What is a Headless CMS???

CheshTech William Cheshier

What is a Headless CMS?

First, let’s make sure we’re 100% clear on what a CMS is. A CMS is a Content Management System meaning it’s an application that’s used to allow multiple contributors to manage, create, edit, and publish content.

A CMS’s content is usually stored in a database and is displayed using a set of templates. WordPress, Contentful, Shopify, and Wix are all examples of CMS platforms. This means that WordPress for example is responsible for keeping all of your content, and also being responsible for the layout and design of your website and how it looks.

A headless CMS allows you to decouple the content and data of your website from the layout and design of your website. What this means is that you can use modern technology to optimize performance, site speed, SEO best practices, and security to enhance your website.

In summary, you will have the layout, design, and user experience portion of your website built using the newest and best technologies like Gatsby or Next.js and hosted more than likely on a cloud platform. Meanwhile, your WordPress CMS and data will be hosted on a shared server on the backend.

Your web developer will then fetch the WordPress content using the REST API from WordPress, or GraphQL and then display the WordPress content on the website hosted on the cloud. This gives you a modern website with higher performance potential, while still giving you the benefits of the WordPress platform.

All of this while still being able to use WordPress or any other content management system to update your website. It’s the best of both worlds! You’re not limited to just using templates and website builders, and have the flexibility to customize your website exactly the way you want it.

Let’s explore why this is so beneficial for modern day websites.

Why to use a Headless CMS?

Modern web and app development continues to improve with innovative technologies. Let’s use WordPress as an example. WordPress is a PHP application that was first released in 2003.

There are still some great things about PHP, but talk to the majority of web developers and they will tell you JavaScript is much more advantageous.

React is a library of JavaScript and has its own frameworks including Gatsby and Next.js. Both are incredibly efficient when used to build websites and web applications. Both Gatsby and Next.js build websites that are blazing fast, have better search, scalability, and security benefits, and also have a more efficient architecture.

The whole key to success in business is to ensure that you are continuing to innovate and not fall behind the newest and best practices. Especially in the world of websites where the difference between a sale and a visitor leaving your site could be a 1 second loading difference on your site.

User experience is everything these days as people are becoming more and more used to things working perfectly for them. Using modern technology to ensure your website has the best performance will make a difference in your sales and website conversions.

Best of Both Worlds

A big request from my clients is that they would like to still have control over being able to post content, swap out images, and write their own blog content. This is all still possible of course through using WordPress or other CMS’s in a headless fashion.

WordPress does a great job with their abundance of plugins and wide selection of templates to choose from. They even have great website builders like Elementor. However, they lag in comparison to using next generation and modern technologies.

Your website will load faster, perform better, be more secure, and also be far more customizable to be able to add any new features. With custom coding and Gatsby or Next.js, you will be able to scale your website much faster.

In addition, you’ll be able to host your frontend on a cloud platform much easier than with WordPress where more often than not you’ll start with a shared hosting plan. This can slow down your website, hurt its performance, and also limit scalability.

WordPress as a content management system is fantastic and is very convenient and fairly easy to use. In addition, digital marketers know it well so it’s a great option to use if you plan to get content marketing and/or SEO help for your website.

A headless CMS still allows you to see all the benefits and familiarity of the WordPress CMS, but also gives you an opportunity to get ahead of the competition by having a faster and higher performing website.

Works great with E-Commerce sites like Shopify as well

E-commerce continues to get more and more popular and is an outstanding way to work to generate an additional income stream. Shopify is a great platform but has its limitations as well. They also require you to pay monthly fees that can add up over time.

The good news? You can now also use Shopify as a headless CMS and build out your store with the modern technology mentioned above. You can also do this without having to pay the expensive monthly fees as you won’t be hosting your website or using their templates.

Having a website built with the most modern and best performing technology on your e-commerce site is very important as sales are dependent on it. Your marketing campaigns will only be as successful as your website.

It’s your website that converts visitors into customers. A headless CMS website will allow you to make your website feel more unique, be faster, have higher performance, more security, and more ability to customize to improve your features.


Technology continues to improve and change at a rapid rate. Website experiences and your ability to convert users on your site will be dependent on the performance of your website. You don’t want to be left behind and watch as your competition makes the investment to higher performance while you still are reliant on past technology.

WordPress is a great system and there are times where you don’t need to utilize a headless CMS, but it is definitely worth exploring as an option. Be sure to consult with a trusted web developer who can advise you on the best options for you and your business.

Let us know what you think of a headless CMS, or if you have any questions about it, be sure to contact me and we can have a chat to find the best solution for you and your business! Be sure to follow us on InstagramLinkedIn and Facebook for more tips and info!

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CheshTech William Cheshier

CheshTech CEO: William Cheshier

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