Headless CMS: Top 5 Alternatives to WordPress

In this day and age, a strong content management system will be the backbone of your operational success. When you’re first establishing a plan for your content management system, the most obvious choice is probably WordPress.

WordPress is popular for a reason – it’s user-friendly, highly effective and, much like Joomla and Drupal, allows you to create and manage digital content without any (or limited) need for a web developer. These are known as traditional CMS’s.

In these systems, you have the ability to create and edit your content and save it to your back-end database. The content is then displayed according to a front-end delivery layer.

But there are alternative CMS options that may be a better choice for your specific needs. Enter Headless CMS.

What is Headless CMS?

A content management system that allows for interaction with its content via an API.

Decoupled CMS: Why it’s Time to Go Headless

If you’re looking for a content management model that will help you handle a massive amount of different (and constantly-evolving) devices and channels, Headless CMS is calling your name.

A headless CMS differs from its traditional counterparts in that it has no default front-end system. This allows your content to be published anywhere and on any framework – in other words, it makes it easy for you to implement omnichannel marketing. It also allows for interaction with its content via an API.

But settling down with the right type of CMS will take time. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Better content management: A headless CMS makes it easier for you to focus on content and workflow and manage exactly how that content can be used.
  • Simplified operations: It’s very easy to create and manage website/web-app content.
  • Flexible editing: Editors, marketing people, and other users can edit content independently of the web application.
  • Adaptable: A headless CMS has the ability to integrate with any website or application.
  • Developer-friendly: Developers can pull and use only the content they need.
  • Flexible access: Developers can access the content through whichever front-end application they are familiar with.

Cons:

  • Learning curve: It could take some time to really get the hang of a headless CMS, especially when it comes to understanding the separation of content and view.
  • Limited functionality: Presentation functionality is limited.
  • Delayed availability of changes: Immediate availability of changes made are not always available, or may be dependent on the developer.
  • Developer-dependent: You’ll need to rely on the developer to pull and use the content to create a visible representation of the data.
  • Potential costs: Depending on the CMS, amount of content, or number of users there may be an additional cost.

What Platform is Right for You?

Once you’ve decided that a headless CMS platform is right for you, how do you go about deciding which one to implement?

Contentful

A content management developer platform with an API at its core.

Benefits:

  • Editors and developers can work simultaneously, cutting down software development and delivery time and allowing your products to get to market faster.
  • UI extensions and a rich text editor.
  • A headless content system can open up new opportunities and abilities for your organization and the way you share your content with the world.

Prismic

An API-based CMS backend for your websites and applications.

Benefits:

  • Editors and content managers can work independently of developers.
  • No infrastructure management required (Prismic has its own content infrastructure on a cloud).

Directus

A database-first platform that provides an instant REST API for custom SQL databases and an intuitive admin app for non-technical users to manage content.

Benefits:

  • Modular and extensible to allow for limitless customization.
  • Easy to manage multilingual content in as many languages as you need.

Cosmic JS

An API-first for building content powered apps in any programming language.

Benefits:

  • Offers both cloud-based and enterprise CMS.
  • Scalable for teams of all sizes.

Cockpit

A self-hosted headless and API-driven CMS.

Benefits:

  • Separates content management from content consumption on the user’s side.
  • Modern and simple user interface.
  • Define your own content model

A headless content system can open up new opportunities and abilities for your organization and the way you share your content with the world.

As stated in a recent Brightspot.com article, “Today’s modern CMS revolution is driving up demand for more flexible, scalable, customizable systems that deliver the experience you want, and your customers expect. Separating your front and back ends, with either a headless or decoupled implementation, enables organizations to increase delivery times while iterating faster.”

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When it comes to writing, Celina is somewhat of a renaissance woman. She’s dabbled in a little b [...]