How to Create a Headless WordPress Website?

WordPress is a simple and one of the most popular ways to create your website. It powers over 43% of the websites that are on the internet. This is a clear indication of how great WordPress is.

That’s because it offers flexibility in the way of themes and plugins. Even though there is this flexibility, access to these tools is limited when you want to customize your design.

So, which is the best way to avoid these issues? You can opt for the headless WordPress setup. In this case, your website content will be decoupled from its display.

What is headless WordPress

If you run on a website that’s created with WordPress, then you must have heard about the headless architecture. It’s a technology that provides more flexibility, faster performance and easier multichannel distribution.

To understand this better, let’s first talk about content management systems. Most content management systems you are likely to encounter handle both the front and back end of the website.

For the front end, this is the interface with which the visitors on your website interact. On the other hand, the backend includes the files stored on the servers, including the content database and scripts.

In the case of the headless CMS, the working concept is very different. It works by removing the front-end tools and leaving the content management tools.

This means you are separating the front end of the website from the rest of the backend. With this architecture, you can easily create a headless ecommerce website for your business.

Create A Headless WordPress Website

You will be able to upload, create, organize and edit the contents of the website with ease. At no point will you ever have to push the contents directly to the front end as the headless customer management system makes resources available through rest API to a separate front-end.

With this progressive web app, you will improve the UX experience and increase the conversion rates of your online stores. This application aims to deliver a native-user experience with clean browsing and speed conversion even when users use a poor internet connection.

It will give your headless ecommerce website significant capabilities, especially if you want to close the market gap. The advantages of the PWAs are constantly rising, which are clearly shown by the growing number of the live projects.

Setting up a headless WordPress website

The number of headless websites in the ecommerce business is rising rapidly. You can use several ways to set up this kind of website. The method varies based on the technical expertise, preferred language, resources and the frameworks you will use.

Regardless of the method you are going to use, you have to be well-conversant with front-end languages and the WordPress Rest API. That’s because you will have to code the front-end yourself or hire someone to do it on your behalf. You can use different approaches to set up your headless WordPress website.

Using plugins

If you are well acquainted with WordPress plugins, this is the best approach to getting things done fast. In most cases, plugins act as workarounds to writing codes yourself. But this is not the case with the headless WordPress plugins.

To be effective with the headless WordPress plugins, you must be well-versed with programming languages, and API connects. That’s what you will need to build your front-end and make requests to the API.

There are a couple of free plugins that make life easier. One of them is the WPGraphQL. This will let you turn your WordPress installation easily into a GraphQL API. As a result, you can create your data schemas that every front-end client can use to retrieve data from the headless customer management system.

If your interest is more in headless ecommerce, then Copart is another WordPress plugin that you can use. It puts a headless API on top of the WooCommerce Store.

And this will allow the front-end clients to request store resources like cart content or the products. It’s a very useful plugin, especially if you want to launch a store on multiple platforms and manage your content effectively.

After setting up the front end of the headless ecommerce business, use the Headless Mode plugin to direct anyone trying to access the old WordPress site to the new front-end address. This will ensure that customers won’t be confused trying to access your old site after the URLs are changed.

Code it yourself

As stated above, you can code the whole process if you have great programming or coding skills. There is no better way to achieve much flexibility than the coding approach.

You can use the several tutorials that are available online and that explain in-depth how to implement the headless configuration to your WordPress website. Ensure that you work with a guide that explains each process of the coding snippets that you can use.

Building the front-end of the headless ecommerce business website from scratch takes time. You can learn various front-end frameworks that handle much of the heavy lifting and choose the one that suits your business.

Noticeable frameworks work effectively with WordPress, and you can take advantage of this. Then, deploy your website through the frameworks as this will give you a lot of performance boost.

Benefits of the headless WordPress

There are so many reasons one would forgo the convenience of traditional WordPress for headless WordPress. Here are some of the benefits of headless WordPress.

Front-end flexibility

Headless WordPress gives a lot of flexibility with the front-end. Here, you have a great selection of customizable plugins and themes. As a result, you can outsource your front end to virtually any other software you want with the headless CMS. That’s only if the software can make requests to the WordPress API.

This is very beneficial, especially if you want to work inside another application or use different programming languages than WordPress. You can also add a front-end framework like React to make your work easier.

What if you would like to change the front-end system? Headless WordPress makes this significantly easier as your content is decoupled from the front-end.

Improved performance

The traditional WordPress renders most of the web pages dynamically. The host server constructs an HTML page every time a request comes in. That’s because it’s impossible to store static HTML pages to send to the users when requested. In this case, PHP is used to fetch all the required resources from the database and assemble them into a page.

This process is very slow, and the slow page loading usually hurts the user’s experience and reduces the rate of conversions. With headless WordPress, you can leave the front-end delivery up to a separate application, potentially increasing your site’s speed.

Improved security

Of course, there are several things that you can do to protect your ecommerce business site without going headless. But think of the security bonus usually associated with the headless setup. Who doesn’t like an extra mile in terms of security?

Currently, the number of cyberattacks is increasing at a higher rate, and businesses have to do everything possible to protect their sites from hackers. The headless WordPress setup separates the front end from the content.

Then, what advantage does this have on your site? This means it will be challenging to locate and access the website’s content directly, provided the backend server is sufficiently out of reach of any intruder.

Multichannel publishing

In most cases, you will use your WordPress site for standard desktop and mobile websites. Sometimes, you wish you could send content to additional interfaces like social media sites, smart devices and virtual assistants. This means you need to have a centralized source for multiple publishing channels.

A headless CMS can work perfectly in this case. Whenever you make changes to some content in the customer management system, the change gets reflected across all the devices connected to it. Just imagine how long this would have taken with the traditional content management system!

Even though the headless WordPress website setup has many benefits, there are still a few drawbacks that you should expect.

Drawbacks of headless WordPress

Before changing your backend applications for your headless ecommerce website, keep in mind that this solution is often challenging for most WordPress users. You will need a lot of skilled effort for the process to be successful. You will need to be versatile with various programming languages or hire someone to do the work for you.

The latter is very expensive, especially for large businesses. On top of this, running a headless website is just a significant time investment. Imagine having two systems to look at instead of one! That means if you can’t keep up with the speed of publishing, the time and effort needed to switch aren’t worth the investment.

Switching to a headless WordPress website is the best decision you can make for your ecommerce business. Setting up the headless WordPress website is simple, especially if you have the required skills and resources.

You will get many benefits like improved performance, security, multichannel publishing and front-end flexibility.

About Sonnal S Sinha

Sonnal S SinhaSonnal S Sinha shares exciting WordPress themes, plugins and other WordPress related news for our viewers. He also posts selected WordPress developers interviews from time to time.