The Complete Guide to Headless CMS - Quintype

A Complete Guide to Headless CMS to understand what a headless CMS is, Headless vs Decoupled CMS, benefits and what to look for in a newspaper CMS.
The Complete Guide to Headless CMS - Quintype

Content management is the base stone on which you build your digital publishing empire. It’s the core of your brand. Content is what stands out in the whirlwind of web content.

This is why choosing the right content management system is extremely important. The right platform will help create the right user experience. A content management solution comes in different forms which will be discussed below.

What is CMS?

In digital publishing, a content management system works as the central platform wherein the editorial team comes together to build the final product. A CMS helps create content and then distribute it to different channels. It brings a dashboard of content that the team can filter through to curate the ideal content collection. Content writers/journalists can write directly on the CMS and work around different elements and formats to layer their content in whatever shape or form they like. This can then be approved and edited by editors in the team and then be pushed to publishing with a simple click.

Back when the mainstream World Wide Web, which was around 25 years ago, there wasn't much in the way of content management systems as there wasn’t much content, either!

In the mid-1990s, professionals across industries were finding it difficult to display a normal HTML page properly. Dynamic pages existed solely for the E-commerce platforms. Everybody was trying to get dynamic pages with Perl, Cold Fusion, etc.

By the late 1990s, other languages for the web started coming up, for example the PHP and with this, people started figuring out ways for site owners to be able to edit content on websites. People started writing codes for Content Management Systems (CMSs). This new system allowed users to upload pictures, create stories and make interesting web pages. And here is when the CMS growth set sail.

CMS started to be commercialized. By the year 2000, these were used by bigger magazines and newspapers with a six-digit implementation figure. And with this, the introduction and invention of open source CMSs began - including Mambo, Drupal, and others. These were marginally used until 2004 which marks the prime use of CMS and continuous development for its primary use.

As more open-source platforms got attention, private companies began playing in the space. Adobe and other big shots followed suit and quickly, there were hundreds of CMS platforms to choose from.

A Headless CMS removes the presentation layer from your CMS. Your CMS manages content, and disseminates this content via APIs, allowing you to build multiple consumer channels, including your website. This technique is known as Content as a Service and solves multiple of the problems mentioned above.

What is a Headless CMS?

We mentioned that Bold is a headless CMS. But what does that mean? CMSs come in many hats - traditional, decoupled, headless, and even hybrid.

A headless CMS typically works independent of a front-end. It is a dedicated platform to manage content and distribute it. One can create content and deploy as many fronts as needed and distribute it across them all with ease. A headless CMS doesn’t restrict control on the presentation of the content. With the help of an API, one can publish the content to multiple channels. The front end can be websites, apps, or even voice recognition platforms.

A common CMS would be a traditional one, it works with a front and back end attached. This means that any changes you make will have an overall impact and you will need to carry out bulky updates. Separation of the front-end layer helps integrate with other third-party channels.

The content is now ‘future-proof’ and scalable, painting the overall health of the content for the benefit of the content generator. This is the reason the headless CMS is popular. It’s a central platform where the newsroom can gather and come together with their work and have them distributed with ease.

Headless vs Traditional vs Decoupled CMS

Key elements of a CMS

  1. Administrative portal - The admin portal can be explained as the place where an administrator logs in to manage all the content. Primary functions of the same are to edit, delete, organize content while also managing workflows, user permissions, and other important features around an editorial team.

  2. Delivery of distribution - This is where content is consumed by the audience. For some CMSs, this can be through an integrated theming engine that gives HTML-driven pages. While for others, it is an API delivery of content and data.

Coupled CMS

Most of the systems available today are architected this way, to take a few names - Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and Adobe’s solutions. Some characteristics of coupled CMS are -

  1. Delivery and admin share the same codebase

  2. Delivery is a template-based system

  3. APIs are not notably available. They are added as add-ons

The advantages -

  1. Simple to install - The architecture is simple to install due to its single-server environment.

2.Less infrastructure to manage - Less infrastructure as it doesn’t require anything more than a hosting account.

