July 17, 2020

You don’t need a CMS to edit your website

You don’t need a CMS to edit your website

The infamous blog engine is not the only option when you need to build a website that can be edited online without a help of your developers. Instead of relying on heavy, and in many ways outdated software you can go another route that will make your website faster while also providing better editing capabilities than does infamous blog engine. The solution is a headless CMS. Let’s see what it is and why its worth your attention.

It is headless

Headless CMS is usually a SAAS platform or hosted software which provides a backend UI for editing your content as well as API for requesting the content from it. But it is not aimed for rendering content on the publicly faced pages. A very nice UI that allows seamlessly managing your content, rich text editor, media library, CDN and modern GraphQL API — this is just a fraction of features provided by most known solutions.

Typically headless CMS works in the following way:

  • Content editors manage a content in the backend UI provided by SAAS platform
  • Frontend developers integrate an API of the SAAS platform on the website
  • During the build of a website content is requested from the API and then statically inserted on the corresponding pages.

A typical headless CMS backend UI
A typical headless CMS backend UI

As you can see, with headless CMS you can completely separate a database with your content from publicly faced website. It brings several important advantages, one of which is performance of your website.

Advantages that are hard to beat


There is no longer need in a heavy blog engine to render pages of your website. Using modern JAM stack (JavaScript, API, Markup) you can render static pages. Headless CMS API combined with JavaScript allows for delivering completely static HTML/CSS. Do you know what performs better than a static website? Nothing! A static HTML/CSS is the ultimate way to serve your website blazing fast.

Headless CMS API returns only data, no visual representation https://matterdesign.com.au/introducing-the-headless-cms/
Headless CMS API returns only data, no visual representation https://matterdesign.com.au/introducing-the-headless-cms/

Granular editing permissions

With headless CMS you can allow content editors editing only particular copies of a page, not an entire page. For example, on the About Us page of your website you would want them to modify just few paragraphs, in the format of plain text. This is much safer than letting non-tech savvy person changing anything on a page of a website. In contrast, all the hosted blog engines allow modifying HTML. Unrestricted editing of a source code of a page is a ticking bomb. Sooner or later someone will accidentally post a breaking update.

No maintenance cost

Finally — it is cheap. Of course a headless CMS SAAS will cost you some money (something below $50/month). But it is nothing compared to the time your developers would spent on implementation and maintenance of the in-house CMS system. Even if you ask your developers to update a content manually — it is still not cheaper than something below $50/month.


To give a better idea about modern headless CMS services here are a few examples of them. All of them provide a similar set of features, but are different in extras and pricing model. With no doubt you can find something that suits your needs in the list below.

  • Prismic https://prismic.io
  • Ghost https://ghost.org
  • Sanity https://www.sanity.io
  • GraphCMS https://graphcms.com
  • DatoCMS https://www.datocms.com
Artem Rudenko
Artem Rudenko
Software engineer, founder of ottofeller.com

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