch of a button. 


    Marketers can additionally also gain a better understanding of their site structure, in that throughout the process, a headless CMS allows you to fully emerge in the building, creation, managing, and publishing of your content. This gives you the power to make decisions on how you want to structure and architect your site and content accordingly. Better yet, immersing marketers into the building process leads to better understanding, collaboration, and cross-team communication between marketers, content creators, and developers to iterate and build together. 

    Go To Market

    As headless systems are rooted in a cloud-based architecture/framework, this reduces delays and allows your marketers to launch new digital experiences faster, focusing on the task at hand rather than worrying about hiccups and delays along the way. 

    On top of that, headless CMS’ are unsinkable. Meaning that it is highly unlikely for them to ever go down. As a marketer, you don’t have to worry when you publish new content that something might go wrong. Your site stays online, unchanged, untouched, until your next deployment or publishing - this means you can focus on the quality of your content to scale with ease when the time is right. 

    Learn:

    Check out how Education First decreased development time for new multilingual and global websites from months to just mere weeks using a headless CMS (Storyblok)!

    Technical Scalability

    Create, manage, or reuse content and campaign pages at the touch of your fingertips. A headless CMS is optimized for speed, scalability by default, giving marketers the ease to increase engagement and interact independently. 

    For developers, there is zero maintenance with a headless CMS like Storyblok. Zero CMS maintenance indicates that a headless CMS like Storyblok runs fully in the cloud as a web application - meaning you won’t need to ever update anything as compared to update cycles you need to conduct with traditional CMS’. On top of that, scalability through serverless hosting and CDN means your developers won’t ever have to deal with performance or hosting issues. For example, if your site might receive too much traffic, your host (such as Netlify or Vercel) will automatically deal with this by default and manage accordingly (note that this might be different if you host your CDN/serverless hosting with AWS, Azure or others). 

    Security & Safety

    Headless is considered one of the safest content management systems to operate. This is because there is no physical web server delivering your static content and files, hackers then don’t have a ‘door’ to enter. On top of that, most CDNs that headless CMS’ use have their own app firewall, adding an extra cover of protection. 

    Luckily with Storyblok, you can do all those benefits mentioned. 

    How can Storyblok solve your CMS problems?

    Storyblok is a one-of-a-kind headless system that allows you the flexibility and freedom to manage and distribute your content all in one place. It is more than just a modern headless CMS made for content management, but with capabilities that extend towards omnichannel marketing efforts and towards a top-of-the-line system that allows the flexibility of use between developers and marketers, to construct and run a solid content production ecosystem in building and delivering the best possible content and digital experience. 

    Storyblok takes this to the next level by offering users digital content authoring tools, simplified asset search, SEO metadata management, visual editing tools, as well as the ability to transform, cache, and optimize every image into a CDN, enabling rocket-speed content delivery of websites and apps, custom content types templates (bloks), activity log and content workflows. 

    Learn:

    Find out more about our features here

    Whatever you are looking for, Storyblok is compatible in building and delivering your next content experience on any platform: 

    • Omnichannel experiences: Beat your competitors to new channels and devices as consumer behavior changes, shifting from device to device, channel to channel. Considering the fact that every second, 127 new devices connect to the internet, shows the influx and growth in IoT devices. With Storyblok, marketers can distribute content easily past the norm of landing pages and mobile apps, to a new kind of consumer experience and touchpoints

    • eCommerce: With the new era of eCommerce, Storyblok helps you drive sales and enrich your eCommerce experience with top-of-the-line eCommerce solutions and integrations, for better performance and omnichannel publishing 

    • Website CMS: From static landing pages, corporate websites, eCommerce storefronts, and more manage your content easily while building high-performing digital experiences for your audience and customers

    • Mobile Apps:

      In 2020, more than 50% of all website traffic originated from a mobile device. Now more than ever is the time to catch up, take control of your content, wherever it goes, and deliver personalized content to your audience

    • SEO & Performance: Storyblok is optimized for speed by default. With developers able to focus on their work using knowledge of existing tech stacks rather than learning new ones to fit with Storyblok’s flexible system, this makes it easier to optimize pages for Google in terms of page speed, SEO, and caching. On top of that, with Storyblok’s API-first approach, you can reach higher on Google Search Results with our metadata plugin, making it easier to customize your assets and pages to stand out from the crowd. 

    • IoT Campaign: With a centralized CMS, deliver personalized content to smartwatches, AR/VR headsets, and beyond

    • Localization Strategy: Want to expand internationally? Storyblok helps you define your content localization strategy with our very own localization app, our language-compatible interface (supporting your international team), as well as third-party integrations. 

    Key Takeaways

    Curious to learn more? Check out some of our Storyblok-made case studies like Education First, Happy Socks, and UPC Business.


    We encourage you to go forth, decouple and move to a headless CMS! Storyblok offers a completely free trial experience where you can see how things work for yourself. If you would like to see more information on how Storyblok is for marketers, check this out. Additionally, our specialists are always available for further advice on headless systems.

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