Heading for headless?

Posted: 13/02/2023

Author: Mike

We have always kept our ear to the ground when it comes to the incredible march of technology, but over the past year or so an over-hyped buzzword keeps cropping up – headless CMS.

Whilst we recognise that nobody likes being tech-splained to, we thought it was important to unmask the technology and offer some guidance on whether it is a viable option for you and your next project.

What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a content management system (i.e. CMS) that doesn’t have an associated front-end (i.e. head). It is a technology that allows you to manage data in a standardised CMS format but has no website or application to natively display that data to an end user. The data in a headless CMS can then be applied across multiple platforms meaning one single CMS could power the content for your websites, mobile apps, social media channels and other third-party systems.

What are your choices?

So, you think you need a headless CMS solution, so what’s next? It’s crucial at this stage you have an in-depth understanding of your intended data structure/technical requirements so that you can choose the right CMS and endpoint solutions.

There are many options of headless CMS solutions of which most come with a tiered pricing structure and an accompanying structure of functionality, services and hosting benefits.

Your potential types of endpoints (e.g. websites, apps , social channels etc) may influence your choice in headless CMS, however most of them will have the same data output and can be widely used with any of the headless CMS solutions out there. 

The most common endpoint and usually first to be built is a website and if you’re going headless then a robust and high performing frontend solution is what you should be looking for. For peace of mind and development accessibility, we would recommend that it be built with frameworks based in either React, Vue JS or Angular JS.

Should you go headless?

At Fishtank, we develop websites with both traditional and headless CMS solutions, but we would never make a recommendation on either until we fully understand your business and technical requirements. 

For our development team, it’s always been about “the right tool for the job” and by listening to your needs and combining that with our experience means whether it’s headless or not, your chosen platform delivers exactly what you need every time.

That being said, if you want to gauge whether you really need a headless solution, ask yourself what your business needs now and what is on your digital roadmap. 

If all you’re looking for is a digital platform for the here and now, without the intention of expanding much beyond its content and/or functionality requirements- then a traditional CMS offers a very practical and solid investment.

But if you believe your business has the digital capacity to grow into something bigger and more complex further down the line, then a headless CMS might be worth looking into.

Choosing the right CMS solution and a front-end platform most suited to you and your business’ needs is something we advise on day in day out. Our developers are masters in their craft (yes, indeed, coding is a craft) and they always have a tip or two up their sleeve to help provide a bespoke solution based on your requirements.

If you’re still not sure on what content management system option is right for you, get in touch and let’s talk. We’d be happy to discuss whether you should lose your head to headless, or keep your cool (head) and stick to a traditional format.

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