How to Build a Personalization Engine Into Your Website Marketing Plan
You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you receive a thoughtful gift that was created or customized with you in mind? That’s the result of personalization—and marketers who can apply it can make their target audience feel that same good feeling. As it turns out, that feeling is in high demand by consumers.
In a survey of 8,000 consumers from around the globe, Accenture found that the vast majority (91%, in fact) are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations. Econsultancy and Google discovered that 90% of leading marketers say personalization significantly contributes to profitability, and 89% of U.S. marketers confirm that personalization increases revenue.
The impact of personalization certainly makes it worth the effort—so here’s how to get it working automatically and at scale in your business.
What is a Personalization Engine?
To get a little more technical than the warm and fuzzies, Gartner defines personalization as a process that “creates a relevant, individualized interaction between two parties designed to enhance the experience of the recipient.”
A personalization engine helps businesses create these experiences at scale by automatically gathering and applying context about each consumer to deliver tailored content, offers, suggestions, and other interactions via the perfect digital channel.
As is pointed out in our blog, “Locking down loyalty, revving up revenue, and catapulting conversions,” the experiences that personalization engines provide are powerful and profitable for businesses.
If you have concerns that using a personalization engine may cross the line into being invasive, you don’t have to be as long as you keep your strategy truthful and transparent. Make sure consumers know they still have control over their data and don’t invade any digital spaces that might be considered off-limits.
5 Steps to Building a Personalization Engine Into Your Headless CMS of Choice
Armed with all the knowledge you need about what a personalization engine is and why you need one, here’s everything else you need to know about getting it built into your marketing workflow.
1. Define and Gather Your Tools
Just like with any project, you’ll want to identify and gather all the appropriate tools in one place before you start building a personalization engine into your marketing stack.
That means it’s time to identify the personalization tools you intend to use themselves as well as the best website platform for managing your marketing content—into which you’ll integrate those personalization tools.
There are numerous personalization tools, such as Monetate, which is a popular personalization tool for ecommerce; Optimizely is an enterprise-level personalization system; and Evergage, which is a more affordable cloud-based personalization tool.
The most important part of this step is ensuring that your content management system supports website personalization. A headless CMS is an excellent solution for personalization. It allows you to collaborate on, manage, and publish marketing content just like a traditional CMS. However, underneath the hood, the structured content is separate from the layer of programming and design, so you can integrate directly with content and deliver the content to any personalization tool you want to use.
Take, for example, Contentstack, a headless CMS that works as a content hub and is specifically built for these kinds of integrations. Need to implement tools to create a personalization engine? Contentstack simplifies integrating best-in-class customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, translation services, AI tools, A/B testing applications, analytics parsing, and plenty more.
2. Implement Behavior Tracking
The ability to track user behavior on your website and other digital properties is critical when it comes to constructing a personalization engine. After all, how can you create content that’s unique to the consumer if you don’t know anything about that consumer? Whatever you end up using to track behavior—a built-in feature or stand-alone software—it’s vital that it reliably records activities such as the user journey, clicks, purchases, etc.
3. Set Up Metadata
Metadata provides information about the content of a digital item. For example, metadata for an image may include its name, its size, its color, the creation date, and more.
Metadata matters because it gives digital items identifiers to use for locating the related content. When a content personalization tool goes to source relevant content for a specific consumer, it will choose what to display based on the metadata attached to that content.
So, if a personalization engine knows a specific consumer recently adopted a cat based on the content they’ve been reading and the products they’ve been purchasing, it searches for metadata that includes the word “cat” when it’s pulling together content to display to that person.
Metadata is another reason we’re proponents of building your personalization engine within a headless CMS. Storing metadata is typically included in a content management system platform as it makes content easy to find and repurpose for various applications—this reusability being one of the core tenets of headless technology.
4. Write Your Rules
Just like creativity blooms under healthy constraints, personalization engines become more powerful when you give them rules by which to operate. Rules, or conditions, are basically “If, then” statements that help a personalization engine determine which content would be the most relevant in a specific instance. A rule may look something like: “If the user is an executive in marketing or sales, then display a call to action that invites them to schedule a free demo.”
