It’s no secret that the world of content management is changing. More and more businesses are moving away from traditional, monolithic CMSs and towards a modular, headless approach. According to a report by WP Engine, “more than 90% [of organizations not currently using headless] plan to evaluate headless solutions over the next 12 months—up 15% from 2019.”1 This newer architecture allows for more flexibility and scalability (and a slue of other benefits), as well as the ability to integrate preferred technologies behind the API layer.
That’s a critical piece: the API layer
5 impactful benefits to creating a secure, public-facing API
1. Execute a best-in-breed technology approach
With the rise of cloud computing and microservices, we are now seeing a shift towards modular, headless architectures. In this new world, the front end of the website or application is decoupled from the backend, making it much easier to make changes to the site or application without taking it offline. And, because the frontend and backend are now decoupled, it’s also possible to use different technologies for each with the support of a thoughtful API design.
2. Avoid vendor lock-in and avoid messy re-platforming projects
Organizations should also consider custom API-designed solutions to avoid messy re-platforming projects. In the past, if you wanted to switch from one CMS to another, you would need to rewrite your entire website or application. As noted in the Harvard Business Review, “nearly every company has re-platformed at least once if they’ve been in ecommerce for more than a few years2.” Not only is that time consuming, it’s expensive.
Custom APIs give organizations the flexibility to change CMS platforms without affecting their website or mobile app and provide a way to keep content fresh and up-to-date without having to rebuild the entire site. With a headless architecture, all you need to do is update the API calls to point to the new CMS. This makes it much easier to switch from one CMS to another, or even from one headless CMS to another.
By taking the time to develop a custom public-facing API solution, organizations can save time and money in the long run and avoid feeling locked-in to a specific vendor due to the associated risks and costs.
3. Gain an added layer of security and improved scalability
In an API-first architecture, the API design is a blueprint for the interaction points with the content repository. Custom public-facing APIs offer added security that can help keep your data safe and secure. They allow you to specifically limit the amount of data that is exposed to potential security risks. This reduced surface area makes it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive information. In addition, custom public-facing APIs can be designed to specifically meet the needs of your organization. This gives you more control over how your data is used and accessed.
When you build a custom API, you also have the ability to add an extra layer of security on top of your existing security measures. For example, you can add authentication and authorization to your API to make sure that only authorized users are able to access the data. You can also add rate limiting to prevent malicious users from making too many requests. By adding these extra security measures, you can be sure that your data is safe and secure.
Another benefit of an API designed approach is that it makes it easier to scale the website or application. In a monolithic system, if you want to add more users, you need to provision more servers and database capacity. With a headless architecture, you can simply spin up more API servers to handle the increased load.
4. Update individual microservices without risking the entire front-end experience
APIs have become an essential part of how we exchange data between different systems, whether they are on-premises or in the cloud. They provide a way to decouple applications and make them more modular, which makes it easier to change back-end microservices without affecting the front-end experience.
Typically, each architecture service is responsible for a specific task. For example, one service might be responsible for managing user accounts, while another service might be responsible for handling payments. By decoupling these services, you can update them independently of each other. This means that you can deploy new features and bug fixes without having to redevelop the entire application.
It’s also worth noting that APIs are not just for developers. They can be used by anyone who wants to access data from another system. For example, you could use an API to automatically post tweets from a blog RSS feed. Or, you could use an API to pull data from a CRM system and populate a marketing dashboard. Public-facing APIs make it possible to exchange data between different systems in a way that is convenient and efficient.
5. Keep omnichannel content fresh and up-to-date to create more human-centered experiences
In a world where customers expect a more personalized and human-centered experience, APIs can help marketers create a better omnichannel customer journey. An API designed headless approach decouples the content from the presentation layer, allowing organizations to more easily manage and reuse their content. In addition, a custom public-facing API solution gives organizations more control over their data and how it is presented to customers – offering the flexibility to easily update and manage their content across all channels including web, mobile, social, and in-store.
APIs can be used to create custom experiences for users. For example, an API can be used to create a custom search engine that only searches for content within a specific organization. This allows organizations to tailor their content to their specific needs and audience.
Finally, APIs can be used to connect different systems together – such as connecting a CMS to a CRM. This allows organizations to manage their content and customer relationships in a single, centralized system. APIs are an essential part of the modern web and are only becoming more important as the web becomes more modular and headless.
Get started today with public-facing API designed solutions
By taking the time to plan and build a custom API solution, you can ensure that your organization is prepared for a headless CMS experience.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you with custom API development.