3. Lots of support available - Has large communities behind the development to provide support.

The disadvantages -

  1. Security - The admin panel is secure as the front-end experience, increasing the risk of malicious players to backdoor entry.

  2. Fewer front-end options - Fewer front-end options available which limit your choice of templates.

  3. Upgrades and updates - Updating risks the front-end experience.

Decoupled CMS

Decoupled CMS separates the administrative experience from the front-end user display.

The advantages would be -

  1. Solves many security concerns - The CMS can be locked in many ways to provide the most security.

  2. Flexibility - Deep library of front-end technology helps you escape the day-to-day monotony of templates.

  3. Scalability - Decoupled systems are scalable from day one, given that the CMS will rarely need to scale—just the user experience.

The disadvantages are,

  1. Development - The CMS is custom-built by heavily modifying integrated systems.

  2. Cost - Costs are higher to develop.

  3. Resources - Requires more effort from an infrastructure perspective.

Headless CMS

Headless CMS has been making waves in space now for a few years. Headless CMS can separate the entire admin experience and the front end, focusing on making content available via an API. This enables developers to create creative front-end experiences.

The advantages of this architecture are,

  1. Clean - You can now determine how you want to use them because of the clear texture.

  2. Content is future proof - Content is neat and portable and hence can be modified easily.

  3. Scalable - No worries about database clustering or replication, load balancing, caching, etc.

  4. Great for multi-site - You can have multiple sites, as the system will handle it from an organizational and load perspective.

  5. Almost no infrastructure maintenance - It is hosted by the provider and does not need access to it.

The disadvantages are,

  1. License fees - You will need to license this technology from the provider, and that will be an ongoing commitment.

  2. Development - Headless systems will require you to develop a front-end experience. This means custom design and custom development.

  3. Control - You have to give the control to the provider. Pick a good provider to not mess up later.

Benefits of Headless CMS

There are many benefits to having a headless CMS. The most important being - flexibility. As the back end is separated from the front, there’s more room to develop your website, without hindering your content platform. Here are some of the top benefits of a headless CMS :

  1. Cost-effective

  2. Easy to customize

  3. Easy to scale and distribute

  4. Multilingual Functionality

  5. Mobile responsive

  6. Omni-channel content distribution

  7. Security

  8. Developer first

  9. User friendly

  10. No code

  11. Data portability

  12. Stable content management

  13. Same content publish across multiple delivery platforms

  14. Content aggregation

A headless CMS helps you manage your content while allowing you the freedom to work around various functions without hindering your flexibility, security, or functionality. It gives publishers the room to carry out multiple functions.

The Complete Guide to Headless CMS - Quintype
Complete Buyers Guide for the best Headless CMS
The Complete Guide to Headless CMS - Quintype
Best CMS for News Website : Bold CMS

What you must look for in a Newspaper CMS

Newspapers have been around a long time. From monthly tabloids to daily papers, the public has started relying on the constant stream of information from the newspapers.

A newspaper carries important information and is a serial publication that contains updates of the current events that hold the general interest. The information is disseminated promptly and maintains a specific frequency.

Newspapers earned their place due to their relevance and due to the opinion bend, they create in the minds of people. All important events in history have been backed up by newspapers, they’ve documented modern history. That is, until the online newspapers.

There are many different CMS platforms out there, so which one do you pick? Here is what you must rummage around during your hunt for a powerful CMS.

A. Simple and friendly interface

You want a CMS that helps you to form and edit content. This often means having a drag-and-drop interface, so that you and your team can add different elements to your pages.

It should be quick and easy for you to form changes to the content on your site after publishing it.

B. Design options

Your CMS software should give you lots of website design templates to decide from. It should also allow you to easily customize those designs to fit your requirements (ideally without having to code). A newspaper CMS should provide your team with a singular user experience.

C. Data portability

A great CMS platform should have tools for you to export your data and move it elsewhere.

For instance, you may plan to choose a special platform or a distinct hosting company. Data portability would make it easier for you to maneuver around with complete freedom without having to compromise on your native data.

D. Integrations and add-ons

Not all websites are identical. This is often why it's not possible for CMS platforms to come with all that may fulfill the requirements for each website.

