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7 benefits you get from a hybrid CMS

Vegard Ottervig on

A hybrid CMS offers the best of traditional and headless CMS. But what exactly does this entail?

Headless CMS seems to be on every digital manager’s or web editor’s mind these days. With the advent of the Internet of Things and connected devices of literally any size or format, it makes perfect sense to be able to send your precious content to whatever channel that seems fitting.

But if you look past the headless hype, you’ll find a pressing issue: Most digital experiences still consist of websites meant for the most common channels, like desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Most digital experiences will have the website as their centerpiece in the foreseeable future, but a purely headless CMS is not great at maintaining fully-fledged websites.

This is where a hybrid CMS—the mix between traditional and headless CMS—enters the picture. Let’s take a closer look at 7 benefits you get from a hybrid CMS.

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1. Headless and traditional website in one

A headless CMS is basically just a database. The CMS also has an API, a toolbox, you can use to send your content or snippets of your content to different channels—like digital signage, wristbands, smart watches, AR glasses, or websites. A purely headless CMS thus offers you minimal help to build complete websites, as the tie between content and presentation is cut.

Most organisations need _websites_ first and foremost, but headless is not focused on traditional web. This means that your organisation must likely have two systems running in tandem and simultaneously—one for the headless delivery of content to different channels, and one for maintaining a website, including templates, visuals, URL handling, and everything else that is required.

But why should you have two systems? Enter the hybrid: With a hybrid CMS you can deliver websites and headless APIs and apps—from one system.

2. URL handling

A URL (uniform resource locator) is the web address of your content, and can help you get a grip of your content hierarchy, help your visitors to orient themselves, and help search engines find what users are looking for through carefully planned keywords.

A traditional or a hybrid CMS gives you full control over your URLs. In a headless CMS, however, your developers decide the URLs, and there are no structured URLs as there are no tree structure logic present.

As mentioned, a hybrid CMS gives you full control over the URL management—making your daily operations more flexible. You can for instance mix between letting your developers decide URLs for certain types of content that are meant for APIs and apps, and let the CMS decide the URLs for other types of content meant for classic website usage.

URLs are important for the reasons mentioned, and especially for SEO purposes. Don’t let this important issue be in the random hands of headless.

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3. Landing page editing

Editing your website’s landing pages is something most web editors take for granted. It is possible to edit landing pages with headless, but it’s through forms—a hard coded schema system.

With a hybrid CMS, you get all the advantages from a traditional CMS, including visual landing page editing. But the strongest point in favour of hybrids is the flexibility this kind of platform offers: You can make landing pages available through APIs, letting the landing page structure be used in a headless approach. Also, you can mix between fetching data and ready made HTML fragments in your platform, allowing for unlimited possibilities and combinations of headless fetching data and CMS generated content.

4. Content preview

Where a headless CMS cuts the tie between content and presentation, a hybrid CMS allows you to preserve it when needed. The tie is particularly useful when it comes to previewing your content. As a traditional CMS includes a templating engine in the system, it also enables previews of your content.

As for your headless content, it can be shown in widely different places, and it’s possible to make something like a standard preview. This will show what your content will look like, approximately.

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5. Search

As mentioned, if you want a pure headless CMS and a traditional website, you must maintain two systems. Imagine what that does to your search. Will it be fast and user-friendly? Or will it be tedious, prompting you to switch between two systems to find what you’re looking for?

A hybrid CMS searches across all your content, due to everything being in one system. Also, everything you search for has a presentation. A presentation is not available in headless, where the content is floating around in a database without URLs.

6. Customise your APIs

Most headless content management systems come with a database and an API out of the box—the API is thus fixed and standardised by courtesy of the vendor.

In hybrid content management systems you get more flexibility to tailor the APIs from the vendor to your own needs, for instance customising a “blog post API”, for sending the contents of your blog posts to another application in a special format.

Customisable APIs lets you more easily integrate your content with other systems, and is most applicable to public APIs, where you offer data to others.

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7. Fast deployment

Making your content available fast is one of the serious headless advantages. With a headless approach you can easily and quickly model the structure of the data. You can in fact go live with your content API in just a few hours, if you base your system on headless use only.

In a hybrid CMS you get to keep the advantage of fast deployment for any content with the headless part. Content using the traditional CMS features must undergo the regular templating development, of course, but at least you now have the option to deliver content with presentation.


To conclude: With a hybrid CMS you literally get the best of both worlds. You get more flexibility, yet fewer systems to make your hair turn gray. Look beyond the headless hype and think long term—what your organisation really needs and what methods are the best to achieve your goals.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a hybrid CMS?

A hybrid CMS keeps the link between content and presentation, while simultaneously offering APIs to deliver the content headlessly to other channels.

When should you use a hybrid CMS?

If you maintain a traditional website while also sending content to other digital touchpoints, a hybrid CMS can do both tasks for you.

What is the difference between hybrid and headless CMS?

A headless CMS strictly separates content and presentation, while a hybrid CMS makes this optional—enabling the best of both worlds.

How does a hybrid CMS work?

A hybrid CMS works like a traditional CMS, while simultaneously having APIs deliver content to any chosen digital channel.

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