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A Farewell to Monolith CMS: Embracing Headless CMS for Business Websites

clock-iconMay 14, 2023

Are more intuitive editing workflows in the composable stack the End Of The Traditional CMS platform?

The Current State of the Content Management System Market

As outlined in the Q2 2023 Content Management Systems Landscape report presents three major themes prevalent in this well-established market

  1. API experience delivery. Marketing and technology teams globally hve gained a competitive edge, agility, and freedom by separating the content model from the experience delivery layer, resulting in experience delivery through APIs. Front-end frameworks continuously progress to facilitate experience design translation to digital experiences, providing even greater freedom. All content management systems provide API experience delivery, some offering a hybrid of the template and API experience delivery, while others solely provide API experience delivery as pure headless CMSes. Monolithic CMSes, which combine the interface, content, data, and users in a single package, are now obsolete.
  2. Content orchestration. With the advancement of digital marketing, businesses are increasingly interested in developing new digital ventures to manage content and reach a wider audience while keeping their existing customer base engaged. New tools such as intent data sources, customer relationship management systems, content engagement solutions, and customer data platforms have empowered both big and small businesses to curate customized experiences using modular content based on their understanding of customer behavior. In this scenario, the CMS plays a crucial role as the conductor of these experiences and content production. Consequently, there is an enormous potential for expansion in this capability domain.
  3. SaaS deployment and low-code tools. The deployment of SaaS headless cms and the use of low-code tools have simplified the process of deploying enterprise software through the cloud and managing content across global teams for modern CMSes. As a result, teams are able to maintain managing content more efficiently and quickly.

The Beginning of the Next Generation CMS


The capacity of Generative AI to produce new content, such as marketing copy and images, will affect content teams and pipelines. However, the crucial competitive advantage for businesses is in managing and delivering these experiences rather than the actual content creation.

While AI-generated copy can reduce content team workload during content generation, it can increase it during content reviews and delivery. Consequently, data and technology will continue to play a critical role in delivering such experiences through various systems, such as APIs, and front-end frameworks, among other systems.

Organizations are about to witness the emergence of new roles to support the revised focus areas in enterprise content teams. For instance, content engineers will work alongside strategists and developers to activate content across different technologies.

They will be responsible for enabling data scientists to integrate and analyze results for future actions. CMSes have been gearing up for this transition towards "intelligent orchestration." Foundational building blocks, such as experience delivery, have already been set up, marking the beginning of the next generation of CMSes.

Headless CMS Platforms: Balancing Agility with User-Friendly Editing Workflows

Companies are transitioning from traditional content management system solutions that bind content to a single front-end presentation to meet the growing demands for personalized and localized content across multiple channels. Many organizations have switched to the Sanity Composable Content Cloud, a contemporary content management solution that empowers teams. By doing so, they have gained more than the typical advantages of headless CMS platforms, including:

  1. Content modeling that reflects teams' thought processes and desired approaches to working with their content is made possible by Sanity.
  2. A flexible, API-focused central location for all content within an organization reduces maintenance expenses and increases content and digital assets reuse.
  3. StackShift, a highly customizable editorial environment, enhances content creativity and efficiency, enabling editors to create distinctive digital experiences.

So far, there has been a compromise on certain useful visual editing features present in older, integrated traditional content management systems. Although content teams appreciate the advantages of headless content architectures, such as improved website speed and adaptability, they may be concerned that the editing processes will become less convenient and effective.

Introducing StackShift and Visual Editing

StackShift now provides editors with a streamlined workflow to make content changes without needing to have a full mental model of exactly where that content lives within the StackShift. With Visual editing, editors can click directly from their previews and jump directly to the content within StackShift.

No front-end changes required

Our goal with Visual Editing was to enable users to begin using it immediately without requiring them to restructure their content architecture and better organize digital assets. Because Visual Editing works from your front-end code, you may think that this would require inserting data on every page component to give StackShift instructions on what content to open within StackShift.

To simplify the process of implementation, we have created a content management system that does not necessitate any modifications to your front-end code. We’ve introduced a new API containing the information needed for your front end to deep-link to content authored within StackShift.

What is the reason for implementing visual editing?

Visual editing is the most intuitive interface for managing content, similar to the familiar experience of editing a document in Word or Pages. However, developers are accustomed to editing code in one place and seeing the outcome in another, which can hinder marketing and content creation teams.

The emergence of headless CMS was mainly aimed at simplifying developer tools and workflow. Still, it came at the expense of losing the user-friendly visual editing experience we had with the traditional CMS.

Instead, it was replaced with unattractive gray forms. Therefore, it can be challenging to distinguish between different types of content and make edits in a headless CMS environment.

The importance of visual editing in a headless content management system cannot be overstated. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Headless CMS visual editing makes digital content creation easier
    Visual editing makes digital content creation easier, especially for non-technical users. Rather than having to learn technical expertise in HTML or Markdown, users can simply use a visual editor to publish content.

    This makes the content management process faster and more efficient, allowing users to focus on creating quality content rather than worrying about technical details.
  2. It improves content quality
    Visual editing can improve the quality of publishing content created in headless content management systems. With a visual editor, users can see what their content looks like as they create it, allowing them to make adjustments and tweaks to ensure the content looks and reads as intended on multiple platforms.

    Using a headless CMS can result in higher quality content and an improved digital presence, which are essential for keeping readers engaged and retaining them. Additionally, a headless CMS can enhance a website's SEO. You can find headless CMS explained for SEO by reading this article.
  3. It saves time
    Visual editing can save time for both content creators and developers. For content creators, it eliminates the need to switch between a visual editor and raw code, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

    For developers, it means they can spend less time answering questions and providing technical support to content creators and more time building and optimizing the CMS platform itself.
  4. It enhances collaboration
    Visual editing can enhance real time collaboration between content creators and developers. With a visual editor, content creators can see exactly how their content will look on the website or app, which can help them communicate their vision more effectively to developers. This can lead to a more collaborative and efficient content creation process overall.

In conclusion, visual editing is a crucial aspect to manage content in all headless CMS platforms. It makes content creation easier, improves content quality, saves time, and enhances collaboration between content creators and developers.

For the best headless CMS, make sure to choose from headless content management systems that include visual editing capabilities, as it can make a significant difference in the success of your content strategy.

StackShift has solved the two main objections to adopting the composable tech stack.

  • Visual or in-line editing.
    With visual editing, content creators and marketers find a familiar interface they are used to seeing on the monolith traditional CMS like WordPress, Drupal, or Webflow. It is like having all the benefits of the composable tech stack or a headless CMS and having the benefits of a visual UI to edit and manage content easily.
  • Pagination
    With Page Management, you can enable content editors to generate and supervise pages for your digital projects with reusable building blocks.

    Headless CMS page management allows content editors to administer your website's page structure and page-level SEO attributes and select the content and functionality for each page.

    Despite this, developers and architects still have full authority over the available page templates, where modules are placed on pages, and the functionality of each module, which is comparable to a conventional CMS. The shift is towards modular content rather than structured content.

Can we expect the end of monolith CMSs?

You can make your own judgment.

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