Headless CMS blog
Read everything on headless CMS technology, tips, best practices, and how-tos
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.
Why composable architecture is the future of digital experience
As digital experiences rapidly evolve, more enterprises should consider moving to a composable digital experience platform. Should your business be one of them?If you haven’t started your journey to composable architecture, read on to learn:Why experts say composable architecture is the way of the futurePotential benefits of a composable digital experience platform (DXP)How to get started and why being “fully composable” mattersWhat is a composable DXP?The composable DXP is the most recent concept to emerge in the evolution of the digital experience from its beginnings when enterprise content was limited to a static website viewed on a desktop where customers could find information about a brick-and-mortar business.With no need to frequently update or publish to multiple digital channels, a monolithic architecture was the answer to publishing enterprise content. Businesses would purchase a predetermined set of tools designed by one vendor.Then came the smartphone, which led to today’s e-commerce landscape, where consumers shop online on many devices and digital channels. Monolithic platforms, which require developers to code any changes to content, cannot keep up.The composable DXP is the latest solution for businesses aiming to delight customers, increase customer loyalty, improve customer experience management, and serve customers across multiple digital channels and devices. A composable DXP uses a headless CMS as the foundation for a content hub where microservices are delivered via independent APIs, allowing content to be quickly and easily deployed across channels.Why a composable DXP is the way of the futureAs businesses are transitioning through digital transformation and as digital commerce evolves, customers not only expect to be able to interact with your digital products and services; they expect a seamless and personalized experience. Monolithic systems, which require IT teams to code every change and update, can’t rapidly respond to customer preferences and publish fresh omnichannel content.According to Gartner Research, businesses can no longer meet their objectives with monolithic platforms. In its 2021 report “Drive seamless digital customer experiences with composable UX,” Gartner predicted that by 2023, analyzing and understanding the nature of enduring changes in customer behavior will be a crucial factor for organizations in determining the most influential business strategies for the remainder of the 2020 and organizations that adopt a composable approach will outpace competition by 80% in implementing new features.Potential benefits of a composable DXPA composable DXP offers many benefits for enterprise marketing and IT teams, which can positively impact the success of the overall business. These include:Flexibility, scalability, and faster developmentComposable architecture allows organizations to choose and combine a unique mix of best-in-breed tools and microservices and to change this mix as business needs evolve quickly. The modularity of composable architecture supports the seamless integration of these independent best-in-breed solutions. Components and building blocks can be added, removed, and recombined in composable architecture quickly without downtime. The ability to deploy services independently to multiple websites and channels from one central hub enables enterprises to scale faster and more efficiently as needed.Speed and agilityBecause the tools and microservices in composable architecture are modular – meaning they work as independent components or APIs – each can be updated incrementally as needed without impacting other tools, services, or channels. Organizations become more agile, improving their experience strategy as marketing and IT teams are empowered to act faster to keep pace with changing customer expectations by providing more up-to-date content experiences.Ease of useWithout coding or technical expertise, marketing teams can modify user interfaces and content experiences without opening tickets and waiting for developers to fulfill requests. Workflow governance for multiple sites and channels is managed from one central hub with customizable user controls, ensuring the right persons have approved content before rollout.Rapid innovationMonolithic platforms have complex pain points that require hundreds of hours of development time and resources to upgrade and maintain with heavy reliance on tech teams. A composable platform is more manageable for IT to upgrade as technology evolves because new apps and integrations can be launched independently. Major website overhauls become a thing of the past. Free from mundane marketing requests and maintenance, IT can focus on innovation and delivering better customer experiences.Increased ROIA composable DXP reduces both development and publishing time, resulting in reduced costs and an increased profit.Real-time feedbackWebsite analytics, social media, customer relationship management, and other data sources collected via the tools and microservices in a composable architecture can provide a complete picture of your customers in real time. This enables the personalization and up-to-date, relevant content experiences that customers expect.Omnichannel content deploymentIn a composable DXP built with a headless CMS, the creation of content and the channels where it’s published are mutually independent. This allows marketers to maintain a responsive presence across digital channels and devices from one central hub by seamlessly and rapidly optimizing and pushing out marketing campaigns to reach customers where they are.Getting started on the journey to composable architectureIf your current digital experience solution is holding you back from experiencing the benefits above, it may be time to switch to a composable DXP. But where do you begin?Start by listing everything that isn’t working in your current platform. Consider the parts of your current system that are working well to meet the needs of your business and whether those needs will change soon. This will help clarify which apps, mobile apps, and microservices you should include in your future solution and how to approach implementing it.Transitioning to composable