One Key Reason Why A Headless Architecture Reduces Website Friction

The Three Web Reliability Questions

At Solspace we consistently ask our clients 3 questions when thinking about any given component of their website.

  • First, is it reliable?
  • Second, does it reduce friction?
  • Third, does it turn into money?

In this post, I am talking about the kinds of system architecture and content architecture changes that our clients might want to make to respond to a new marketing need or a change in competitive conditions. So the 3 questions pertain to the ease with which we can change how our Directors of Marketing and their teams use their site.

  • Can we reliably respond to their change requests with speed and agility?
  • Can we continue to reduce friction in the editorial workflow process?
  • Can our client turn our optimizations into money, meaning can they get a new message to market quickly and capture new business?

Headless As A Hero

As I write this, we are about to launch a new headless aspect to a very old client website. We're swapping Meilisearch in for the old monolithic inflexible native search functionality. We're doing it on a decidedly non-headless architecture, but we're building in a new kind of Web Reliability that brings a flexibility it lacked before. And so the next time our client comes to us and says, "can we support a new set of data filtering attributes to respond to a new customer need in the market?" we will be able to say yes instead of no.

Headless site architecture sounds a bit gruesome, but it simply means site components are loosely tied together on the front end, relying on a flexible API on the back end to deliver stored content to any device or channel you like. This means you can make changes to the site with speed and agility and still get reliability. It gives you options you never had before.

How To Transition

The good news is that with the help of some expertise and effective planning, it’s possible to gradually shift many websites from monolith to headless. Each step you take in the direction of decoupling the front and back end of the site increases your flexibility and reliability, and results in an equal and opposite reduction in friction. These changes will then turn into money because they help to get the website out of the way of the marketing team and their goals.

If you’re embarking on a transition to a headless site, start by picking some of the most discrete aspects of your site like search, forms, and landing pages to decouple and you will see a notable increase in reliability, reduced friction, and improved user engagement resulting in sales. Of course your site won’t be truly headless until the front-end and back-end are completely uncoupled, and you won’t gain all of the benefits until that’s done, but every step along the way provides more flexibility and less friction. And that’s the key. Your investment in a headless site will allow you to answer those 3 Web Reliability questions with an enthusiastic “yes, yes, yes!” If you remain tied to a single monolithic CMS, your answers to the 3 questions will continue to be negative.

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