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 powerful 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.
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.
This post covers
- What is Next.js CMS?
- Why Next.js?
- Why use Next.js with a headless CMS?
- Best headless CMS for Next.js
- Next.js + headless CMS examples
- Closing thoughts
What is 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 CMS, Angular CMS, 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 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. Also, Next.js CMS comes with Next.js website starters to help you develop and deploy a full-stack app with a few clicks, making Next’s site development simple and fun.
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 a big acceptance –eclipsed only by React– comes not only from developers and technical leaders but also from marketers and business users.
- 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 other web applications built on Next.js can work on any device and screen size. That means you can use Next.js to build 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.
- Blazing-fast loading times: A static website built with Next.js is fast and snappy, making this framework a great tool for companies that need performing sites capable of handling thousands of visitors at a time.
Why use Next.js with a headless CMS?
You may be thinking that a headless CMS is not necessary 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 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 the building of custom digital experiences a breeze.
What can you build with a Next.js CMS?
- Progressive web applications
- Headless commerce stores
- SEO-friendly websites
- Desktop apps
- Static sites
Best headless CMS for Next.js
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 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.
- Price range: $0-949 and up / month. Scales by usage so you can start small and pay as you scale.
- Good for: For small to enterprise companies that need granular and high-level customizability and have access to developers
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 that 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
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. It 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
- Price range: $0-$2,999 and up/month.
GraphCMS is a solid CMS option for complex projects where you need flexibility and power.
With GraphCMS, 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 is a straightforward Jamstack CMS for smaller website projects. Using Prismic, it's easy to iterate small, simple marketing sites quickly.
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.
- Price range: $0- 500 and everything in between
- Good for: Small and quick sites which don't have heavy requirements for content management.
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 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 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.
If you are like most people, you may be thinking that a headless CMS is not necessary for your website, especially if you have a great team who can handle content management without any 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.