Why Content Modelling in a Headless CMS Really Matters

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Joe Hill
March 26, 2021 6 min read
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Omnichannel content marketing and a seamless user experience are undoubtedly the central points of a solid digital presence. In order to deliver consistent quality content to users across all platforms, businesses need a CMS that facilitates the entire process right from the outset.  

We’ve been discussing headless CMSs for some time now, so you’re aware of its many pros. In this blog, we want to shed light on a benefit of headless that we haven’t touched upon before – content modelling. This is immensely important for both websites – the primary sources your potential customers will consult – and other channels.  

Content modelling in a headless CMS is a massively useful feature that helps make your content ready for the future. However, if underutilised or poorly executed, it could be more of a setback to your content management process. Let’s see why content modelling really matters and how you can make the most of it for the digital experiences you’re aiming to create.  


What is a content model and what do you need to know about it?  

Content modelling essentially means logically structuring your content. A content model documents different kinds of content and their relationships, and every digital project begins as a content model. If you want to make your content marketing faster and easier and prevent potential issues in advance, then it’s very important to start off right.   

You can think of a content model as a blueprint for a house. A well thought out prearranged plan is the foundation that any future-proof project needs. You wouldn’t just start building a house and then wing it along the way. Taking into account the vital importance of digital transformation, it makes sense that you should treat your content with the same meticulous approach.   


The basics  

Before we continue, let’s address some relevant terms that you should know: content type, content structure, content relationships, and taxonomy.  

The fundamental part of any content model is the content type. As you might have guessed, content types are different kinds of content for which you will create relationships. They are defined by Kentico as “the nouns in your model.” You give each content type a structure, which means adding information to content types that you want to show on each channel.  

Make sure to be careful when determining content types. Going into too much or too little detail is part of how content modelling can be a setback. Consider content types in terms of their relationships and purpose. Think about what you ultimately need from your content, what info you want your users to access, and to what extent you need to break down content. Also, try to make content as reusable as possible.   

Depending on your products/services, you can also add categorisation, which we call taxonomy in content modelling. Taxonomy provides additional structure to your content. It allows you to tag each content type and makes navigation easier for the end user. 


An example 

For the purpose of illustrating what we’ve just talked about, let’s say you’re running a pet shop website. 

An example of a content type could be a specific package of dry food. Some info you would add to the structure would be the brand name, net weight, flavour, description and animal it’s intended for. The “Animal” field in this case is an example of taxonomy. So, for instance, your content type can be a two-kilo bag of kibbles with chicken flavour for cats (of a specific brand name).  

This specific content type can be linked to the content type “Dry food” (likely contained under “Food”). Now, imagine this particular product has a special purpose as well, such as boosting your cat’s digestion. You could link it to a content type called “Digestive care,” which contains various products (= more content types) specifically designed for that.  

This way, the same content type would be reusable. You create it once, but give it several content relationships.  

Content types explained through the example of a pet shop website & 1 specific product.

 

What does structured content like this mean for a potential pet shop customer? Well, they can browse by animal category or navigate hierarchically to get to the product they want quickly. This is easier than browsing and seeing all kinds of content types (like toys or hygiene products) before getting to a bag of kibbles. Moreover, this will help with your search engine rank, but more on that later on.  

Disclaimer: This is just an example. Perhaps some pet shop owners would have a different idea as to how to structure content, and that’s okay. Each business does what suits their own content needs and unique visions. 


Mastering content modelling is essential for your digital projects  

We’ve covered the theoretical part, but what exactly are the advantages of content modelling in a headless CMS? Well, first of all, web design makes up 75% of the judgment of a company’s credibility. And what’s more, it takes users only 0.05 seconds to form an opinion on a website. Since every digital project is a content model at its core, it’s not tough to see right away why modelling matters.  

Here are a few benefits you’ll reap from investing (time, energy and resources) into establishing a good content model.   


End user experience  

This is by far the most significant factor of your digital presence. You’re creating content for users, i. e. potential customers, who expect a consistent UX across all channels. If you structure your content well, they’ll have a neat overview on your website and they’re going to be willing to spend time on it.   

Moreover, they’ll enjoy the navigation process itself. Nearly two thirds of users will leave a website with poor navigation! So, while it may seem like a strenuous process, it really does pay off to spend time carefully constructing your content model.  


Developers and content creators  

Generally, developers are the ones actually doing the content modelling in a headless CMS. This is because developers know what they’re aiming for with the frontend. They work on content models in accordance with what is going to suit end users’ expectations. Simultaneously, they are making the content team’s life easier.   

A good content model will improve your content team’s workflow and allow them to work confidently and independently. This is because it helps them understand what kind of content to insert into the CMS and how. After all, they’ll be the ones working on content daily. It’s important that they have clear guidelines and that they can get the hang of the model quickly.  

So, as is typically the case with headless CMSs, content teams and developers both get to do what they do best.  But what is important to keep in mind here is that a good content model cannot happen without a strong content strategy. Different teams need to come together and define a thoroughly researched content strategy before your developers can even begin modelling.  


Time-saving and future-ready  

These benefits cannot be stressed enough. Yes, you and your team will invest a lot of time into planning a content strategy and actually building the model at the beginning. However, this way you’re laying the foundations for what will feel like a breeze later on.  

A carefully constructed model allows your content management process to run like a well-oiled machine. Adding and modifying content, such as products on a pet shop website, become an easy routine. As a result of meticulous content modelling, adapting to future innovations is much less costly and time-consuming.  


SEO  

A content model determines how the data on your website (and other channels to which you send content) is organised. This largely influences your appearance in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). And, since 3 out of 4 people only look at the first page of search results, SEO should definitely be high on your list of priorities.  

Search engines scan the information on websites and rank pages based on a variety of factors, one of which is structure. They analyse what data can be found within your content and where. The way you structure your content is responsible for that. Your content model also helps search engines recognise the underlying relationships between your data.  

A poor structure will prevent search engines from properly highlighting your content to users. In other words, you may have relevant content, but competitors whose information is carefully organised will appear much higher in SERPs.  

Search engines aim to please users and match their search intent as accurately as possible. It’s only natural that they would prioritise websites where it’s easy to get to the desired information quickly. In addition, the more visitors a website has, the more relevant it appears to search engines, because this signals user satisfaction.  

By investing in content modelling, you’re enhancing user satisfaction. As a result, search engines rank your page higher.   


Conclusion  

Content modelling in a headless CMS is clearly a broad topic and we’ve only scratched the surface. However, it’s safe to say that building effective content models is a huge factor in content management and a successful online presence. Among many benefits, it allows you to enhance search engine rankings, UX, and your workflow – 3 birds, 1 stone.   


If you have questions or need help with content modelling, digital agency GRM Digital has a team of experts on headless CMS that can assist you.