doesn’t necessarily mean throwing out your current system and starting with something new. Based on your assessment of what’s working and not working, you may want to adopt a gradual approach by implementing composable applications in crucial areas where it could make the most impact and where your monolithic platform is slowing you down.Finding the right composable DXPOnce you’ve decided on the best approach, it’s time to research solutions. If you decide on a gradual process, ensure the vendor you choose can help your organization reach its goal of going fully compostable.Many vendors currently market their platforms as “composable architecture” even though they aren’t fully composable. Instead, they sell platforms built on monolithic architecture that offer composable functionality, such as plugging in some APIs or integrating with specific microservices.A fully composable DXP, on the other hand, is built on a composable architecture rather than a monolithic. A headless CMS at its foundation separates the back-end coding from the endpoints, such as your website interface. Instead of being one centrally controlled system, it’s a variety of independently managed solutions that work cohesively from one central hub.Does being ‘fully composable’ really matter?If you’re wondering if it makes a difference whether a DXP is fully composable or not, it matters a great deal. A DXP built on monolithic architecture will not deliver all the great benefits of a fully composable platform we’ve covered in this blog. It will have many limitations that a fully composable platform won’t have.One of the most notable differences is with monolithic architecture; the vendor controls the type of technology that you can and cannot use. Your organization will only sometimes have the flexibility to choose and leverage the best available apps and microservices for success as your business grows. This is especially important moving into the future as technology continues to evolve and new options become available.A fully composable DXP provides the flexibility to choose the best solutions now and later so your organization can always leverage the most up-to-date technology tools it requires for success. A fully composable architecture puts you in control of creating a unique DXP that will evolve to continuously align with business needs without being limited by a vendor.Learn moreReady to embark on your journey towards composable architecture and transformative digital experiences? Discover insights in the report "Drive seamless digital customer experiences with composable UX," and learn how to develop an organization-wide digital experience strategy.Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack’s composable digital experience platform can help future-proof your enterprise.
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.
What’s new: the latest on platform enhancements, roadmap and FAQs
Introducing the New Contentstack Help Center: Stay productive and stay informed, right
Guess what, haven’t you heard? About the new Contentstack Help Center! You now have the ability to access extensive documentation, relevant content recommendations, and comprehensive learning resources without ever leaving the platform. With the Help Center, users of all types can access valuable resources and guidance for continuous learning and growth within the Contentstack ecosystem. Are you ready to see what it can do? AI-Powered Assistance: With our integrated AI, you can now engage in real-time conversations and receive curated responses that are tailored to your specific queries. No more sifting through generic information or waiting for human assistance. Our AI-powered assistant is here to provide instant, accurate, and personalized support. Instant Documentation: We're excited to unveil a game-changing feature that will revolutionize your workflow - Instant Documentation Access. With just a simple click, you can now access our comprehensive documentation site without ever leaving the app Effortless Search: Our advanced search algorithm is designed to understand your query and deliver precise results. Whether you're searching for a specific topic, troubleshooting steps, or detailed instructions, our search feature will streamline your journey and help you find what you need in a snap. Tailored Suggestions: With context-aware recommendations, you'll receive targeted suggestions that align with your current needs. Whether you're exploring a specific feature, encountering an error message, or seeking best practices, our system will intelligently analyze your context and provide you with helpful recommendations. Additional Resources: No matter where you are in our app, you can rely on the "Additional Resources" section to provide you with quick access to a variety of helpful links. Here are just a few of the essentials you'll find: Chat with Support: For assistance, the option to engage in a conversation with the Support Team is available. By selecting the 'Chat with Support' option, queries can be addressed and solutions can be found. Documentation:Dive into our comprehensive documentation to explore guides, tutorials, FAQs, and more. It's your go-to resource for in-depth information and step-by-step instructions. What's New: Stay up-to-date with the latest features, updates, and improvements with Contentstack Pulse. Leave Feedback: We value your feedback and want to hear from you! use the "leave feedback" link share thoughts, suggestions, or report any issues you may encounter. Status Page: Wondering if there are any ongoing maintenance or server issues? The "Status Page" link provides real-time updates on system status, ensuring you're always informed. Community: Connect with other users, ask questions, and share insights in our vibrant community. The "Community" link is your gateway to a network of like-minded individuals who can offer support and inspiration. Using the Help Center is like tapping into the collective wisdom of Contentstack experts. It's designed to ensure that you have a smooth, productive, and enjoyable experience while using our app. So, are you ready to revolutionize your Contentstack experience? Click the help sign within the app, open the Help Center, and embark on a journey of discovery. Don’t have an account? Don’t worry, check out our Developer Fast Track here. Let's make your Contentstack experience not just good, but exceptional!