In this example, Optimizely contains a rule that instructs the personalization engine to display the following content if the visitor’s IP address indicates they work in the travel industry:
5. Create Your Content!
Now for the important part—creating the content that consumers will see! This final step amounts to writing content that targets each of your ideal personas and then carefully labeling it so that your personalization engine can find and display it when that persona lands on one of your owned digital channels.
Thanks again to implementing a headless CMS that appears in the first step, this kind of high-value content only has to be created once, and then you can identify and distribute the content where and when it’s most relevant. Identifying specific text ensures consistent content and reduces time-wasting re-writes for marketing staff, all while making your channel diversity stronger than ever.
The process of building a personalization engine into your content management workflow can be a lot to take on—especially if it requires you first to adopt a headless CMS that can handle the load!
If your outdated technology is holding you back, start here with our 5 Steps to Stay out of Technical Debt by Selecting the Right CMS. And if you still aren’t sure which headless CMS is the right CMS for your personalization efforts, be sure to read about all the personalization-powering integrations you can get your hands on when you choose Contentstack.
Finally, you don’t have to make this big website decision unseen—get in touch to schedule a demo or take Contentstack for a free test drive today!
Achieve web personalization with a headless composable DXP
In the digital age, creating a one-size-fits-all website no longer works. With the rise of data analytics, user profiling, and advanced algorithms, businesses can now offer customized digital experiences through web personalization. Communicating with customers more personally can foster a deeper connection and build consumer trust. Statistics provide proof of how vital web personalization is for today’s consumers. McKinsey, for example, reports that 71% of consumers don’t just want personalization; they expect it. And 76% get frustrated when they don’t get it. When personalization is done right, it can pay off. In addition, McKinsey reports: “Companies that grow faster drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.” This blog explores the concept of web personalization, its benefits, and different types of personalization. We’ll also explain how a headless, composable digital experience platform (DXP) can help businesses deliver advanced personalization. What is web personalization? What are the benefits? Web personalization refers to the dynamic process of tailoring online content, user experiences, and website interactions to each visitor's preferences, behaviors, and needs. This customization involves leveraging data analytics, user profiling, and advanced algorithms. And it’s about more than just changing images or words on the page. It could involve providing consumers with product recommendations. Or adjusting page layouts or other website elements based on user interactions. The benefits of web personalization will vary based on marketing and business objectives but may include the following. Increased sales and revenue Higher conversion rates Enhanced brand recognition Improved user retention Greater customer loyalty Business growth Well-known examples of web personalization Many well-known brands have adopted web personalization to increase engagement and boost revenue. Here are three examples: Amazon uses predictive targeting to offer personalized product recommendations based on a visitor's previous purchases and browsing history. Netflix personalizes content recommendations based on users' watching habits, It provides personalized landing pages highlighting what new content is available. Starbucks uses mobile apps and integrations and predictive targeting to offer personalized recommendations for food and beverage items based on different factors. These include weather conditions, time of day, and behavioral data. Web personalization is typically categorized into three levels. Basic – This involves simple personalization techniques, such as addressing the user by their first name. Intermediate – More advanced; this level of personalization includes strategies like recommending products or other content to users. Advanced – This highest level of personalization involves real-time adjustments to content based on factors like user behavior. Four types of web personalization strategies Businesses can adopt various strategies to improve user experience and increase conversions. Some of the most effective personalization strategies include behavioral, contextual, geolocation, and predictive targeting. Behavioral targeting This involves analyzing visitors' browsing behavior, such as visited pages, time spent on the site, and click-through rates, to provide personalized content recommendations and offers. Contextual targeting This uses the context of the visitor's current session, such as the search terms, the referring URL, and the device used, to present content that meets their needs. Geolocation targeting This is when personalized content is delivered based on the visitor's location. The aim is to help them find nearby services or products. Predictive targeting This involves personalizing content based on machine learning algorithms. These algorithms analyze the vast data collected on visitor behavior, preferences, and needs. Then, it