What is Headless WordPress?

As you probably already know, WordPress is a CMS or content management system. What you may not be aware of is that WordPress can also now be used as a headless CMS, and there are many advantages available for your business if you do choose to use it this way. A topic that we will go into further detail on in the post below.

Traditional CMS vs headless CMS.

First of all, to discover why using WordPress as a headless CMS is so beneficial, we have to understand the differences between traditional CMS and a headless CMS.

A traditional or coupled CMS is one where the backend and front end are, in essence, joined together. This means that the same system rules the backend (the database, CMS, design) and the front end (where content is published on HTML pages). It also means that all your content is managed and stored on the back end as well.

The chief problem with this type of CMS is that it’s very inflexible. This is because the front and backend are coupled together. Something that means if you change one thing, it will have an impact on a variety of other things as well.

In contrast, a headless CMS like WordPress is where the content management system is split into different parts (front and back end) that can communicate with each other but are essentially not linked in a way where they directly affect one another. That is the front, and the back end has been decoupled.

The main advantage that this produces is that the presentation and behavior layers are separate to the content layers, which means you can change the content with no effect on how your WordPress works, and vice versa.

Is a Decoupled CMS the same as a Headless CMS?

Before we go into detail on the advantages of using headless WordPress, we must take a look at the terms headless CMS vs decoupled CMS.

You will hear and see the terms Decoupled CMS vs Headless CMS being used in very similar contexts, especially when being used to refer to WordPress. This is because there are many similarities that they share, including the fact that they both use a database, deal with content management, and deliver content through an API, or application programming interfaces like PHP (like WordPress) or Javascript.

However, it is useful to know that a Decoupled CMS and Headless CMS are not precisely the same. For example, the critical benefits of a headless CMS are that it allows control over how your content appears, enables faster content delivery, and can be used easily with third-party integrations.

Unfortunately, a headless CMS does not have code and front end templates of its own. Therefore it cannot present content to an end-user directly but must use separate front end templates that communicate with the API for each type of channel. What this means is that a headless CMS is dependent on additional technologies. It’s also challenging to get a live preview of how things will look with a headless CMS, which can create problems for developers and businesses alike.

A decoupled CMS, on the other hand, can deliver formatted content to a multitude of channels directly. The reason for this is because it has the content hub architecture that allows your code and front end templates to communicate with the API. Therefore, providing the critical advantage of being able to publish via any channel or device.

To that end, if you are looking for the most flexible and agile of WordPress sites, that can deliver content to a range of channels efficiently, choosing a web design service that can offer decoupled WordPress is essential.

The Benefits of a Decoupled WordPress

Now you have a firmer grasp of decoupled CMS is, let’s take a look at the specific advantages that using this type of CMS for WordPress can bring to a for-profit business.

Flexibility to integrate new tech fast

One of the most significant benefits of using a decoupled WordPress is that it allows you the freedom to integrate new technology, tools and solutions much more quickly and easily on your site. The reason for this is that your developers aren’t locked into any one coding language or framework, meaning that you can virtually future proof your WordPress site, by using a decoupled CMS rather than a traditional one.

Of course, this is so valuable because it means you can retain a comparative edge, providing the latest in tools and technology to your customers – something that can make a massive and impactful positive difference to your customer experience. Additionally, by investing in a decoupled WordPress now, you will save money in the future as you will not require a brand new site to be built from scratch once you want to update it to offer better tech to your users.

Easy delivery on any channel or platform

Another critical advantage of using a decoupled WordPress, especially for enterprise businesses is that it allows you to deliver content on any channel or platform efficiently.

Of course, this is vital as SEO bots prioritize both sites on mobile platforms and ones that can offer responsivity to different platforms as well. Not to mention the fact that at least 90% of people access the internet on mobile devices as supposed to traditional PCs.

To that end, if you want your WordPress site to be ranked highly in the search engine index and want to make sure as many people as possible can access it, using a decoupled CMS is a genius move.

Faster loading

A decoupled WordPress can also be beneficial for use in a for-profit business as it can help improve your website performance by allowing your site loads in the fastest time possible. The critical advantage of this is that it provides a better customer experience, and will help your site to rank significantly in SEO.

Also, a fast loading site is vital if you want to minimize customer attrition. That is if you don’t want your customers to navigate away from your site before completing the desired action, like making a purchase.

Easy scalability

Choosing a decoupled WordPress is also a smart move for your business if you want to be able to scale your content quickly. Something essential if you are working on a limited content budget, or only can produce a certain amount, but need to squeeze out every ounce of efficacy possible.

In fact, with a decoupled WordPress, you won’t have to run multiple servers to scale your content and so can avoid unnecessary delays that traditionally result in making meeting user demands difficult.

Better Security

Any business that wants to be profitable in 2020 and beyond is concerned with security. After all, a security breach may not only compromise your business’s ability to function, but also endanger your hard-earned reputation with your customers and the public.

The good news is that a decoupled WordPress can improve this for your site. The reason for this is that unlike a coupled WordPress site, one tiny problem won’t bring down your whole system, making it far more secure and safe.   

Less downtime

Finally, for businesses, a significant benefit of using a decoupled WordPress site is the reduction in downtime. A decoupled WordPress reduces downtime because it allows a separation of content vs back and front end. What this means is your content editors can still work on your site, even while your back or front end developers are redesigning or upgrading it or vice versa. Something that means an upgrade can take as little as a single day, versus up to an entire month for a traditional coupled CMS.

Additionally, because by using a decoupled WordPress, you will have to deal with less downtime as your front or backend updates, you can quickly change your site iterations in response to your customer’s needs. What this means is you can provide the most relevant and meaningful experiences for your customers fast, and continue to update your site to make sure it offers the best experiences possible.

It’s not just that your content, or back & front end updates will be available to users quickly that is important here either. It’s that by replacing a potentially month-long project with one that takes only a day, you can save your business a considerable amount of money and time, which will only help to make you more profitable in the long term.

Final thoughts

To summarize, a decoupled WordPress is the best option for enterprise business for many reasons. After all, it is the most flexible, secure, and scalable option, which will allow your business to respond to customer needs rapidly.

Also, a decoupled WordPress allows you to create meaningful and compelling customer experiences, on any channel or platform easily. A decoupled WordPress is also a smart choice if you want to be able to integrate new tech, tools, and applications as they are released as well.

To that end, as opposed to traditional (coupled) WordPress, the option will provide your business with the back end structure and the front end flexibility it needs to thrive, both now and in the future.

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