Benefits of Live Preview: Now with GraphQL support
While a headless content management system (CMS) architecture offers flexibility and scalability, it also introduces complexities when it comes to visualizing and testing content changes before publishing. Previewing content changes within a headless CMS presents challenges and pain points that business users and developers must address. That’s why we developed our dynamic Live Preview feature, which introduces omnichannel previewing functionality, greatly enhancing our users' content creation and editing experience. It allows real-time visualization of how content will appear on the final user interface, eliminating the need for constant toggling between editing and preview modes. By providing a seamless and accurate representation of content, Live Preview significantly streamlines the content creation process. Now with GraphQL support, we take Live Preview a step further. GraphQL provides developers with an alternative approach to querying data, in addition to REST. GraphQL introduces a paradigm shift by allowing developers to define the structure of their desired data on the back-end. This empowers developers to formulate syntactically precise requests and combine various data types into one response, tailoring it to their specific use case. This flexibility is a key feature of GraphQL, as developers can shape the data retrieval to match their application's needs, ensuring they use the right tool for the right job. Key benefits Contentstack’s implementation and architecture of Live Preview has emerged as a game-changer in headless CMS. By facilitating a dynamic preview of the content in its final layout, this feature brings many advantages that transform the content creation process into a more efficient, accurate, and collaborative endeavor. It benefits content managers by improving efficiency and content accuracy and empowers developers to build and fine-tune the front-end interface with a clearer understanding of the end result. For business users WYSIWYG experience: Live Preview provides a "What You See Is What You Get" experience, empowering business users to comprehend the final look and feel of the content. This leads to accurate content creation without the need for constant back-and-forths. Omnichannel content preview: Content managers can seamlessly preview content across multiple platforms, such as mobile, tablets, and desktops. They can also check the responsiveness of their content by changing the aspect ratio, creating a truly omnichannel experience. Streamlined approvals: With an accurate preview, stakeholders can make quicker decisions regarding content approval, as they can now visualize how the content will appear to end-users. Content accuracy: Business users can ensure content accuracy by seeing it in its final layout. This is particularly crucial for content that involves complex formatting or multimedia elements. Time and effort savings: The seamless preview experience eliminates the need to switch between editing and preview modes, saving valuable time for content managers and allowing them to focus more on creating high-quality content. Engagement enhancement: By visualizing the content exactly as users see it, business users can fine-tune their content for better engagement and user experience, leading to improved outcomes. For developers NEW! GraphQL support: With GraphQL for Live Preview, we bring the capability of real-time data preview to support GraphQL from new Live Preview APIs. A primary advantage of GraphQL is its ability to prevent overfetching and underfetching of data, enabling developers to request exactly the data they need, reducing unnecessary data transfer and the need for multiple API calls. Real-time feedback loop: Developers can witness their front-end coding efforts materialize instantly with the actual content, allowing them to promptly identify and rectify design inconsistencies or layout issues. Efficient iterations: Live Preview accelerates the iterative process. Developers can fine-tune templates, styles, and layouts in real time, significantly reducing the development lifecycle. Content-Design Synchronization: By previewing content exactly as it will appear, developers can ensure that their design aligns perfectly with the content, eliminating any mismatches that might arise during the integration phase. Debugging ease: Any issues with content integration, such as formatting problems or content overflow, can be identified and resolved early in the development process, minimizing debugging efforts later on. Enhanced collaboration: Developers can collaborate more effectively with content managers, making on-the-fly adjustments based on immediate visual feedback, leading to a smoother and more productive partnership. Real-world use cases Preview content in real-time Content managers always preview their content before deploying it to production. Until now, you had to use a different preview website or a preview extension for this purpose. These separate sites or extensions require you to save and publish the content to preview the corresponding live website. With Live Preview, you can edit your content and view the changes you make in real time without saving or publishing to a live website! Test content changes Suppose you have made the necessary changes to your entries and want to check how they would look on the live website. You can do so via the Live Preview pane. Live Preview lets you preview content changes across different environments, such as development, staging, and production. You can update an entry and view how it would look across multiple environments in real time. Test omnichannel content Say you want to preview how your content will appear on various digital platforms. With Live Preview, you can seamlessly preview content across mobiles, tablets, and desktops, creating an omnichannel experience. Contentstack offers an omnichannel preview experience for your entry content that caters to multiple digital channels: Responsive mode: Change the aspect ratio of your webpage. This will immediately change the dimensions of your preview window, thus allowing you to view the responsiveness of your webpage. Mobile mode: Set a specific aspect ratio that is seen on mobile devices, allowing you to preview the responsiveness of your webpage on a mobile device. Tablet mode: Preview the responsiveness of your webpage on a tablet device. Conclusion Live Preview brings a new dawn to the content creation process, catering to the needs of business users and developers alike. This feature fosters collaboration, efficiency, and content accuracy by providing real-time, accurate previews of content in its final layout. While business users can create content that truly resonates with their target audience, developers can streamline their coding and design efforts. The future of content management is not just about storing and delivering content; it's also about offering dynamic, real-time, composable solutions that can adapt to an ever-changing digital landscape. With the addition of GraphQL alongside REST for Live Preview, you can ensure that you work in the most efficient way possible. From news websites to e-commerce platforms, the real-world applications of Live Preview are diverse and transformative. Are you ready to unlock a new era of content management? Dive into our Live Preview documentation and explore where creativity and functionality intertwine to deliver remarkable user experiences.