predicts which personalized content is likely to convert each visitor. What is a headless CMS? A headless content management system (CMS) is a back-end-only CMS where content is stored and managed. Content is accessed and displayed on a front-end system, such as a smartphone screen, via an application programming interface (API). The API enables the front end and back end to communicate with each other. A headless CMS enables businesses to quickly deliver personalized content to users regardless of their channel or device. Headless CMS can help businesses achieve web personalization faster In a headless CMS, personalization involves using the data stored in the CMS to tailor the content delivered in real time to each user. This can be done based on user behavior and physical location. Headless CMS also allows businesses to personalize content across multiple channels and devices. Composable DXPs like Contentstack with a headless architecture make it easier to provide personalized user experiences. This is because they empower businesses to take a template-based approach to web personalization. In composable DXPs, the front end calls appropriate content stored on the back end based on user behavior and location. The front end could be a laptop screen or an app viewed on a smartphone. Unlike traditional platforms like WordPress, a composable DXP with headless CMS is not coupled with one website or “head.” Instead, it can deliver content to multiple devices or channels. For example, the Contentstack DXP enables an organization to use different templates for each website locale to deliver localized content. Therefore, five separate templates can be created if a website serves content to five countries in five different languages. Then, the right one automatically shows in real-time based on a user’s location. What does “composable” mean? Being “composable” means a platform can comprise any number of best-in-breed solutions. In other words, your tech stack can be integrated with the platform without limitations on what solutions you can or can’t have. Composable frameworks enable separate independent solutions to communicate with each other while maintaining their autonomy seamlessly. This means adding new systems without impacting others or disrupting user experiences. Swap out systems whenever you want and add new solutions as technology evolves in the future. There’s no need to take down and build new websites. Instead, you can update the look and functionality of a site or add new channels when the timing is right. Here’s an overview of some composable DXPs' benefits beyond improving web personalization. Omnichannel content deployment Seamlessly optimize and push marketing campaigns across multiple channels. These include browsers, apps, tablets, IoT devices, kiosks, smartwatches, voice assistants, and more. Improved collaboration Business users gain the agility to deploy or update services and content on the fly without worrying about breaking infrastructure or causing unplanned downtime. And because the front end and back end are managed separately, developers and designers have more flexibility to use each channel’s format to its fullest without back-end constraints. More consistent branding Content assets are organized in editable modules that are easy to find and optimize as brand messaging evolves. This means marketing teams can create content one time and then deliver it with a unified brand voice across all touchpoints. Insight-driven decisions Data from content marketing, customer support, and sales teams uses APIs in real time. Combined with integrated analytics solutions, this data can provide actionable consumer insights that empower businesses to make more informed decisions. Challenges and considerations While providing web personalization using a headless, composable DXP offers many benefits, it also comes with challenges. These include data privacy concerns, the need for advanced technical skills, and the complexity of managing and analyzing large amounts of data. Template-based website personalization tools and strategies Template-based web personalization tools enable businesses to improve user experience by providing tailored content and design without compromising site performance. These tools can leverage the same data-based algorithms as advanced personalization strategies but are simpler to implement. Using templates makes implementing web personalization easier, more manageable, and more effective. Steps to implement web personalization in a headless environment: Implementing web personalization in a headless environment requires five steps. Identify the visitor segments that you want to target with personalized experiences. Collect data about the users in these segments, including user behavior, preferences, and demographics. Use algorithms to recommend content that matches the user preferences and behavior. Perform A/B testing of different versions of content and then optimize personalization strategies based on the results. Monitor personalized experiences and make adjustments when needed. Before taking these steps, you must choose and implement the right headless, composable DXP. Learn more Remember, web personalization is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance user experience, drive engagement, and foster brand loyalty. A headless, composable DXP provides businesses with a flexible and efficient way to achieve web personalization. Schedule a free demo today if you’d like to learn how Contentstack can help your organization with its web personalization strategy.
