Content is the currency of modern enterprise; choosing the right content management system (CMS) can be a game-changer for your business. Traditional CMS is typically a single monolithic solution to creating, managing, and publishing content including the front-end presentation, primarily on a web page. Today’s headless CMS decouple that relationship by not connecting with front-end presentation at all and, instead, focuses solely on the content. This allows organizations to manage content in one place and be able to publish dynamic content on any digital channel, from mobile applications to smartwatches and edge-enabled devices.
While the agility of a headless CMS is beneficial, like omnichannel consistency and flexibility in integrations, choosing the right platform requires a thorough understanding of your unique business needs. It is important to evaluate various aspects of your future headless CMS, such as developer functionality, API use, platform maturity, and potential upfront investments. This article explores five key factors you should consider when making the best headless CMS decision for your organization.
1. Use APIs for Cleaner Data Transfer
In a headless CMS, application programming interfaces, or APIs, play a pivotal role in delivering content from the back end to the front-end. APIs help applications talk to each other to share and extract data within and across organizations. Two popular types of APIs in this context are Representational State Transfer (REST) and GraphQL.
REST APIs have been the standard for years, winning out over SOAP APIs because of their higher compatibility, stateless architectures, and better caching mechanisms. REST APIs are based on HTTP methods and status codes, making them easy to use and understand.
On the other hand, GraphQL, developed by Facebook in 2012, has been gaining popularity. It provides a more efficient and flexible way to query content, allowing developers to request only the data they need and receive it in a single API call. This can significantly reduce the number of API calls and the amount of data transferred, improving performance.
These APIs have their own strengths in both design and performance so your choice of which to use depends on your specific needs and the nature of your project.
2. Scale Your Content Effectively
When evaluating your unique business requirements, take the time to understand your business goals and how a headless CMS can support them. For example, you will want to consider the scale of your operation, how many channels you want to publish to, and the complexity of your content strategy.
- Scale of operations: An enterprise with large-scale, global operations might require a robust CMS capable of handling high traffic and content volume. On the other hand, a smaller organization might prioritize simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
- Number of channels: If your organization is present on multiple digital channels, a headless CMS with strong omnichannel capabilities is essential.
- Content strategy complexity: Organizations with complex content strategies might require advanced features like personalization, analytics, and seamless integration with other software.
3. Speak to Global Customers Using Multilingual Support
Multilingual support plays a vital role in enhancing the user experience. It allows global users to interact with your digital content in their native language, which creates an inclusive and personalized user experience. Notably, studies report that users are more likely to engage with content presented in their native language, resulting in higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
In the context of a headless CMS, multilingual support enables the creation and management of multilingual content across diverse digital platforms. It also facilitates the seamless integration of localization tools and services, which can automatically translate and adapt content for different regional audiences.
Moreover, multilingual support is critical for search engine optimization (SEO). By providing content in multiple languages, your website can rank higher in search engine results for targeted content delivery in various regions, increasing your visibility and reach.
Key features to look for in multilingual support include:
- Language management: Ability to add, remove, and manage different languages.
- Content translation: Tools or integration for translating content.
- Localization: Adapting content to local preferences and cultural norms.
- URL customization: Ability to customize URLs for different languages to enhance SEO.
4. Centralize Management with Multi-Tenant and Multi-Site Support
In a multi-tenant architecture, a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers or 'tenants.' Each tenant's data and configurations are isolated and remain invisible to other tenants. In the context of a headless CMS, this means that multiple websites or applications can be managed under a single CMS instance.
One key benefit is the ease of updates and maintenance. Changes or improvements can be made across all tenants simultaneously, saving time and resources. Moreover, multi-tenancy allows for greater scalability since new tenants can be easily added without the need for new software instances.
For large enterprises with multiple digital properties, multi-site support offers several benefits.
- Centralized management: It enables centralized management of multiple sites, leading to increased efficiency and consistency across platforms.
- Reusability: It allows content to be reused across different sites, saving valuable time and resources.
- Consistency: It ensures consistency in branding and messaging across all digital properties.
- Cross-sites updates: It makes it easier to apply updates or changes across multiple sites simultaneously.
- Fewer CMS instances: It reduces the need for multiple CMS instances, which can lead to cost savings.
5. Provide Content Preview for Content Creators and Editors
Content preview is an editorial feature that provides a significant advantage for content creators and editors who use a headless CMS because it allows them to preview how their content will appear across various platforms and devices before publishing. Previewing content helps ensure consistency, avoid errors, and enhance the overall quality of the content.
Additionally, it enables efficiency throughout the content creation process as changes can be made immediately without the need for multiple iterations.
Key benefits of content preview include:
- Quality assurance: Ensuring content is error-free and formatted correctly across all platforms.
- Consistency: Maintaining a uniform look and feel for consistent content architecture across different channels.
- Efficiency: Reducing the time spent on revisions and corrections post-publication.
Traditional CMS platforms provide content creators with an intuitive interface to create and format content known as a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) editor, which is not available in a headless CMS. Therefore, when evaluating a headless CMS, consider whether it offers a robust content preview feature.
While several headless CMS platforms can provide these capabilities, your consideration of selecting a headless CMS provider should include other factors as well. For example, it can be helpful to be able to use traditional CMS capabilities for the user experience (UX) for non-technical staff. And you want to know there is a track record of success in implementing a headless CMS to fit organizational business targets.
Jahia stands out as a particularly effective choice. Jahia encompasses both the technical capabilities and proven expertise, making it an ideal choice for organizations seeking a comprehensive, efficient, and user-friendly headless CMS solution. Jahia combines the best of both worlds—an impressive user experience (UX) with the flexibility of a headless CMS—making it a strong contender when choosing the most appropriate CMS for your organization.