Better Together: Leveraging Automation Hub with other Contentstack products
Since its release, Contentstack's Automation Hub has been helping digital experience teams introduce automation into their daily operations and workflows. This powerful tool is doing more than just simplifying complex workflows — it's also driving huge value for our customers. It's enabling them to create, manage, and deploy content more efficiently than ever before, transforming how they engage with their audiences.But the magic happens when Automation Hub is combined with other Contentstack products. In this post, we’ll explore how to unlock new levels of efficiency and innovation by pairing Automation Hub with AI Assistant, Marketplace, and Launch to create richer, more impactful digital experiences.Automation Hub + AI AssistantAlthough Automation Hub and AI Assistant usually live at separate ends of the content creation process (AI Assistant helps craft and edit content during the creation process, whereas Automation Hub typically enhances content after it has been created), they can enhance each other extremely well. During the content creation process, AI Assistant brings the power of Artificial Intelligence into the editing process to help writers and editors be more efficient and creative. But, once a clear set of rules and processes are defined (for example, if you’re using AI Assistant to create SEO keyword tags on every entry), and you are asking AI to perform these tasks without any human follow-up (you never change the tags once they’ve been added), you should look at Automation Hub as a way to automation this process. Once you trust AI to perform a task - automate it!With Automation Hub, our AI Connectors (currently available: OpenAI ChatGPT and Azure OpenAI ChatGPT) can re-create a similar process but asynchronously. So, if you were using AI Assistant to do SEO enhancement, you could use Automation Hub to do the same thing. For example, when an entry reaches a specific workflow stage, run an automation that performs the AI enhancement and then push it into another stage for possible review.It’s a great way that the two products can work together and make you more efficient.Automation Hub + MarketplaceThe Contentstack Marketplace is a one-stop destination for enterprises to maximize the efficiency of their marketing technologies and solutions. It offers a range of apps, ready-made extensions, and one-click third-party integrations that can enhance your content management process. Notably, the Marketplace lists and provides installation access to:Automation Hub ConnectorsYou can use These third-party applications with Automation Hub to automate certain tasks. For example, the Smartling Connector helps streamline the translation process by allowing for automatic localization of entries in any selected locale whenever a new entry is created.Automation Hub RecipesThese are pre-packaged automation with pre-built action and trigger steps that users can easily install and configure as needed in their stack. An example of an available recipe simplifying data management leverages the AWS S3 action connector, which can automatically backup entries to your AWS S3 account whenever a new entry is created in Contentstack.These tools offer solutions to various use cases, but one connector pairs particularly well, and teams are using it to automate their front-end deployment and hosting.Automation Hub + LaunchContentstack Launch is a product that allows seamless automated deployment and hosting of Jamstack projects. It fills the gap in the content lifecycle where the presentation layer needs to be hosted and made available to consume on the web.You can automate the deployment process with the Launch Connector for Automation Hub. Here's how:Install the Launch Connector from the Contentstack Marketplace.Set up a trigger in Automation Hub based on a specific event, such as a content update.Configure the Launch Connector to deploy your project whenever the trigger event occurs.This process automates deployment and ensures your content is always up-to-date and available to your audience.ConclusionThe combination of Automation Hub with other Contentstack products provides flexible, powerful, and innovative solutions for content management. Whether using the AI Assistant to generate brand voice prompts, leveraging the Marketplace to streamline your content management process, or automating deployment with Launch, Automation Hub makes it all possible.Ready to explore further? Dive into our Automation Hub documentation and discover how you can unlock the full potential of your digital experience stack with Contentstack's Automation Hub.