Future-proofing responsive web design with headless CMS
Headless web integration: the future of superior digital experiences
Headless web integration is emerging as a game-changer in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Offering unparalleled flexibility and scalability, it revolutionizes how businesses deliver content across multiple channels for improved digital experiences. Digital experiences are more important than ever and can no longer be left to chance. Instead, organizations that want to stay ahead must develop digital strategies to meet or exceed customer expectations. Why is this important? The one-size-fits-all approach no longer results in customer satisfaction. Consumers not only want to be engaged with relevant, helpful content aimed at their needs, they expect it. According to the Twilio Customer Engagement Report 2023, 86% of consumers said personalized experiences increase their loyalty to specific brands. And 60% said they will quit a brand if their experience wasn’t personalized. This blog aims to shed light on the concept of headless integration, its importance in today's tech stack, and how it helps businesses enhance digital experiences as they scale. What does “headless” mean? Headless is a core principle of MACH, a revolutionary business approach that supports speed and agility. MACH is an acronym that stands for: Microservices – lightweight applications that can be deployed, maintained, and scaled independently API-first – application programming interface (API) technology connects services to create a composable ecosystem that can be rearranged as needed Cloud-native – delivered as a service by an outside vendor for limitless scalability Headless architecture decouples presentation and logic, enabling endless integrations and channel-independent service delivery. When all these capabilities come together, marketing departments and IT teams can finally deliver relevant omnichannel digital experiences. The “head” in “headless” refers to the touchpoints where customers are engaged. This might be a mobile app or an online shopping site. Headless platforms differ from legacy platforms like WordPress, which only have one “head” – a website. Headless platforms ' content stored on the back end can be delivered to multiple heads. There’s no limit to how many heads your headless content management system (CMS) can have. This makes it easier for businesses to add new channels as technology evolves. Since content is stored and managed on the back end, messaging, and branding remain consistent across every channel. This is true regardless of how many there are. Decoupling plays a crucial role in headless integration The separation between the front-end and back-end in headless integration allows each area to be developed and updated independently. This has many advantages. Flexibility: Developers can use any technology they prefer for the front-end, while the back end focuses solely on managing data and content. Scalability: The front-end can scale more efficiently to meet growing user demands without being limited by the back end. Speed: By reducing dependencies between the front-end and back-end, updates and changes can be implemented faster. Enhanced Security: Improving the security of websites and applications by isolating the content from the presentation. This makes it more difficult for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the presentation layer. The significance of headless integration in today's tech stack cannot be overstated. But above all, it empowers businesses to deliver dynamic, personalized digital experiences. This helps them meet customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition. Decoupled CMS vs. headless CMS While the back and front-end are decoupled in headless CMS, there are also hybrid decoupled CMSes. Decoupled CMS platforms come with an optional built-in front-end layer. This allows developers to use the included interface or build their own. Understanding headless architecture To understand headless architecture better, look at APIs, static site generators, and composability. APIs An API serves as the communication bridge between the front-end and back-end of headless CMSes. The back end is where content is stored and managed. The front end controls how it’s delivered to different channels and devices. APIs are also used to integrate third-party software into headless platforms. For example, when a customer interacts with a website page, localization software can instantly gather data to deliver product details and other content in their language. A common misconception is that a headless CMS is merely an API. However, a headless CMS offers much more than just an API. Unlike a traditional CMS, a headless CMS separates content creation, management, and presentation. This allows for content editing and management across different platforms. In contrast, a traditional CMS intertwines content management with content presentation, limiting flexibility and scalability. Static site generators Static site generators like Gatsby are essential to the headless tech stack. They combine data, content, and templates to generate the user interfaces that display on web pages and app screens. These differ from static web pages created in traditional legacy CMS systems from code. Gatsby, an open-source static site generator, enables developers to build fast, secure, and robust web apps by pre-rendering pages at build time. These generators contribute significantly to improved user interfaces and efficient digital content creation in headless environments. There are several static generators besides Gatsby. Your IT team may prefer Next.js, React or Metalsmith. Fortunately, headless CMS platforms like Contentstack allow you to choose your preferred front-end framework. Composability Composability is a crucial principle of headless platforms. Composability enables organizations to create custom tech stacks of best-in-breed solutions tailored to their needs. Consider these solutions modular building blocks that can be added, removed, or updated independently. Because each is self-contained, changes to one solution do not impact other functionality, services, or channels. Yet, these modules can work seamlessly together via APIs for excellent results. This flexibility future-proofs businesses because they can update their products, services, websites or other channels as often as needed. They can roll out multiple new websites, apps and integrations without taking down existing ones, for example, or