WordPress (as you’re probably tired of hearing from us) is a very dynamic, user-friendly CMS. There’s a reason Roundpeg is a WordPress-exclusive shop. By this point, we’ve got creating beautiful, unique websites down pat.

These websites consist of two major parts: a Roundpeg-crafted front end and a relatively standard back end “dashboard.” Both parts are equally important: The front end shows your personality and information. It’s what people will actually see while visiting your digital property. The back end is your toolbox of themes and plugins which allow you to build that front end and edit content.

But, what if we did away with one half of the equation? Would it really still be a website? What purpose would it serve? Without the back end, how would you get anything done? Without the front end, is it really a website?

Yes – yes it is! And there’s still a whole lot you can do with a Headless CMS. WordPress (with head intact) is great at what it does, but is also limited to what it does.

Off With It’s Head!

What is a “headless” CMS? While it may sound like something spoken about in hush tones while gathered around the All Hallow’s Eve campfire, it’s actually something that could be of huge benefit to you and your digital game. While we have lopped off the front end “head,” there is still much we can do with the remainder of the system.

You may be asking “what benefit is a website without a front end?” Think about all the things your website does: it sends mail, connects with other applications and social media platforms, and collects and stores data. What if you wanted to use WordPress exclusively for these tasks?

A headless WordPress CMS can be used as a multi-channel publisher to push new posts and articles to all of your social media channels and collection of websites in your wheelhouse. In an age with hundreds of podcasting, social media, and blogging platforms, it just makes sense today to have one source that pushes content to all of your properties. It is important to note that not all platforms and endpoints are right for your content – but if you’re pushing to a good number of external properties, a headless decoupled system may be to your advantage.

This doesn’t mean your decoupled WordPress can’t have a front-end, and in many cases a headless CMS can do more than a traditional installation. You can connect your site to front-ends on completely separate servers built using code that isn’t easily supported on WordPress. How’s that for flexible?

Coming up Short

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re going to implement a headless WordPress solution, you’ll likely want to have an in-house web developer. This article isn’t meant as a call to arms, but rather is aimed at getting you thinking about different creative ways to use the WordPress Content Management System. There are plugins which can take some of the work out of creating your new platform, but I really would not suggest even trying those out unless you know what you’re in for.

You also need to take care and mind the health of your other applications. Just because you’re managing the moon and the stars with a decoupled WordPress installation doesn’t mean that your external application will continue to function as intended. This is not a one-size-fits-all for managing your entire business, but a properly implemented and maintained headless site can do many things that a traditional install could not.

Who is it for?

Building and implementing a headless installation is not for every business. Your new CMS will not be easily maintained, and it may be easier for you to use an application like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social posts if that’s what you need to be focused on. If you do not have a capable team on-board, creating a custom CMS may be more effort than it’s worth.

One Head Can Be Better Than None

I cannot emphasize enough that decoupled, Headless WordPress installations are not right for every business. Please do your own research on how and why you would use this kind of system BEFORE implementation. Most businesses will do just fine with a traditional website and marketing strategy – and if you’re needing some help with that, give us a ring.