Summer platform recap: What’s new and what’s coming for Contentstack
Time certainly does fly and it's exciting to share our summer updates! First off, have you heard the news? Contentstack's Headless CMS has been recognized as a leader for 2023 by IDC MarketScape. This recognition is based on a rigorous evaluation of product and service offerings from various headless CMS vendors.This achievement highlights our commitment to providing top-notch solutions and gives our users and potential clients assurance that they're using a product that's considered a leader in its field.Now, let's dive into those Q2 accomplishments:Contentstack Headless CMSNew ChatGPT featuresYou can now instantly transform your content creation experience with these new ChatGPT features. We've broadened the capabilities of our AI Assistant to offer an even more tailored content creation experience for your unique needs like: Configure custom actions: Create custom commands for your organization to increase team productivity and enable content editors to complete more stuff. Streamlining and personalize your content creation process with a tailored voice and tone that adheres to your brand guidelines.Starter actions and icons: To help you get started, we've included starter actions and icons you can import. Upload the SVG icons to your assets and import the sample action pack to use the starter actions. Then, add the icons of your choice and save. Next, upload the JSON configuration file using the “Import” button.Export/Import functionality: We've added the ability to export and import sets of custom actions. This feature is handy for users supporting multiple stacks as it allows for the easy transfer of actions from one stack to another.Effortless navigation with PaginationAnd also, experience effortless navigation with our new Pagination feature for our core CMS platform. This feature allows users to efficiently manage large content lists by organizing them into easily navigable pages. Instead of scrolling through extensive lists, you can now conveniently navigate through a specific number of rows per page. Pagination significantly enhances tasks like managing a vast library of articles or products.Contentstack MarketplaceDirect integrationsWe're thrilled to share some exciting updates from our Marketplace too! We now offer direct integrations with distinguished partners like Akeneo, Brightcove and Trados.Akeneo's integration is a game-changer, allowing content managers to seamlessly push their product catalog to their eCommerce platform. This offers a major boost in managing and optimizing digital assets.Our Brightcove integration allows customers to efficiently organize and measure their video assets and add them directly to their stack.The new Trados app allows you to translate your Release content and provide localized versions in multiple languages. Productivity enhancementsAdditionally, we've taken productivity to new heights by introducing our Content Calendar and Workflow Kanban app, now available in our Marketplace.Contentstack Automation HubRefine AutomationsWhat about the latest enhancements to Automation Hub? Now, you can refine your automation workflows with Contentstack's Action and Trigger events, which now include support for branches and releases.You can specify the branch and release to be used as part of a trigger or action, offering more precise control and flexibility in your automation processes. This is especially useful when managing extensive development workflows with multiple branches or coordinating the deployment of a set of entries and assets with Contentstack's releases.So, are you as excited about these advancements in our Automation Hub as we are? We can't wait to see how they will streamline your content operations!Contentstack LaunchExpand globally and efficientlyAnd last and of course not least - Contentstack Launch. Get ready to expand your business globally. Contentstack’s availability on Microsoft Azure EU infrastructure means organizations now have the opportunity to leverage powerful content management capabilities directly within the European Union. Contentstack Launch also has updated environments lists and environments settings screens for easy and efficient administration.Phew, that was a lot and we're not done! Let’s look ahead.In the Fall, be on the lookout for:Teams & TaxonomyUsers can effortlessly build streamlined content using powerful tools designed for grouping and categorizing content, enabling efficient organization and easy access to relevant information.Refreshed Help CenterLooking for documentation in a hurry? Our AI-integrated Help Center delivers how-to guides directly within the platform, eliminating the need to search externally and allowing you to focus on the task at hand.Basic Auth Password ProtectionExperience enhanced security with Basic Auth password protection for your Environments on Contentstack Launch, and enjoy the convenience of On-Demand Revalidation (ODR) for your NextJS sites.Composable digital experience platform (DXP)Contentstack's composable digital experience platform (DXP) offers a powerful, streamlined solution to achieve your digital goals. We look forward each month to highlighting our latest enhancements designed to help you get the most out of our platform and the digital experiences you are building.If you're an existing Contentstack user wanting to learn more about these new releases, please contact your Care Without Compromise™ team.Contact our team here if you're curious about how Contentstack can help your brand streamline content to deliver better digital experiences everywhere.Chalo!