add a new feature like chat to a site without impacting other functionality. The point is there is no disruption to the customer experience. How headless benefits marketing and IT teams Headless web integration offers many advantages for marketing and IT teams. Here’s an overview of the benefits for each team. Marketing Marketing teams are empowered to create, change, and publish content without any coding experience or technical expertise. They can create campaigns and push various content types to multiple platforms and channels with incredible speed and efficiency—the days of creating tickets and waiting in line for developers to make updates or launch campaigns end. Creating content once and repurposing it for other sites and channels becomes simpler. Making updates to content once and pushing it to multiple digital channels eliminates the need for repetitive changes in multiple locations and systems. Workflows and access controls can be customized to ensure the correct approvers can make changes or approve content before publication. Composability makes it easy to add the latest and greatest marketing tools to the mix as technology advances, business goals evolve, and customer needs change. IT teams Rather than mundane ticket requests, developers can focus on targeted API functionality and features to improve digital experiences. Scaling apps and rolling out new sites and channels become easier because these can be deployed independently. Rushed overnight deployments or site downtime to release new functionality become a thing of the past. Each team focuses on what it does best As you can see, headless platforms enable marketing and IT teams to do what they do best. This reduces friction between the two departments and promotes collaboration while encouraging both to focus on different aspects of the same goal: delivering better digital experiences. At the same time, leadership can focus on growth with the confidence that their marketing and IT teams can act with the speed and agility needed to keep their websites and other channels up to date. This is true whether the business aspires to move into new territory, launch a new service or add new channels. Achieving the end goal: better customer experiences With headless platforms like Contentstack, delivering personalized and relevant content becomes the standard rather than the exception. The result is improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, making the investment in composable and headless platforms worth the resources invested. A Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) study demonstrates an ROI of 295% with composable architecture. Headless web integration holds immense potential for revolutionizing digital experiences. Its impact on user experiences, content delivery, and scalability is profound, offering businesses a dynamic solution for their digital content needs. As we move toward a more integrated digital future, embracing headless web integration could be the key to staying ahead of the curve.
Content Management and Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Content Ops
Summary: Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used in content management to analyze, categorize, tag images, personalize, and create content more quickly. AI can identify content gaps so businesses can capture more traffic and increase revenue and conversions. AI-enabled customer service can provide instantaneous and around-the-clock support. Contentstack offers apps and integrations with best-in-class AI tools such as IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, and MonkeyLearn to allow businesses to benefit from using AI for their content operations. Artificial intelligence is changing the world, one everyday task at a time. Have you ever used a navigation app to find your way to a destination? Then, you very likely benefited from artificial intelligence that crunched data at a super-fast speed to show you the best and fastest route. And we know you've used email. You can thank AI for modern email features like automatic spam filters and categorizations that make email more manageable. Considering how AI can be applied to various verticals, it only makes sense that there are plenty of applications in content management. Read on to find out how AI is already powering content teams, where it could go, and how you can integrate with content management systems (CMS) and artificial intelligence to future-proof your content operations. What is Artificial Intelligence? Artificial intelligence (AI for short) is a term that describes a machine performing human activities. Several capabilities fall under the umbrella of AI: Machine learning is when a machine automatically learns something new without being programmed. Natural language processing is when a machine reads human language. Natural language generation is when a machine writes or speaks in a human language. AI was created to complete these tasks faster (sometimes better) than humans. Regarding content ops, combining content management and artificial intelligence is an excellent tool for giving workers back the time they need to perform more complex tasks that still require a human brain. 4 Ways Content Management & Artificial Intelligence Are Already Impacting Content Ops Using AI in content management systems can be beneficial because the AI excels at processing and understanding vast data pools and automating routine tasks, resulting in the following benefits: improved digital experience, improved user experiences, enhanced consumer experiences, increased return on investment, expose new opportunities, and inform intelligent business decisions. In this section, we'll explore how AI is helping businesses take advantage of these benefits by up-leveling content generation and management across various stages of the content operations workflow. Need a competitive advantage, digital strategy transformation, efficient delivery of personalized content across multiple channels, or need to adapt swiftly to market changes? Download the Ultimate Guide to Headless CMS to learn how a headless CMS can drive business growth, customer satisfaction, and revenue-generating digital experiences. 