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JAMstack for Marketing: Building Fast and Secure Websites

eddiesegal profile image Eddiesegal ・5 min read

Today’s web users expect fast and secure websites. They cannot tolerate long page load times, and they value the privacy and security of their sensitive and financial information. To ensure positive user experience and brand authority, you can leverage modern web development approaches like JAMstack.

What Is JAMstack?

The term JAMstack was introduced by Mathias Biilmann to describe a modern web development approach based on reusable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), client-side JavaScript, and prebuilt markup.

JAMstack enables front-end developers to build apps without using a back-end server. A back-end server consists of three things—a database, server and application. Instead of back-end technologies, developers use APIs to enable connections from front-end frameworks. This approach saves a lot of time and effort.

The “JAM” in JAMstack stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup:

  • JavaScript—is running entirely on the client-side. As a result, the client-side can handle any dynamic programming during the request or response.
  • APIs—all database actions or server-side functions are transformed into reusable APIs. You can access those APIs with third-party services or custom-built tools over HTTPS with JavaScript.
  • Markup—JAMstack uses prebuilt markup templates at build time.

Marketers can leverage JAMstack to build static websites instead of dynamic. A static website consists of HTML files that represent an actual website page. Static websites do not use any server technologies, and most of the back-end functionality takes place in the user's browser.

The static nature of a JAMstack makes scaling easy and causes little to no operational overhead. In addition, JAMstack improves security since static websites are taking databases out of the equation. As a result, hackers cannot use database vulnerabilities attacks like SQL injections.

Moving Away from Traditional CMS and Plugins

For a long time, marketers have used Content Management Systems (CMS) like Wordpress or Drupal to manage website content. Traditional CMS provide marketers the autonomy to manage sites with plugins, add-ons, and other user-friendly features.

WordPress loads plugins only when a user is about to browse a website. This process affects load speed and performance. As a result, plugins and page builders can seriously affect user experience and overall performance of dynamic websites managed by a traditional CMS.

Moving away from the concept of plugins and adopting JAMstack does not mean you have to know how to code like a front-end developer or give up functionality. You can still achieve the same results with dedicated services and tools like headless CMS.

Leveraging the Power of JAMstack with Headless CMS

The front-end and back-end in traditional CMS like WordPress are tightly locked together. As a result, non-technical users can create, manage, and publish content in a single interface. However, developers have to spend more time on delivering sophisticated content to a wide variety of devices.

Headless CMS separates front-end tasks—like presentation—from back-end content tasks—like storage and management. Developers can build front-end applications without any back-end restrictions by using APIs. Headless CMS enable marketers to generate content from multiple front-ends making it a perfect match for JAMstack websites.

Benefits of Headless CMS

Marketers use CMS to manage website content. When managing a JAMstack website with Headless CMS, marketers gain the below benefits.

1. Create content only once
Marketers can create content once while enabling developers to display it on any device. This means more time for building engaging user experience and less time spent on administration.

2. Enhanced user experience
The client-side just renders content, it does not need to communicate with the back-end system. As a result, the website design feels more responsive, fast, and consistent.

3. No back-end restrictions
Developers can build user experience functionalities by using tools they know without any restrictions and then deliver content using APIs.

Disadvantages of a Headless CMS

Headless CMS is not a magic bullet to fix all your content challenges. They can come with some major issues that you need to consider.

Marketers cannot use What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)
A WYSIWYG editor enables you to see the result of how the content will look like while it is being created. Marketers do not have this option in headless CMS, since there are no front-end functionalities.

No real-time communication
Headless CMS does not provide the option to send customer data from the front-end to the back-end in real-time. As a result, you cannot run content analytics activities or personalize user experiences. Personalization is a fundamental requirement in modern websites. Personalization means using data analytics to meet individual user needs.

Pros & Cons of JAMstack for Marketers

There are more JamStack benefits for marketing professionals besides using it instead of a traditional CMS.

JAMstack benefits:

  • Improved technical skills—when launching a JAMstack website, marketers often find themselves working with code every day. As a result, you can manage, and optimize the content more easily after the launch.
  • A better understanding of the site structure—when working with JAMstack, marketers are exposed to the building process of the site structure. This leads to a better understanding and communication between dev, design and marketing teams.
  • Simultaneous development and content workflow—marketers can see the iterative content improvements being made instantly by developers.

JAMstack downsides:

  • Longer delivery times—delivery of new marketing material can take longer compared to traditional methods like CDN. It depends on your stack and your team. Sometimes marketers need to wait for the development team to address their needs.
  • New technology—often comes with exciting bugs or issues that can take a while to resolve.
  • Technical challenge—there may still be parts of the site that based entirely on code. You need to edit content and metadata in multiple places.

Tips for a Successful JAMstack Website Launch

Launch of a JAMstack website requires close collaboration with developers. Developers need to know exactly what functionality you want to build into the website. You need to be clear about what content and data you expect to push into your static site with headless CMS.

Most likely you will need to integrate your website with analytics services and tools. Each JAMstack website may have a different way of integration. Therefore, you need to have a concrete plan from the start, so nothing gets lost.

Conclusion

The marketing stack becomes more complex when things like website speed and performance influence user experience. JAMstack and headless CMS are effective methods for quick website deployment.

Keep in mind that JAMstack requires technical skills and seamless collaboration between marketers and development teams. You will also need to integrate with analytics tools, and do away with real-time analysis.

If you’re considering adopting JAMstack, assess your situation critically and plan in advance. JAMstack can be ideal for marketers managing content websites that require simple analytics, but it might not work for eShops that need real-time personalization.

Hopefully, this article has helped you gain a better understanding of JAMstack, and whether it’ll be a good fit for you or any of your projects.

Posted on May 26 by:

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Eddiesegal

@eddiesegal

Web developer - Node.js and React.js Cloud and web applications development. Experience in design and implementation of web applications and cloud systems.

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