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Time to ditch WordPress? 5 reasons to go headless in 2024
September 29, 2023
WordPress has been a powerhouse of content management since its first release in 2003. But the past twenty years have seen a shift in how developers feel about it.
Based on Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer Survey, barely 33% of current users would choose to use WordPress again – a big change for a company that once ruled the web.
So with many developers questioning WordPress, what’s the alternative?
Let’s take a look at why WordPress may not be your best fit and why you should be considering headless CMS instead.
The problem with WordPress
We’ll start with a disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with WordPress as a CMS. It offers a simple, customisable CMS setup that’s perfect for users such as:
- Small local businesses not looking to scale
- Organisations with basic, purely informational websites
- New developers working on starter projects
For use cases like these, WordPress remains a valuable option. Nevertheless, the same simplicity that offers these benefits can be a downside. In an increasingly digital-first world, customers are demanding more from their experiences than ever.
So what’s the real problem with WordPress? It’s a monolithic system.
Monolithic systems are convenient but inflexible, putting tons of restraints on users. They’re not built to adapt to changing technologies or user needs. So if you’re looking to deliver powerful, dynamic content that really engages and captivates your audiences, monolithic systems are often the incorrect choice.
Trying to create next-generation digital experiences with WordPress is like using a hammer to drive in a screw – there’s nothing wrong with the tool, you’re just using it for the wrong job.
Have you outgrown your monolithic CMS?
If you’re a WordPress (or any monolithic CMS) user, you might see a few of the following signs that you’ve outgrown the platform:
- Consistent page performance issues regardless of how many optimisations you run
- Non-technical users being dependent on developers for even small changes, leading to delayed content updates and slow go-to-market times
- The inability to distribute content to multiple channels, or doing so inefficiently with clunky content silos
- Difficulty in scaling operations and integrating new technology
- Security concerns no matter how many plugins or services you apply
Does any of this sound familiar? Then it might be time for a change.
5 reasons to use headless CMS in 2024
Let’s take that definition and see how it actually works in day-to-day life. Here are five reasons to move on from WordPress and embrace the power of a headless CMS in 2024.
1. Improve page performance
Google research has found that 53% of internet users will leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Speed isn’t just a perk anymore. Performance is essential if you want to compete in the modern digital age.
Headless CMS is designed to optimise performance. One reason is the flexibility mentioned earlier. Because developers can work with whatever technology they want, they can choose the one they’re most proficient with, leading to better projects with fewer roadblocks.
That same flexibility also means developers can embrace a best-of-breed approach. Monolithic systems like WordPress are all-in-one: you get the tech and tools they provide, no more, no less. This can slow down sites with unnecessary extras or prevent you from using optimisation tools you need.
But with headless, developers can choose the exact programs they need without worrying about conflicts or limitations. As a result, they can tailor the tech stack to meet the site’s specific performance needs.
The good news is that you don’t have to struggle with monolithic systems like WordPress if you’ve outgrown them. There’s a new option available: headless CMS.
2. Empower non-technical users with independence
Monolithic systems can have complex, interlocking backends. As a result, non-technical users can’t make even the most minor of changes themselves without upsetting the delicate ecosystem. Many users struggle with this, with some being so complex that they even require developers to make the smallest content changes.
This slows down go-to-market, limits what content creators can do, and wastes precious developer time.
This is a huge pain point when it comes to monolithic systems like WordPress - in fact, according to Storyblok’s State of CMS 2023: United Kingdom study, it’s the most commonly cited reason for changing CMSs.
Headless systems sidestep this. Because they disconnect the content from how it’s displayed, it’s easier to create, edit, and reuse. Content editors can work without worrying about altering the underlying structure and get more performance out of their assets. Meanwhile, developers are free to focus on their main projects, so everyone wins.
3. Centralise wide-reaching omni-channel delivery
Monolithic systems like WordPress weren’t designed to deliver the same content to multiple frontends. After all, most were created at a time when that wasn’t even a consideration. Trying to achieve omnichannel functionality with monolithic systems leads to overly complex workarounds like using multiple CMSs - an expensive, inefficient, and unnecessary approach that 55% of UK users report doing.
This is one place where headless CMS really shines. Because it is frontend agnostic, content is easily distributed to wherever you need it to go.
Need to get your eCommerce store’s content to as many people as possible? No problem! Push the same content to desktop, mobile, digital kiosks, and even non-traditional channels like AR/VR and smart speakers in seconds. You’ll always have a streamlined, consistent brand presence.
Plus, there’s no need for multiple CMSs. One headless system can centralise all your content regardless of origin or destination. It simplifies your entire content strategy, saving you time, money, and effort while also amplifying your reach.
4. Future-proof your digital experiences
We’ve come a long way since the days of only being able to access the internet on clunky desktops. Technology is evolving every day, from new ways to reach audiences to new programs to build systems with. And the growth shows no signs of stopping.
The key to maintaining a relevant brand is making sure your technology can keep up. WordPress and monolithic systems like it are naturally static. Headless, on the other hand, is designed to be future-proof.
That’s because headless relies on APIs. APIs basically allow you to connect your headless CMS to any program. Simply link up the technology you want to use and get going.
The best part? It applies to technology that doesn’t even exist yet, too! As long as it uses APIs, it’ll be able to integrate seamlessly into a headless tech stack. That means your team will be always ready to seamlessly adapt to the newest, best ways to reach your audience.
5. Increase security and safeguard data
According to last year’s Storyblok State of CMS Security study, 50.49% of CMS users in the UK said security was extremely important - and given that 55.5% of users in the same study experience new security issues at least monthly, it’s not that surprising.
WordPress is infamous for its security issues. In Sucuri’s Website Hack Trend Report, for instance, WordPress made up a staggering 90% of infected websites in their sample.
However, it’s not just a WordPress issue. Monolithic systems are vulnerable to threats thanks to the all-in-one setup. If a security threat invades one part of a monolithic system, it can easily spread to the others as everything is connected.
On the other hand, the API-based nature of headless CMS naturally protects it. Since nothing is innately connected, threats can’t spread. They stop where they happen, so even if you experience a security breach with headless, the damage is automatically limited.
Conclusion: Are you ready for the future of CMS?
Nobody can question that WordPress still has a place in the CMS world. But if you’re looking to bring your organization into the future, you need technology that’s ready to grow with you and unleash your full potential. You need a headless CMS.
If you’re looking to join the 87% of UK businesses that reported improved KPIs, revenue growth, and productivity since going headless, it’s time to ditch WordPress and say hello to the future of content management.