1. Smart Content Analysis and Categorization One fantastic thing that artificial intelligence can do is analyze a piece of content to identify its sentiment and overall tone. This is important for helping content managers quickly determine whether a part of the content is suitable for their audience or needs some tweaking before it can engage the intended consumer. IBM Watson, for example, uses AI to automate content categorization, text labeling, sentiment analysis, keyword extraction, and more. 2. Automatic Image Tagging Images enhance your content and can increase consumer engagement. Unfortunately, there's almost nothing less engaging for content creators than manually tagging image after image for search and SEO purposes. But it's still a critical task. And that is what makes it an excellent job for AI. Recently, AI-powered automated image recognition has gotten smart enough to tag images in seconds—letting your content creators return to more profound work. 3. Scalable Personalization and Predictions AI also brings scalability to another important but nearly impossible task for human workers: tracking and using individual user behavior. AI can automate watching what each user on your website or app is doing simultaneously. Then, it can compile this data to look for patterns that will help it predict, based on past behavior, what each user might want next. This information can uplevel any marketing department's personalization efforts, from serving dynamic content to making product recommendations. And improving personalization has never been more critical. In the words of the management consulting firm McKinsey, “Personalization will be the prime driver of marketing success within five years." They found that leaders in personalization were already able to increase revenue by 5 to 15% and improve efficiency on marketing spend by 10 to 30%. 4. Time-Saving Content Creation Assistance And now for the big one: AI can be a big help when it comes to actually creating content. While the advance of AI integration into content creation may feel scary for some marketing professionals, an article created by Articoolo's artificial intelligence system, “A robot explains how to achieve the perfect work-life balance,” shows that there is a long way to go before "robots" will be able to match the tone or accuracy of human writers. Artificial intelligence is rapidly improving at creating original and personalized content ideas or nuanced content pieces. However, a well-trained AI tool should be able to contribute to straightforward writing projects such as news articles, factual reports, translations, transcriptions, and editing for accuracy. For now, in the content creation space, AI is a tool for improving the ROI of content marketing, which can often be resource-intensive. AI can do the legwork regarding research and data, while human writers can take this info and do the deep work required to create high-value, relevant content for each target customer. Imagining the Future of AI in Content Management Now that we've explored the main areas in which content management and artificial intelligence are already coming together to improve content operations, let's talk about a few ways AI may improve marketing even more. Interactions Between AI Tools Suppose you've used your voice-activated smart speaker (like a Google Home) to control something in your house (like turning on an smart-light from Philips Hue). In that case, you've experienced an interaction between two different AI-powered devices. And similar interactions are in store for the future of AI-powered tools in the content operations space. It's only a matter of time before AI-enabled content management systems (CMS) and other content platforms and tools can interact in innovative, automatic ways to provide faster functionality and better experiences for consumers and marketers alike. On-the-Spot SEO Improvements Taking the idea of sentiment analysis one step further, we predict that AI-enabled content management systems will soon be able to identify opportunities for SEO improvements in real time. This capability would empower marketing professionals to create more compelling content in less time, which will outperform competitors and rank well in search engines. Prepare your organization to respond to evolving market demands, new business threats, and emerging opportunities. The Gartner report guides you on modernizing and future-proofing your Digital Experience Platform (DXP). Download the Gartner report, "Future-proof your tech stack," to begin your journey towards a more agile, adaptable, and future-ready tech stack today. Content Gap Identification When you're in the thick of it all, it can be hard to see where your content may be lacking (or where your competitors' content may be lacking). But both situations allow you to fill those "gaps" and capture more traffic. One day, we hope AI will become smart enough to flag gaps and make recommendations so you can create fresh content that adds value and generates new leads. Customer Service Automation Customer service is another one of those expensive yet necessary parts of business. Fortunately, it can become less time- and money-intensive with the help of AI. Just like AI enables content folks to focus on deep work, AI-powered chatbots can facilitate customer service folks to do the same. While many of today's chatbots can address straightforward questions with answers pulled from a knowledge base, we look forward to when many queries don't have to be routed back to human agents. After all, it's the instantaneous and around-the-clock support consumers seek when interacting with brand chatbots. Get Started with Content Management and Artificial Intelligence with Contentstack The future of content ops is bright, thanks to content management and artificial intelligence. Your business can become a part of that bright future by adopting a composable CMS built to integrate with AI-enabled content management tools. And we only know one CMS of the sort: Contentstack. Contentstack is an agile CMS that’s part of the MACH revolution. That means it’s microservices-based, API-connected, cloud-native, and is built on headless architecture from the ground up. Because of Contentstack's decoupled nature, almost any modern, AI-powered content management tool can help your team with everything from automated content analysis to intelligent content creation and generation. Our turnkey apps and integrations with best-in-class tools like IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, and MonkeyLearn empower Contentstack users to leverage AI and reap various benefits. To get started, sign up for a free trial or a personalized demo today and see why the future of your content operation lies in your ability to integrate content management and artificial intelligence with the help of Contentstack.
