Blog Headless CMS

 Best Next.js CMS in 2022

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There is always a new tool or technology to learn in the software development world. With so many choices available, it can be difficult to allocate your company's resources and ensure you're tasking the best agency to build the best website. 

Next.js is a robust React-based web development framework that makes it easy to create dynamic, responsive websites and applications. It is an excellent choice for companies and brands because it allows you to build components and content-rich applications using a headless CMS as your backend.

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With the right headless CMS by your side, you can get blazing-fast performance and an easy-to-use tool to manage your content that delivers solid SEO gains. To help you choose the best Next js CMS for your project, we've curated a list of our top headless content management systems you can use with Next.js to take your project to the next level.

What is a headless CMS?

If you come from WordPress CMS, headless could sound scary. But rest assured, it isn’t a bad thing at all. A headless content management system is a platform designed to store, edit, and manage content. It doesn’t have a “head” or presentation layer, meaning you can use it as a database and use your preferred technology to build your digital experiences. It connects your content with the presentation using a REST API or GraphQL and a markdown file.

A traditional CMS like WordPress manages content and allows you to present that content in the form of a website. All in one package. While this approach is good for most companies, it’s not efficient for everyone, especially if you want to scale your business.

All in all, a headless CMS gives you three main benefits:

  • Easier content management
  • Better tools and more options
  • Enhanced security.

We wrote an extensive article about what is a headless CMS. Go ahead and read it if you want a deeper definition and use cases.

Why Next.js?

According to the "State of Frontend" report by The Software House, 43.1% of the surveyed frontend professionals have used and liked Next.js. 

Such an enormous acceptance –eclipsed only by React– comes not only from developers and technical leaders but also marketers and business users. Also, Next.js is the darling of many Jamstack developers, and not without reason, as it goes with the Jamstack architecture as peanut butter and jelly. It simplifies frontend development and delivers solid business benefits with less effort from your developers.

Next.js’ benefits

  • Better user experience: With Next.js, you're not constrained to plugins or templates like a WordPress website. This gives you total freedom to build entirely custom components and digital experiences tailored to your needs. 
  • Adaptability: Websites and web applications built on Next.js can work on any device and screen size. That means you can use Next.js to create truly omnichannel digital experiences.
  • Security: When coupled with a headless CMS, Next.js sites are virtually impregnable to cyber attacks.
  • SEO-friendly: Server-side rendered applications built with Next.js make it easy for Google crawlers to read the page and identify its content, helping it rank faster. 
  • Static site generation: Next pre-renders your pages at build time to ensure they load fast.
  • Zero config environment: Next offers automatic compilation and bundling, optimizing your nextjs site from the beginning. 
  • Blazing-fast loading times: A static website built with Next.js is fast and snappy. This framework is an excellent tool for companies that need performing sites capable of handling thousands of visitors simultaneously.  

What is a Next.js CMS?

Not every headless content management system was created equal. Some are platform-agnostic, but others favor one or two frameworks over others. So, you can find React CMSs, Gatsby CMSs, and so on. 

A Next.js CMS, in turn, is a headless CMS that integrates with Next.js and enables the creation of content-rich digital experiences. Next.js is a framework that provides the essentials for modern React development with an emphasis on performance and accessibility, while still allowing you to extend its features using plugins oryour own custom code if needed. 

Next.js is the perfect framework for companies and brands looking to go omnichannel. Developers can use it to create progressive web applications, server-rendered apps, static sites, and SEO-friendly websites. 

With Next.js and a headless CMS, you can deliver content at lightspeed to different frontends and devices usign edge cached global CDNs. Also, Next.js CMS comes with Next.js website starters to help you develop and deploy a full-stack Nextjs app with a few clicks, making Next’s site development simple and fun. 

What makes for a good Next.js CMS?

These are some of the features you need to look for in a CMS for Next.js:

  • CDN-ready
  • Live previews
  • Editor interface
  • Solid integrations
  • Customizable APIs
  • Zero config options
  • Big user community
  • Secure authentication 

Why use Next.js with a headless CMS?

You may think that a headless CMS is unnecessary for your website, but with non-technical people on the team, and content management requirements beyond what you can handle with hard coding, you'll soon realize how much a headless CMS can help.

Next.js is great with APIs, which makes it the perfect choice for API-driven CMSs built with RESTful or GraphQL API architecture. With APIs, you can deliver content across multiple channels, from websites to Nextjs apps to IoT devices, supporting omnichannel marketing strategies. 

Also, Next.js is a powerful framework that frontend developers can use to build some of the largest websites and applications, with an incredible developer experience built on top of React –and if you need more help than just components, then Next.js has got your back. 

It comes equipped with custom lifecycle methods for working efficiently with many headless CMSs, making building custom digital experiences a breeze. 

What can you build with a Next.js CMS?

Best headless CMS for Next.js

Agility CMS

agility-cms-logo

When using Next.js in conjunction with Agility CMS to power your website content, editors can easily create and manage pages. 

Agility CMS offers content editors and marketers a toolbox full of UI Components (i.e., Page Modules and Page Templates) to select from. Once you get started with Agility, you'll see how easy it is to use these to compose your pages. Plus, in Agility CMS, editors can preview content changes in real-time in a Preview Environment before publishing.