Headless web development: what you need to know
Headless web development is more than just a new trend. It’s an evolutionary step in web development that breaks down barriers to flexibility and scalability in traditional website creation. Taking the headless approach, websites can be built much faster, updated frequently, and integrated with other applications to deliver more engaging and interactive user experiences.The shift to headless web development has been driven greatly by the consumer demand for personalized digital experiences on multiple channels, and it’s quickly becoming a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. If you want to create more flexible, scalable, and engaging websites while getting the most from your digital content, headless web development is worth considering.This blog will explain headless web development, highlight the benefits for marketers, content creators, developers, and business teams, provide tips on choosing the right headless content management system (CMS), and more.What is headless web development?In websites built the traditional way, the front-end code is dependent on back-end code and siloed, and any changes to one part require changes to the other. Making updates can be time-consuming and slow. And there’s no easy way to repurpose website content for use on other channels.Headless web development solves these problems by separating the front-end presentation layer from the CMS on the back end. With headless, the job of the front-end code is to display content, while the back-end code stores and manages it. This allows the front end to be developed and maintained independently of the back-end code, making it simpler to update.An application programming interface (API) is different from a CMS. However, APIs are essential for headless platforms because they enable the back to communicate with the user interface (UI) on the front end. APIs also enable connecting the back end to additional “heads” besides the website framework, such as additional websites or mobile apps. So, in essence, even though a headless platform doesn’t have one head – it can connect via APIs to multiple “heads” (e.g., channels, websites, mobile apps).How headless design worksWhen a website is created with a headless design approach, the content is stored in a central repository, such as a headless CMS. The front-end framework or technology delivers this content to the presentation layer. This gives designers and developers more freedom to create the user experience they want without being limited by the capabilities of their CMS.More businesses are shifting to headless design as they adopt microservices architectures. In a microservices architecture, each software application is responsible for a specific task, such as managing content, rendering the UI, or handling payments. These different applications can be integrated to work seamlessly, yet they are independent. This makes it easier to develop and maintain each application without impacting other functionality, and it also enables the scaling of applications over time as your business needs change.With headless design, organizations can also future-proof their websites because they aren’t tied to a specific front-end framework. They can instead easily change front-end technology or even the components in their tech stacks without impacting the CMS. This eliminates the need for lengthy migrations and downtime when changing the look or functionality of your websites.What is the role of the user interface in headless?In headless design, the UI displays the content stored in the headless CMS. The UI can be any front-end framework or technology you choose, such as Gatsby, Next.js, Vue.js, React, and Angular.The UI can create various user experiences, including responsive websites viewable on any device or custom mobile app.The UI is also responsible for handling user interactions, such as clicking links or filling out forms. The UI uses data from the headless CMS to respond to these user interactions in an automated yet meaningful way, often leveraging relevant content personalized for each specific audience.When designing a UI for a headless application, keep these things in mind: the UI should be flexible enough to be used on a variety of devices and platforms, performant enough so that it doesn’t slow down the application, secure to protect user data and accessible to all users including those with disabilities.Using headless architecture to create efficient static sitesIn static website design, headless architecture can be used to create more lightweight, efficient, and secure websites. By decoupling the front end from the back end, developers can use different technologies for each layer, leading to better performance and security.Here are some of the benefits of using headless architecture in static website design:Lightweight and efficientHeadless websites are typically smaller and faster than traditional websites, as they do not have to include the code for the front end. This can lead to faster load times, improved performance, and better SEO.ScalableHeadless websites are easily scaled up or down to meet demand. This makes them ideal for businesses that experience seasonal traffic spikes or need to handle many concurrent users.SecureHeadless websites can be more secure than traditional websites, as the front end is not responsible for storing or processing sensitive data. This helps to protect against data breaches and other security threats.FlexibleHeadless websites give developers more flexibility to choose the technologies they want. This provides more freedom to create custom websites that meet specific business needs.Headless architecture is a powerful tool that can be used to create static websites that are more flexible, scalable, and secure. Headless architecture is a good option for a new website design.Using headless for e-commerceHeadless platforms are ideal for e-commerce sites because they don’t limit third-party applications' use. For example, an e-commerce business could use a headless CMS to manage its product catalog and then use a headless checkout solution to process payments. With headless, the back-end codebase is separated from front-end features like storefronts, product information and inventory management platforms, marketing and sales platforms, payment systems, and more.Among the many advantages, headless architecture frees businesses to choose the best-of-breed solutions for each of their