Leveraging headless CMS for optimal page speed optimization and performance
A website's performance is critical in ensuring user satisfaction and improving bottom-line results. Thus, website speed, particularly the time it takes for a web page to load, has become an essential factor that marketing managers and developers must prioritize.A slow website can lead to lost traffic, decreased user engagement, and lower search engine rankings. Studies indicate that even a one-second delay in page loading time can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions.On the other hand, a fast website can result in increased user engagement, a lower bounce rate, and higher page views per session, which translates into higher search engine rankings.This blog will explore how a headless content management system (CMS) can improve page speed on desktop and mobile devices. We'll look more closely at the benefits of page speed optimization and how to achieve it using headless CMS.What is a headless CMS?First, let's understand what a headless CMS is and how it differs from a traditional CMS. A headless CMS is a content management system without a built-in front end. Instead of a traditional CMS's complete website management approach, a headless CMS separates the data and content on the back end from the presentation layer on the front end.The headless CMS provides APIs so the back-end and front-end can seamlessly communicate. This capability enables content to be called up and delivered to the front end, which developers build and maintain using static site generators like React, Angular, or Vue.How a headless CMS improves page speed optimizationHere's where page speed optimization's benefits come into play. With headless architecture, since the front end doesn't store or manage content, it can be optimized for speed and performance. This capability includes images, scripts, and server responses. Many front-end systems can also plug into a headless CMS to deliver consistent content to multiple devices and platforms, not just websites.One of the practical features of a headless CMS is that it allows for Content Delivery NetworkCDN) integration. A CDN acts as an intermediary server between the website and users in different parts of the world. By locally caching website components, a CDN can deliver content faster and reduce server response time, significantly improving website performance and speed.Case studies of companies implementing headless CMS include a well-known UK-based fashion retailer. The company reportedly improved its website's speed with headless CMS, enabling a 4x increase in page views per session and decreasing the bounce rate by 35%.By fixing common issues causing low page speed, a headless CMS enhances individual page performance and overall website speed. Slow-loading images and bloated scripts contribute to poor performance. With a headless CMS, developers can build a front-end that optimizes the size and quality of images and limits unnecessary scripts. A headless CMS can help boost website speed and overall performance by correctly leveraging server responses.Using techniques such as caching, CDNs, and image optimization to improve page speed helps to cache and compress content, reduce file size, and deliver content faster to users' browsers.Another way headless CMS can affect website speed optimization is by reducing server requests and server-side rendering. Creating server-side templates to generate HTML content is crucial for website speed optimization. With a headless CMS, the site is built in HTML and fully optimized for web crawlers and search engines. Additionally, server requests can be minimized as the website assets are spread between the client and server. This feature further assists in speeding up the website and reducing latency for the user.Another significant benefit of headless CMS is the flexibility it provides. A headless CMS enables businesses to build the front end using their preferred development tools and languages. The ability to choose the best tools for creating the front end helps ensure websites are faster, more responsive, and easier to maintain.Overall, headless CMS solutions offer extensive customization options. Developers can build websites specifically tailored to meet their needs and those of their customers. This approach provides a unique and highly engaging user experience, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.Headless can improve both page load time and TTFB.It's worth noting that headless the time to first byte (TTFB) and page load time. Page load time is the total time it takes to load a web page into a web browser. TTFB, on the other hand, measures the time between a user request and the reception of the first byte of data from the server. A high TTFB may lead to slower website performance. A Headless CMS allows developers to improve TTFB and overall site speed, resulting in faster loading times.Seamless mobile experiencesMobile-first is the new norm in website design and development, with users increasingly accessing websites from their smartphones and tablets. A headless CMS allows for responsive design and the ability to optimize the mobile experience separately from the desktop experience.Optimizing mobile apart from the desktop experience can include:Reducing the size of images and other media.Organizing scripts to load more efficiently.Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly and easy for those on the go.A headless CMS can improve website loading times and overall user experience for seamless mobile experiences.Why does page speed matter?Over a decade ago, Google announced that it would consider desktop page speed when analyzing search rankings. Then, in 2018, Google said it would also begin thinking about page speed for mobile searches. Mobile searches are the main reason it's so important to measure page speed against industry benchmarks for mobile and desktop searches and then continuously work toward improving performance.It's believed that when two sites rank similarly on Google, speed can be the deciding factor in one outranking the other.Speed tests like Google PageSpeed Insights help developers identify and rectify page speed issues. It tests speed and provides recommendations on how to improve it. Besides PageSpeed Insights, there are a variety of tools available for testing speed, including, but not limited to:SematextPingdom Speed TestWebPage TestDareBoostDotcom-monitorUptrendsGTmetrixSince search engines like Google consider page speed in their rankings, optimizing speed can boost your rankings in search results. Here's more information on how page speed impacts conversion rates and search engine ranking.And since most users are on mobile devices, faster mobile site performance is particularly crucial, as search engines prioritize mobile-first indexing.As you might imagine, page speed improvements also enhance conversion rates, ensuring online shoppers have a seamless and enjoyable user experience while navigating your site. It makes perfect sense since pages that load faster tend to have lower bounce rates, an indicator of better user engagement.Remember, a bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages on the site. Most websites aim for a bounce rate of 40% or lower. A lower bounce rate typically translates to a higher conversion rate. It makes sense that the longer a user stays on a site (e.g., an e-commerce site) viewing different pages, the more likely they'll convert to a customer by making a purchase.Recap: how to improve page speed optimization and performanceOne of the primary ways to increase the loading speed of a website is by optimizing the image and script files. By compressing image files, you can reduce the loading time, and by eliminating unnecessary scripts, you can boost website performance. Mobile page speed optimizations can be quickly implemented with a headless CMS.Another essential way to improve website performance is by reducing server response times. Customers prefer fast and efficient websites, and a slow server response time reduces click-through rates and conversions. With a headless CMS, you can ensure faster response times by setting up caching mechanisms that help customers access frequently accessed data faster.A CDN can also help optimize page speed. A CDN can be beneficial if your website has users worldwide as it caches content on its servers distributed globally. When a customer accesses your website, the CDN delivers the content from the server closest to their location, resulting in faster load speed.These improvements can provide seamless customer experiences on websites and mobile devices in the long run. The result is happier customers who will keep coming back.Ready to go headlessA headless CMS like Contentstack is a powerful tool for optimizing page speed and website performance. Its flexible architecture lets developers focus on front-end development while ensuring faster server response times and efficient back-end processes. By improving website speed and user experience, businesses can enhance their conversion rates, improve their SEO rankings, and generate higher revenue.Whether you're a marketer, CMO, or developer, optimizing your website's page speed can provide numerous benefits, and there's no better time to get started than now.Learn moreDiscover how to drive seamless digital customer experiences with a composable UX, as advised by Gartner. Learn to develop an organization-wide digital experience strategy and apply total experience principles to bridge the gap in digital experiences. Understand the importance of customer data management and journey intelligence in achieving a composable UX. Overcome the challenges of siloed UX approaches and monolithic technologies to deliver consistent experiences across channels. Download the report today.