  • Good for: Larger web projects and enterprise websites.
  • Price range: $900-1800 and up / month.

Sanity

sanity-cms-logo

Sanity CMS is a unique headless CMS. It's also one of the most customizable options out there. Customizable enough to call it a blank canvas.

Sanity is a developer-first CMS that puts you on the cutting edge of JavaScript. It allows you to write serverless colts to the Sanity API, create content in Sanity Studio and connect your app to a performant, extensible CMS in only a few lines of code.

  • Good for: For small to enterprise companies that need granular and high-level customizability and have access to developers
  • Price range: $0-949 and up / month. Scales by usage so you can start small and pay as you scale

Dato CMS

dato cms logo

Dato CMS leverages the power of the serverless architecture to enable Next.js users to fetch and deliver content everywhere in the world. 

With Dato CMS, you can build a static website that serves optimized image previews using GraphQL Content API and React components that serve lazy-loaded, responsive images with a single line of code. Dato also lets you preview your edits to ensure everything looks good before going to production.

  • Good for: Small to medium marketing sites where you need a high level of modularity.
  • Price range: $0-300

Strapi CMS 

strapi logo

Strapi is a fast, Node.js-powered CMS that enables the creation of content-rich digital experiences.

As it’s built on React, Strapi works seamlessly with Next.js and allows all kinds of users to create infinitely scalable websites, Nextjs apps, and shopping experiences.

  • Good for: Progressive web apps and static sites
  • Price range: $0 - $29 and up /month

Storyblok

storyblok api

Storyblok is one of the most accessible headless CMSs to integrate with Next.js. In fact, you can set a boilerplate Next.js starter in less than five minutes. 

Storyblok is a very robust CMS for non-technical people. Storyblok API visual editor gives novice developers and marketers a solid set of tools they can use to build digital experiences. Your Storyblok app can also be integrated with Next.js to make use of every piece of functionality and performance gain associated with the framework. 

  • Good for: Non-technical users, blogs, marketing sites
  • Price range: $0-$2,999 and up/month.

Hygraph

hygraph logo

Hygraph is a solid CMS option for complex projects where you need flexibility and power.

With Hygraph, developers can wield Next.js' high-speed server side rendering, static exporting, CSS-in-JS, and preview mode. It unlocks the benefits of highly performant sites without compromising developer experience.

  • Good for: Complex projects where flexibility is a must
  • Price range: $0-$799 and up/month

Prismic

prismic cms logo

Prismic is a straightforward Jamstack CMS for smaller website projects. Using Prismic, it's easy to quickly iterate small, simple marketing sites.

Prismic lets you model your pages exactly as you want them, making it great for content editors and non-technical users. With Prismic, you can build a custom component for each page on your site. 

  • Good for: Content creators and small sites without heavy requirements for content management
  • Price range: $0- 500 and everything in between

We wrote a guide with the best Jamstack CMS that covers other great headless CMSs. Feel free to read more. 

Next.js + headless CMS examples

MD Logica

md logica logo

MD Logica tasked us with building an SEO-optimized, blazing fast website. We did it by taking three of the best tools for the job. Dato CMS for content management, Next.js for next-gen frontend, and Vercel for quick deploys. 

Now, thanks to these three awesome tools, MD Logica has a three-times faster Next js website that’s great for SEO, and one that allows them to create content swiftly thanks to Dato CMS.

Blue Nose

blue nose logo

Blue Nose tasked us with building a new marketing website capable of handling cruise reservations. Their previous legacy CMS was buckling under the demands of Blue Nose’s customers, and it couldn’t even support mobile browsers. Imagine that. 

We chose Next.js, Sanity CMS, and Netlify and built a next-gen website capable of taking Blue Nose to uncharted, more profitable waters. With the help of a Nextjs CMS, Blue Nose increased its conversion rate by 50% with a simple, but effective website. 

These two projects aren’t the only ones we’ve built with Nextjs. Take a look at more sites we’ve built with this incredible framework and see for yourself.

Closing thoughts

Like most people, you may think that a headless CMS is unnecessary for your website, especially if you have a great team who can handle content management without extra help. Or maybe you think you don’t need the added expense or complexity of a headless CMS. 

But as your business grows and your content requirements go beyond what you can handle, you will soon realize how much a headless CMS can help. Headless CMSs and Next.js are a match made in heaven. Next.js is a powerful React-based web development framework that makes it easy to create dynamic, responsive websites and applications. 

Next.js is a great choice for companies and brands because it allows you to build components and content-rich applications using a headless CMS as your backend. With its rich feature set and ease of use, we believe that Next.js will be the go-to framework for web development in the years to come. 

If you feel like Next.js sounds like a great framework to power your digital experiences, take a look at our Next.js development services, contact us, and we’ll take it from there.

Download our new eBook: Jamstack buyers' guide

This eBook from Ikius and Agility contains useful information for companies and organizations that are considering Jamstack solutions. Jamstack has become the de-facto-standard for enterprise web development. In this eBook, we will share our insight into buying Jamstack solutions.

Jamstack buyers' guide 2022

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