Extensions and add-ons fix that problem. There are separate integrations that you can easily install on your CMS software to increase its features and add new ones as and when needed. Consider them as helping hands for your CMS platform.

E. Help and support options

Although CMS platforms aim to create a website as straightforward as possible, you may continue to have some questions. Know what help and support is out there if you grind to a halt.

Some CMS providers will have some FAQs and a customer service team that’s painfully slow to reply. Others will have a giant supportive community that will help you any time of the day or night, choose your fighter.

F. Does it suit your budget?

Some CMS platforms are completely free. Others charge a monthly fee. Even with free CMS platforms, you’ll often have to get hold of third-party extensions, designs, and/or web hosting services.

Get the maximum amount concerning the pricing before you decide on your CMS, so you don’t have any nasty surprises.

Publishing content online would mean needing a platform that helps you, as a publisher to carry out the following tasks -

  1. Ease of publishing and speed of publishing

A CMS would help the team to publish stories quicker and with ease. If your CMS is mobile-friendly, then reporters would be able to submit stories from the field, directly onto the CMS. The editorial team could review it and have it published within minutes. This helps with breaking news and live to report.

The CMS would also provide a better editorial workflow wherein the entire team can collaborate their efforts effectively. Admins can set access restrictions for freelancers and team members based on the need and the output could be churned out instantly.

A CMS would allow writers to schedule stories and publish the stories on all the social channels as well, allowing maximum coverage through simple clicks. And to create a news website of your choice, you would need a customizable cms page builder.

2. Content Personalization and Analytics

Creating content can be tricky. With the wider scope that comes with the digital space, it is important to have a CMS that allows you to various elements that would enhance your stories. Having distinct elements, story templates and formats will also help break the monotony of content on your website.

With the right content management system, you should be able to get story analytics on your dashboard. This can help you keep track of your progress and performances of individual stories or authors.

3. Monetization through DFP and subscriptions

Adverts are a good source of income for news and media websites. Therefore, the ease and efficiency of integrating adverts into the content are very crucial.

Manage your ads and subscriptions easily. Provide the right interface and help users subscribe with minimum payment frictions. With the right paywall strategy and tools, you can get better revenues. Streamline your ad management through DFP for all devices.

4. The flexibility of adding numerous 3rd party systems and print systems

Integrations are important for all CMSs. You need a solution that seamlessly integrates with solutions that could help you achieve your content goals. This could enhance workflow and help with video streaming or even monetization.

The right CMS would also allow you to manage both your print and digital publishing through a single instance. This would bring your efforts to a central point, allowing ease of publishing and corrections.

5. Search Engine Optimization

You need to ensure that your content is discoverable. This is where the site visibility comes into play. This depends on the SEO ranking of your site. Different CMSs have different SEO features. You need a CMS that helps you with SEO and gives you the SEO scores appropriately.

Benefits of a mobile-friendly CMS

A mobile app content management system has many benefits, starting with convenience. Some of the key benefits of having a mobile CMS -

  1. It allows flexibility. The editorial team can manage content on the go.

  2. It would widen the scope of content creation and distribution. The productivity would increase.

  3. It would help curate content that works for smart devices like tablets and phones.

  4. Having content management tools on the go would help make quicker updates or corrections.

Is Headless CMS the future?

The rising popularity of the headless is because it enables you to reuse native content and distribute it to different channels. A headless CMS allows distribution to all/most devices which is helpful when you have an audience that is consuming content through all devices. The content is not restricted to just one form of presentation. The headless CMS is a good solution for a seamless digital experience in this fast-paced omnichannel world.

With Alexa becoming a household name, smart TVs, mobiles, laptops, etc. Content consumers are now more connected than ever, and they expect a premium experience and high-quality content across all digital channels.

With headless CMS, you can use and reuse the description and shorts of content write-ups for several interfaces like in a digital magazine, an app, or on your webpage. The traditional CMS has been very page-focused which can be limiting in these times. Nowadays, there’s a need for websites to become interactive.

Curious to learn more about headless cms? Schedule a demo here to get more insight.

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