A headless CMS is a content management system that only has a back-end, this means you can edit things on the page, but you cannot edit the overall page layout. They are built from the ground up and connected to websites to manage the addition of new information or allowing for existing information to be updated.
The term "headless" was coined when the frontend (the head) was separated from the backend (the body) of the website. Essentially a headless CMS serves one function, it passes information into the code of the website, the instructions on how to display the information, where to display the information etc, are all predetermined by the code itself. For example, as I am writing this blog post now, I have several areas that I can fill in, there is a space for a title, a space for an image, space for an author and a space for text. Those are linked to predetermined areas on the page. If we wanted we could add options to change the colour of the title by adding a new section into the headless CMs however, each of these options needs to be individually coded and connected (built from the ground up).
As technology has progressed the complexity has also increased. Newer technologies have redefined how websites are created and maintained. This has resulted in the need to develop new ways to manage these websites. In the process, the end process of updating your website, uploading blog posts and interacting with everything you will need has conveniently become easier!
Headless CMS's are quite versatile, and the range of functions they can serve is continually growing. You can even use a headless CMS to update information on an application.
There are a range of options available already despite the youth of the industry. For all our builds we currently use Prismic as it offers all the functionality we need and is super easy to use. However, we always try to keep up as new options become available. Other options include Contentful, GraphCMS, Acoustic Headless CMS, Ghost, Strapi, Netlify CMS, Tina and Ponzu. When choosing the right headless CMS for you, begin by considering the most important features for your business. This is important as each CMS will do things slightly differently.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about headless CMS's, we can be reached through our contact form here.
To learn more about our preferred headless CMS, Prismic, please check out their website here.