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Selecting the Right CMS Platform for Your Business: Understanding the Benefits of Coupled, Decoupled and Headless CMS Solutions

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Content distribution and consumption have profoundly changed over the last several years—but most companies are still using a content management system (CMS) that was developed for a different era. Leveraging a solution that doesn’t match your company’s needs places unnecessary burden on content teams, prolongs time to market and necessitates frequent retrofitting into a company’s broader marketing technology stack.

When selecting the ideal CMS architecture for your business, it’s essential to clearly understand your publication, distribution and channel requirements, as well as flexibility, scalability and security needs.  With a clear view into your organization’s prerequisites, you will be best positioned to select the CMS option that is best suited for your business.  

There are many different CMS options, and each includes pros and cons, such as the following:

Traditional/Coupled CMS Architecture—Perfect for a Blogger or Simple Website Design

In a traditional—or coupled—CMS, the content management back-end is tightly linked with the front-end. Specifically, content is created, managed and stored—along with all digital assets—on the site’s back-end. The back-end is also where website design and customization applications are stored. This content management back-end and database is bound within the same system that delivers and presents content to devices and end users, on HTML pages on the front-end.

So, with a coupled CMS, your editors are writing and publishing on the back-end of the same system that your website visitors are viewing. Because everything is all together, it is easy to develop, manage and publish text-based content quickly. Design is also simplified within a coupled CMS platform, with built-in themes and templates and a front-end that can be edited and customized as needed. These coupled CMS architectures are ideal for blogs, personal sites and very basic company websites. (Blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, are examples of a coupled CMS architecture.)

But while coupled architecture is beneficial for simpler sites, it isn’t ideal for those that are more complex. This type of CMS restricts the type of content (e.g., video, audio and advanced imagery) editors can publish and where that content can appear. Since the front-end and back-end are locked together, the programming framework can quickly become limited. For developers this means customization is slower and less agile. The front-end and back-end interdependence also translates into more time and money required for maintenance and enhancements. 

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