Does your organization need a headless or hybrid content management system (CMS)?

The rise of Headless and Hybrid CMSs is revolutionizing the way content is created, managed and delivered to devices and platforms across the globe. But deciding whether your company needs to move to a Headless or Hybrid CMS is not something to jump into lightly.

Use the following questions to gauge your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources for a Headless or Hybrid CMS:

Do we have needs that aren’t being met by our current CMS?

Are we able to sufficiently optimize content delivery speed so that it isn’t a hindrance to our SEO goals? Can we
deliver the kind of user experience our customers expect, on all of our must-have platforms and devices? Are security concerns or bug fixes taking developer time that could be better used elsewhere?

Do we have, or can we hire, a development team to handle the Head presentation layers that may not be part of a Headless or Hybrid CMS?

Can we successfully migrate our existing content to a new platform without sacrificing our search rankings?


Explore capabilities from headless and hybrid CMS vendors like Magnolia, Arc XP, Acquia and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on these content management platforms.

Click here to download!


Can we tie a new CMS into the existing important elements of our martech stack?

Is our editorial and content creation staff flexible enough (or tech-savvy enough) to adopt a new CMS interface?

Are we committed to changing our editorial processes to support more reuse and repurposing of our content?

Do we have current needs or future ambitions to deliver content to enough different platforms or devices to justify switching?

Does our C-suite support this type of initiative?

A lack of executive buy-in can lead to inadequate budgeting, measurement and performance, and broken customer experiences. It is critical, therefore, to secure C-suite support.

How will we define success?

What KPIs do we want to measure and what decisions will we be making based on the data? As with any technology investment, it is critical to measure the impact of the Headless or Hybrid CMS on your marketing ROI. Although KPIs will vary by organization or industry, you should be able to measure site or app speed, SEO ranking and traffic improvements, and conversion rate gains for lead generation or e-commerce. You may also be able to gauge whether the CMS is saving your developers or editors time.

What is the total cost of ownership?

Because Headless and Hybrid CMSs unbundle some of the functions that are built into a traditional CMS, it’s important to ensure you’re accounting for all of the pieces you’ll need to assemble for your new infrastructure. You may also need to budget for editor training and ongoing development to help you realize some of the benefits we’ve discussed here.

Headless and hybrid content management systems: A snapshot

What they are. Headless and hybrid content management systems are software that serves as a repository for textual and other digital content that includes an application programming interface (API) that allows that stored content to be distributed to a variety of platforms. “Hybrid” systems have some of the characteristics of headless systems and some of those of “traditional” content management systems.

Why they’re hot. Most enterprise content management systems are built to deliver content to a desktop web browser, with WordPress being the most popular. However, much has changed since the platform’s start in 2003. People interact with content not just on desktops and laptops, but on their mobile phones, cars, TVs, and other connected devices.

Each device people use requires their unique interface and type of content to deliver the best experience. Brands may want to share content in different “wrappers,” which could include webpages, mobile apps, email, smart speaker apps, or VR apps.

How it works. A headless CMS disconnects the underlying content from the manner of display, making it easier to leverage the same assets across many platforms and devices. Repurposing and reusing content in this manner improves marketers’ ROI and reduces spend on creative efforts. These systems also speed up content delivery, helping brands better meet customer expectations.

Why we care. Enterprises need to deliver the same content in different languages with certain cultural tweaks in each market. This, coupled with the need to present their content on many channels and platforms, has shown many web developers the limitations of PHP formats. This is why so many adopt more modern CMS technologies to improve user experience.

Read next: What are headless and hybrid content management systems?


About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Does your organization need a headless or hybrid content management system (CMS)?

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