Is Headless CMS a marketing gimmick?

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Headless CMS marketing gimmick

Content Management Systems (CMSs) have recently gained popularity due to their simplistic content management approach and easy integration through APIs. According to a report, the Headless CMS market was estimated to have reached $328.5 million in 2019 and would supposedly touch $1628.6 million by 2027.

These stats anticipate the global domination of CMS within a couple of years.

Also, because there are so many CMSs in the market, each one has a unique utility and promises to make life easier for different industries. Especially in the case of Headless CMS!

It is a simple content management system that can be customized to meet the needs of a specific industry or organization. However, there are a lot of opinions floating around Headless CMSs – negative AND positive. Organizations are still trying to figure out if it really offers what it claims, or is it just another marketing gimmick to sell CMSs.

So, to form an opinion, first, you need to understand what Headless CMS is. Well, it is a back-end-only content management system that acts as a repository and has multiple APIs to reflect the content on a variety of platforms. It is an omnichannel solution that helps front-end developers to create a customized experience. Moreover, it has improved security features and efficiency compared to other traditional CMS that attracts enterprises to adopt Headless CMS.

However, even after being such a useful platform, people are still skeptical whether they should actually use it to create their own products or if it is just a marketing stunt. The reason is, it is pretty new to the market, and people are not entirely aware of its functionality and outcomes.

Here are certain concerns that lead to this dilemma.

Concerns about Headless CMS

Map out navigation

Modeling navigation for a particular page is the biggest challenge in the Headless CMS because it may lack intuitiveness for end-users to add new items to the navigation menu. Whereas, in traditional CMS, it is easy to customize and link the menu items using a slug, making content easily identifiable.

Lack of presentation layer

Headless CMS only allows the addition and deletion of the content, limiting the content authors to position the data and check how it will look on the front-end. Since the medium is fixed, the ability to resize or customize the content is lost.

Expensive to implement and maintain

There are three types of costs involved to develop a solution using Headless CMS that make the end product quite expensive – developer cost, infrastructure cost to run the website, and a separate cost for using the CMS. It also becomes tedious to maintain the system due to multiple APIs and separately manage the presentation layer for various channels.

Headless CMS may have certain limitations but the advantages overweigh those drawbacks making it a much simpler content management system to work on. To sum up, here are some of the KEY features that are luring tech teams to get started with Headless CMS.

Key Features of Headless CMS

Fast content delivery

Content is seamlessly delivered in Headless CMS because it is created once and can be reformed as and when required. Thus, it is directly and quickly fetched by the APIs once the data is stored.

Flexibility to choose a framework and reasonable control over content management

The ability to push content anywhere and to any device makes Headless CMS a flexible platform. Since the content is not bound by any specific user interface like a website or app, it can be published on all mediums, and the entire content can be managed from one end. It also gives freedom to developers to choose any framework and tools to develop the front end.

Improved scalability & performance

The hosting and deployment platforms are unlimited when it comes to Headless CMS, making the content scalable. Unlike traditional CMSs that can only publish content on a specific forum, Headless CMS has the ability to do it on multiple channels. Apart from that, Headless CMS imparts better performance than the traditional CMS because the backend is completely separated from the front end. So, if there is an issue with the front-end, the backend stays intact, there won’t be any downtime.

Enhanced security

Headless CMS is much more safeguarded against cyberattacks than other CMSs because the content is not rendered from the server-side. It is done from the client-side, thereby making it more secure than the rest of the CMSs.

Easy third-party integrations

The characteristic to easily connect with any front-end technology makes Headless CMS far more advanced technologically than the rest of the CMSs.

Defined data structure

Working with the defined data structure helps the development team to pick up from where they left off.

If you are still in a dilemma, let’s see what some industry experts have to say about Headless CMS being a gimmick.

Headless CMS isn’t a complete gimmick. However, you really do need a stellar frontend developer if you’re going to make it work. Some companies look at the advantage of moving away from WordPress (no plugins) and are eager to go headless for the flexibility. They quickly run into trouble when they see the costs are substantial compared to a simple WordPress set-up, especially if they don’t have the technical expertise on hand to develop their CMS.

That being said, a headless CMS still has its place, particularly in our increasingly security-focused environment. Plugins can present a security risk; a headless CMS does away with them while WordPress relies on plugins. And the wide amount of headless CMSs out there is both a blessing and a curse; you can be paralyzed by choice, but if you find the one that offers features you need, you can leverage those advantages for some potent success.

– Nate Tsang, Founder & CEO @ WallStreetZen

Is Headless CMS a marketing gimmick?

Of course, it’s not. Most companies like Netflix, Amazon, Google, etc., are using headless CMS to power their online presence. A lot of SaaS businesses are using the approach to build blogs and news sites (headless CMS powers recently launched Amazon blog). Also, headless CMS architecture paves the way for faster release cycles and pagination/sorting capabilities that may be hard with a classic one-page website.

– Lynda Fairly, Co-founder, Numlooker,

As technology continues to advance, with the introduction of bots, digital assistants and VR, the traditional CMS used for the last 20 years must also develop. Traditional CMSs were built for websites. They ensured that we had all the content, custom codes, and editing interface in a single location. However, this is no longer enough. Today, content can be displayed on any device using any format. Because of this, we need a new breed of CMS that allows the content to be readily available to any channel. Here’s where headless CMS comes in.

With headless CMS, your presentation layer is much more flexible as it takes away the front-end part and provides its content through API. This makes your content available through any channel and on any device. You can write your websites or mobile applications using any programming language and still use your favorite tools and own development process. It also provides a high level of security and much better scalability.

A headless CMS is easier, faster, and more future-proof. Its adoption continues to rise, especially with more businesses using digital channels to communicate with their customers, since the global pandemic. Platforms that manage online experiences, such as headless CMS, are becoming essential for companies to remain competitive.

– Allan Degnan, Chief Technical Officer,

Concluding opinion

Though many people are still struggling to trust Headless CMS, its reliability can be easily judged by the benefits it has to offer for transformed, omnichannel content availability. It ensures brand consistency and gives freedom to modify the content across all channels without seeking developers’ help. Since the content can be easily scaled using Headless CMS, it gives businesses an opportunity to market themselves quickly and accelerate their growth.

In fact, some investors (reputed VCs) are betting big time on Headless CMS. Recently a platform called Fabric announced that it would be expanding its commerce platform to improve its market size. Big players like Strapi, Contentstack, and Shogun have also recently raised almost $76.5 million dollars.

Salesforce agreed to invest in a Headless CMS company called Mobify funding almost $60 million for the same.

Sitecore is another popular tech giant that invested around $1.2 billion in the initial months of this year.

Looking into the kind of investment these renowned companies are making clearly shows the scope of Headless CMS in the market and the advantage that they will get out of bridging the gap.

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Meenakshi Kalyani

Meenakshi is a writer at OpenXcell. Her writing is a reflection of the deep knowledge that she has of the silicon world. Corroborated by intriguing facts and innovative ideas, her articles present every aspect of constant technological evolution. When she is not penning, you will find her painting, traveling, or introspecting her emotions to craft a piece on @sutured_emotions.


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