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Headless content management systems (CMS) have been gaining rapid popularity over the last few years. This popularity is a direct result of the greater operational and marketing flexibility offered by headless CMS to publishers and brands. 

Research has shown that many businesses have dumped the traditional CMS model and have adopted a headless CMS. The reasons for the switch are multiple. Headless CMS enables you to publish high-quality digital content consistently across channels, leading to a better user experience and journey. 

Thus, the headless CMS software market is growing and will continue to grow.  

This article explains what a headless CMS is and then lists the top 10 platforms available today. 

What is a Headless CMS? 

A headless content management system (CMS) serves as a platform for storing and editing content – but it lacks a presentation layer (frontend). Thus, you can store and edit raw content on this platform and then publish it to multiple channels – a website, a social media network, or any other digital medium. 

The term headless is a metaphor referring to how the front end (head) of a CMS is removed from its backend (body). A headless CMS uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to pull data from the backend and publish it to any digital platform. Hence, a headless CMS is often called an “API-driven. 

Some of the major benefits of employing a headless CMS include: 

  • Greater levels of flexibility for content creators and publishers. 
  • Enables you to publish high-quality content (images, videos, audio, etc.) across various platforms. 
  • Content creation and management can be carried out simultaneously, enabling your teams to be agile. 
  • Your content is secure because it is stored in the cloud. 
  • Scalable and easy to use. 
  • Low cost. 
  • Excellent omnichannel customer experience. 

Top 5 Headless CMS in 2023 

1. WordPress VIP 

WordPress CMS is a decoupled CMS that enables users to choose a single stack, hybrid or headless approach for creating digital content. Automatic hosts WordPress VIP and its codebase are connected to GitHub. Moreover, it uses GraphQL, REST, Cache, Gatsby, Frontity, and Next.js APIs. Not only that but it also offers integration with WooCommerce, D20, and Salesforce. 

Its main features include: 

  • Data insights and content analytics. 
  • Gutenberg content creation tools. 
  • Centralized performance optimization and content hub. 
  • eCommerce store management. 

2. Hygraph 

Hygraph was earlier known as GraphQL. It is a native GraphQL CMS with an emphasis on content federation (bringing data together from various sources using API). It is a front-end platform that offers total independence to content developers and editors. 

Its codebase is accessible on GitHub, and it supports Vue, Gatsby, React, Apollo, Gridsome, and a few others. Many leading companies choose Hygraph as their CMS, including Philips, Samsung, and Telenor. 

Its main features are: 

  • Custom permissions. 
  • Custom roles. 
  • Webhooks. 
  • Schema builder. 
  • Scheduled publishing. 

3. Contentful 

Contentful claims to increase your conversion rate by 60% and loading times by a whopping 400%. Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts Contentful and it integrates with various platform libraries like Gatsby Cloud, Bynder, Cloudinary, and Google Analytics.  

Moreover, Contentful’s repository is on GitHub and it uses server-side languages like Python, C#, .NET, PHP, and Ruby. Leading companies like Staples, Atlassian, and Equinox use Contentful as their headless CMS. 

Some of its significant features include: 

  • Open-source libraries. 
  • Mobile-friendly content optimization. 
  • Customizable interface and administrator page. 
  • Channel-agnostic content editing.

4. Quintype 

Quintype Bold is offering incredible freedom and digital publishing features. As with other platforms mentioned above, Quintype also has its data repository on GitHub.  

It supports multiple frameworks like React, Malibu, Bridgekeeper, and Node.js. Quintype employs Swagger UI to enable its users to work with REST APIs.  

Moreover, Quintype offers Metype, Access type, and Ahead frontend technologies. These technologies help your content creators, developers, and publishers to publish and monetize their content without facing tech issues. 

It supports integration with various popular platforms like Alexa, Google Analytics, Instagram, and AWeber.  

Its main features include: 

  • SEO recommendations and validations. 
  • Content categorization and geo-tagging. 
  • Live to blog. 
  • Customizable workflows. 

5. Magnolia  

Magnolia is an enterprise headless content management system (CMS) founded in 1997 in Switzerland. It employs a modular architecture and tied-in personalization to enable easy channel management.  

Magnolia can be hosted on-prem or on the cloud. It also offers integration with Commercetools, Netlify, and Salesforce, in addition to supporting REST and Java APIs. Users can pull light modules using GitHub, npm, and Maven.  

Leading companies like Nissan, American Express, and The New York Times use Magnolia. 

Here are some of its major features: 

  • Data analytics and multi-site management. 
  • WYSIWYG and single-page app editing.  
  • A/B/n testing. 
  • Customizable workflows. 

Other Headless CMS You Should Know 

This list of 5 top CMS might seem a little too small to some. This is why we’re listing a few more content management systems you might want to consider for your company. 

  • Agility CMS 
  • Bloomreach 
  • Sanity 
  • Netlify 
  • Directions 
  • Optimizely 
  • Kontent.ai 
  • Acquia CMS 

Conclusion 

Choosing an orchard as headless CMS over a traditional CMS is a better option if you want to scale your business. It enables you to offer personalized customer experiences and reach a greater number of customers.  

However, this would require greater IT spending from you if you don’t already have in-house developers. Nevertheless, the decision really depends on your long-term strategy. If you want to grow and have the wherewithal to manage the extra costs, consider the 5 headless CMS options we have mentioned. 

If you need any help in deploying in this, contact us at info@xavor.com.

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Muhammad Abbas

Muhammad Abbas is an anthropologist at heart and a Marketing Specialist by profession. He has worked with leading marketing agencies over the years. While he considers himself a history buff, his interests also extend to topics like politics, economics, social justice, climate change, and tech.