Headless CMS

Choosing a CMS top 22 CMS features to look for

by Arso Stojović
5min
15. Aug 2022.

The content management systems are handling your content differently. They have distinct CMS features, the traditional ones have an "old-school" approach, and they demand a strong foundation and predefined molds on which the rest of the structure will be further built. This process is reminiscent of the construction of the old city, which has predetermined areas without considering the possibility that the city can grow in width and height. Headless CMS has another solution for handling content, and it acts primarily as a content repository. Unlike traditional CMSs, which combine the content and presentation layers, a headless CMS consists of the content features and focuses on the administrative interface for content creators. With this approach, you'll be able to build an artificial island like the one in Dubai if you want to.  Either way, CMS solutions must bring impressive results for different teams from developers, marketers, and content creators. With various key features, you can improve the shortcomings of other web-building tools. 

How to choose the right CMS?

Choosing a suitable CMS platform involves more than pricing. CMS stores your content, so it is vital to have a solid base to handle all future problems and challenges. To fulfill different company needs, there are some non-negotiable features, from a flexible API to solid security and content-driven solution.

Must have CMS features

Intuitive interface

CMS users need an intuitive and well-organized interface without technical jargon or unnecessary information. Why are traditional CMSs slow, complex, and require days of training? They are outdated, bloated with less needed features, or the software team doesn’t care about a good user experience. So choose wisely!

Multiple environments

CMS needs to set up multiple environments to improve development workflow.  Development processes any CMS must have: Testing: The testing environment is the first line of defense against bugs. Devos can deploy codes, test new features, prevent bugs, and prepare code for the next stage in the testing area.  Staging: Well-written code is now in a staging environment for further testing. A staging environment is the last step before something goes into production and is visible on the live site. A staging site's primary purpose is to ensure that the application works.  Production: After testing, your product or content is available to end-users.

Flexibility

It is crucial to have a system that can handle any change in the work process. Sudden growth, updates, and new features are some of the challenges you will face. The content management systems must be ready to adapt when external changes occur.

Technology up to date

Technology is a fast-changing industry; ensure that you have a website builder that uses the latest tech tools and frameworks.  Having a fully future-proof CMS means that you can solve present problems and be able to solve the ones that can occur in the future.

Permission and roles

Hierarchy is another must-have feature. It is crucial to have a system to identify different roles, such as contributors, editors, or administrators. Each role has a different level of authority and dictates rules for each team member.  Users, roles, and permissions are vital components of website security too. Users are the people, roles are their functions, and permissions define what authorizations those functions have. Setting these up incorrectly can compromise your website's security.

Security

It doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional or headless CMS; keeping your content and customer data safe is a top priority. Due to their open-source frameworks, traditional CMSs are more vulnerable to attacks. While shared development environments offer several benefits, they also have flaws, many of which are due to a lack of accountability. Another issue is the vulnerability of various plugins and themes. At the same time, open-source headless options reduce exposure and make the entire stack more secure.  A headless CMS consists of a backend layer and connects to different front ends using APIs, thus removing the “head.” Further, API can be hidden behind two or more layers of code - perhaps an application layer and a security layer - making it even less vulnerable to attack. Keep this in mind: Keeping your content far away from the database has no security issues.

API

Speaking of security, the pure must-have is API. A massive disadvantage for traditional CMSs is that they don’t use API; they use databases. And when you have your content stored in the database, you are again an easy target for attacks. Content in a headless CMS is delivered via APIs for seamless display across different devices. To do this, API properties need to be comprehensive, flexible, and able to support all kinds of requests.  Well-defined APIs are easy to use and give flexibility in implementation. Let’s face it. The industry is transitioning to Headless CMSs.

Structured content  & Content Modeling

A structured piece of content will break down content into reasonable minor pieces that hold the characteristics of the thing it represents. Metadata is typically used to mark up content. Using structured content, you can create cost-efficient products, articles, and videos that can be reused. To ensure your headless content management system is configured correctly for multiple channels, content modeling is a method for documenting the types of content you'll need - today and in the future. The content model allows organizations to ensure that their content strategy is sustainable and scalable regardless of the future of business content.  CMS works best when designers, developers, and content creators work together to ensure the content is available to readers when they need it and easy to use for internal stakeholders who will use it to create and maintain content.

Content Editing

Wait, what? Are there some Content Management Systems without Content editing capabilities? Believe it or not, there are. Well, not literary, but many CMSs have some limitations in content editing. For example, WordPress doesn’t have structured content functionality. That means that you can’t create an input, for example, for a button text or a subtitle. You can, but you need to purchase an additional 3rd-party plugin that costs from $49/yr to $249/yr. Or for example Contentful, that lets you create custom inputs, but only 50 per content type. And only 48 content types until you need to pay $489/month 😅

Localization

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."- Mandela's quote has never been more accurate than today in the Internet era and the global market. Being present in different language areas is mandatory, so choose CMS that can manage content in any language. Even if you have no plans on having a multilingual website right from the start, you might change your mind at some point, and then it will be impossible to add another language.

Predictable pricing model

Being practical is one piece of the puzzle; another is how much does it cost? Getting a suitable pricing model is critical for driving revenue in your business. That's why defining a pricing model is one of the most important steps you can take for business success. Ensure you know how your preferred solution is priced, what factors determine the price, and the possible lifetime cost. CMS's most popular pricing model nowadays is pricing models based on features. On a sliding scale, the smaller projects get fewer features up to full-enterprise, which has access to all the CMS's features.

“Nice to have” features

Marketplace for plugins

CMS should be an ecosystem open to integrations with other systems and extensions to other software and tools. A marketplace plugin can help you adjust your needs or customers' demands. If you use a marketplace plugin, you won't need coding knowledge to get started. This approach enables better UX. 

Version control

Version control, aka source control, enables tracking and managing changes to software code. With this option,  CMS keeps track of edits and content changes and can quickly react or revert to past versions without updating the live site.

Search capabilities

Search options in the content management system help easily navigate and find things in your content library.

Basic Image Editing

Web design is essential. Any content needs to follow visual solutions. The ability to alter digital is inevitable. Automatic scaling or focal point can reduce common problems related to managing images.

Preview

Brand image is crucial for communication with end-users. Content writers, designers, and the whole creative department make brand-focused stories. Custom-made preview option in CMS enabling editing content and possible presentations before publishing.

Workflow

The newsroom works according to an organized scheme; some journalists and reporters create content; on the other hand, some editors are in charge of controlling and publishing the same content. The same principle should be applied in CMS to ensure that users without the authority to publish content can still do content creation and submit it for approval.

Scheduled publishing

A good organization is half the battle; scheduled publishing saves valuable time and reduces human errors. Busy marketing managers would most love this feature.

Technical Support

Technical support is there to help minimize the impact of unexpected events if you know who and where to turn to for support. Ensure that you choose a CMSs system with a good level of support and is in proper working order.

Accessibility

It would be nice if your friendly CMS were open to everyone. Accessibility ensures that everyone can access and enjoy your digital experiences. Delivering content to people with disabilities is beneficial and socially awakening. For example, deaf and blind people consume Internet content in different ways.

Tutorials & Documentation

Tutorials and documentation save time when it comes to the training of the staff that is going to use CMS. Various tutorials and demos will help a crew work in CMS smoothly.

Community

Connecting people may be vital to the longevity of a CMS. As long as many developers are involved, and the vendor communicates regularly with the community, Devos will be able to develop solutions for addressed issues.

BCMS, like a headless CMS, is a management platform that can grow with you to the heights you want by offering the features you need. You can find the CMS that fits you best based on your needs. After seeing all the CMS features, make a list of the ones you need most.