unique needs rather than being locked into solutions approved by a website vendor. Other advantages of headless e-commerce include the ability to update omnichannel content quickly, keep up with e-commerce innovation as technology advances, quickly design digital storefronts, and perform A/B testing to identify the most effective design and content. Check out our “Headless e-commerce” guide for more information about the benefits.How headless benefits different teamsHeadless web development benefits marketers, content editors, developers, and even business teams. Here’s a brief overview of these benefits.DevelopersBecause developers aren’t limited by back-end conventions, they gain more freedom to be creative. With Headless, they can focus on developing new features to engage your audience and less time on mundane content edits and updates.MarketersHeadless websites empower marketers to act with greater speed and agility, whether responding to a change in the market, user feedback, or something else entirely. They can get campaigns and promotions to market faster, pivot quickly when needed, and get better results as they optimize user experiences.Content creators and editorsHeadless makes it easier and faster for content creators and editors to publish new content or make updates, whether pushing the content to one website or multiple channels. They can make the content change in one place and then push it to all the endpoints where it’s needed. And they can do this without coding experience or having to submit tickets to developers.Business teamsWith Headless, business teams can more easily and quickly roll out new products and services and expand into new territories while delivering consistent messaging across all the channels they use for customer engagement. They become empowered to focus on growing the business with confidence that their CMS has the agility to keep up.Choosing a suitable headless CMSHere are some factors to consider and questions to ask when choosing a headless CMS:Your unique business needsWhat are your specific requirements for a headless CMS? Do you need a system that can be used to create and manage content for a variety of channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices? Do you need a system that offers a lot of flexibility and customization? Do you need a system that is easy to use and manage?Developer functionality and ease of useHeadless CMSes are a bit more technically oriented than traditional CMSes, so you'll need to ensure that your chosen system is easy for developers to use. The system should also have a well-documented API that allows developers to integrate it with other systems easily.Omnichannel capabilityCan the headless CMS you're considering be used to create and manage content for all your channels? This is an essential consideration if you want to be able to deliver your content to users on the devices they prefer.Content and authoring role workflowHow does the headless CMS you're considering handle content creation and management? Does it offer a user-friendly interface for content authors? Does it allow for different levels of access and permissions so content approvers can access the system?Technical and sales supportWhat kind of technical and sales support does the headless CMS vendor offer? Is a dedicated team of experts available to help you with your implementation and ongoing needs?CostDoes the headless CMS you're considering align with your budget? Does the vendor offer different pricing plans for different needs?A clear strategyBefore you start building your headless website, developing a clear strategy for how you want to use it is essential. This will help you avoid making unnecessary changes down the road.Are you ready to amplify digital experiences?From faster publishing times and website updates to seamlessly rolling out new channels, products, and services without downtime or impacting other functionality, we’ve covered many benefits of transitioning to headless. However, we want to emphasize that none is more important than the freedom it gives organizations to amp up user experience to engage existing customers better and attract new ones.By removing many of the limitations of traditional, monolithic systems, headless platforms like Contentstack enable organizations to move with greater speed and agility to deliver consistent and relevant content to users across multiple channels in multiple formats while incorporating features like localization as well as digital tools ranging from analytics and automation to payment processing.If you’d like to learn how Headless can help your organization amplify digital experiences, schedule a free Contentstack demo today.
Why travel brands need composable DXPs
The travel industry is finally bouncing back after the COVID-19 pandemic as people return to leisure travel in droves, booking everything from family vacations and destination weddings to long-awaited cruises and getaways of a lifetime.While revenue growth is welcome news for travel brands, consumer expectations have heightened. Travelers are savvier than ever and want travel brands to meet their needs through every customer journey stage. Research indicates they are willing to pay more for great experiences.Competition is stiff among travel industry brands that have weathered the pandemic, and much is at stake. According to Statista, global travel industry revenue is projected to reach more than $850 billion in 2023 and $1,016 billion by 2027, when it’s forecast that 74% of total travel revenue will be generated from online sales alone. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how composable digital experience platforms (DXPs) powered by headless CMS can enable travel brands to rise to the task of delivering unmatched customer experiences.Travel has evolved and continues to changeAccording to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce State of the Travel Industry in 2023, the travel industry has proven resilient despite changing significantly since the pandemic. For instance, while leisure travel is recovering nicely, business travel has been slower at returning to pre-pandemic levels and isn’t quite there yet.Booking windows are also much shorter now, indicating that some travelers are wary of unforeseen events that might occur if they book their trips too far in advance. More people are also taking “blended” trips for multiple purposes. They may combine business and leisure activities into one vacation, for example.Amadeus, a leading travel technology company that provides search, pricing, booking, and other services, predicts travel engagement will continue to be enhanced by virtual online experiences that give potential travelers a taste of what their trips will be like before they open their wallets.And when they decide to book, travel news outlet TravelPulse predicts that alternative forms of payment like ApplePay and GooglePay will increasingly become more mainstream for travel-related expenses, from upgrading flights to paying for in-flight meals and train tickets.Why travel brands need a composable DXPTo stand out from the competition, the right DXP with a headless CMS can enable a travel brand to deliver engaging customer experiences at every stage of the buyer journey now and into the future.With a headless CMS, where the front end is independent of the static back end, a brand’s marketing teams can quickly make changes on all the channels where they engage their audience without any technical expertise or fear of impacting functionality.An API-first composable DXP can be integrated with internal and external systems that connect multiple data sources for more seamless content delivery and personalized experiences. When integrated with analytics tools, for example, a DXP gives marketers the speed and agility to react quickly to customer feedback and unpredicted changes. These can range from weather-related closures flight updates, and booking cancellations.By integrating localization and analytics tools, content can automatically be delivered in the correct language based on the user's location and in the correct format for their device. Composable DXPs also enable travel organizations to swap out functionality and design elements as technology evolves into the future. As the name implies, an organization can “compose” its unique tech stack by choosing the best solutions and services for its DXP based on its current business goals and then changing up as often as needed. The old days of taking down outdated websites and building new ones every few years to change design and functionality become a thing of the past. How three very different travel brands benefit from composable headless CMSHere’s how three real-life travel brands benefited after switching from legacy platforms to composable DXPs built on the Contentstack headless CMS. GolfbreaksGolfbreaks, a leading UK-based golf vacation company, needed a consistent source of truth for content across multiple sites, and its previous CMS wasn’t up to the challenge. Another issue was accessing and formatting data to be leveraged by other applications.Case studyAfter transitioning to Contentstack, data was made accessible and structured for use in a weekly newsletter and marketing emails via Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Overall, the organization benefited from 90% faster publishing times and a 70% reduction in developer time. To learn more, read the entire case study, "Golfbreaks shoots a hole in one with Contentstack."IcelandairAfter switching to a headless CMS, Icelandair saw a 90% decrease in the time it took to push out promotions, and it was also able to simplify integrations between the airline and its translation platform. The result was a 70% faster translation delivery rate and a more straightforward process for the content team.Case studyThe airline’s content team gained the capability to manage multiple languages for 16 locations, all through an automated process without leaving the CMS. Translation entries are sent within the CMS by simply publishing them to a separate environment and selecting the desired languages. After translation, the content system updates the environment’s entries as localized versions. To learn more, read the full case study, “Icelandair improves automation, workflows, and localization with Contentstack.”REWE GroupThe REWE Group, a diversified retail and tourism cooperative based in Europe, needed to dismantle a Java-based, monolithic platform that had undergone a decade’s worth of customizations and extensions.Case studyAfter taking a phased approach to implementing Contentstack, the user experience of content managers significantly improved, as they could make real-time edits without developer support. The result has been improved consistency and quality of content coupled with faster publishing. To learn more, read the full case study, “REWE group accelerates content publishing with headless CMS.”Key considerations before making the switch to a compostable DXPTransitioning from legacy to a composable platform can be complex, so there are some essential things to consider before moving. First, ensure you have buy-in from leadership and stakeholders on business, marketing, and IT teams. A shift in mindset is just as necessary as choosing the right implementation partner. Secondly, analyze your existing tech stack, channels, and business goals to determine what areas to focus on first. Decisions should be made to prioritize rollouts based on which content improvements will significantly impact customer or user experience, existing maintenance costs of your old platform, and other factors.Next, create a roadmap that outlines your implementation plan. A phased approach that tackles key challenges first for the most significant return on investment is ideal. For instance, if your main website is outdated and causing you to lose business, focus on that first. Start by integrating the must-have solutions initially, then roll out additional features and tackle other sites or channels over time. Fortunately, one of the most significant benefits of switching to a composable DXP with headless CMS is implementing phased rollouts via APIs without impacting functionality and features set up in the back end. In short, the front and back end are decoupled so they can be developed independently of each other while still being able to communicate via APIs.Last but not least, be sure to find the right implementation partner and platform. Consider previous experience and expertise. Be sure to read testimonials and case studies from their existing customers. Also, ensure the platform supports the customization and integrations required to meet your biggest challenges.Learn moreLearn more about how a headless CMS can help your business in our guide, “What is a headless CMS?”Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack’s headless CMS can help your travel brand deliver exceptional customer experiences.