What Is a Headless CMS WYSIWYG?

WYSIWYG is traditionally seen as an easy but imperfect solution for creators. Learn how WYSIWYG paired with headless CMS is changing the game.

What Is a Headless CMS WYSIWYG?

Chloe Spilotro 04.13.2022

In its purest form, a headless CMS doesn't offer WYSIWYG editing. It serves content directly to the frontend without specific structure or markup. This leaves marketers with less control over how content appears on a site, which may ultimately impact customer experience—and it is more important than ever for businesses to deliver good digital experiences.

According to McKinsey, businesses that focus on enabling better customer experiences get a 15-20% boost in sales, a 20-50% drop in service costs, and a 10-20% increase in customer satisfaction. Having more control over web content appearance means marketers can improve their customer experience and should consider a headless CMS with WYSIWYG editing. 

In this article, you’ll discover more about WYSIWYG headless CMS and how it can be beneficial for your enterprise.

Demystifying Traditional WYSIWYG Editors

The term “WYSIWYG” stands for “What You See Is What You Get”. It is an editor or software that displays how different types of content will appear without any coding required. With this editor, you get real-time visuals of how your page and content will appear. A typical example is Microsoft Word, which allows you to edit, format, and add words, images, and tables. 

Essentially, the result you get is exactly as it appears. Having a WYSIWYG feature in your headless CMS helps you place content, images, and widgets directly on the pages in the format you want without additional coding.

Advantages of Using WYSIWYG Editors

  • Intuitive easy-to-use interface: Since most WYSIWYG editors come with drag and drop functionalities, users can create webpages using components such as text, images, or videos. This way, you can structure the page and public it as it’s displayed. 

  • Faster time-to-market: WYSIWYG editors enable users to quickly set up web pages without writing code from scratch. Moreover, they can preview the pages live on-screen without having to switch displays. 

  • Fewer mistakes: A WYSIWYG editor makes it easier to discover and resolve errors in your page than dealing with blocks of code.

  • Flexibility: WYSIWYG ensures that you can make modifications on the page in just a few clicks.

The Drawbacks of Traditional WYSIWYG Editors

Despite their ease-of-use, WYSIWYG editors can provide headaches for enterprises looking to scale and customize their content. Here are a few reasons why traditional WYSIWYG editors aren’t enough for modern enterprise content needs: 

  • Inconsistency across channels: Traditional WYSIWYG editors have trouble serving content to multiple platforms at once. This results in content inconsistencies, rendering it non-reusable and arduous to edit. Modifying content on a large desktop device won’t translate properly to a mobile device. 

  • Limited functionalities: The limitations of WYSIWYG editors make it difficult to design flexible web pages. Certain changes exceed the capabilities of the editor, leading to massive overhead and a need to customize and tailor content for your purposes.

  • Non-standard coding: WYSIWYG editors often create excess and bloated code, slowing down a website's loading time and causing errors. Plus, generated codes aren't likely to conform to existing standards.

  • Difficulty in reusing or repurposing content: Because of the way WYSIWYG editors structure or store content, it can be challenging to reuse them. Additionally, it can be challenging to use the content outside of its intended channel.

Leveraging WYSIWYG and Headless CMS

The headless CMS separates the presentation layer or frontend from the data or logic layer. Here, the content—texts, images, videos—resides in the headless CMS and can be reused across a range of devices and digital channels. This is an ideal solution for developers to build engaging interfaces with any framework or coding language of choice. Sadly, it’s not the same for marketers without access to their preferred WYSIWYG editor. 

When you combine the capabilities and flexibility of an enterprise headless CMS with a WYSIWYG editor, you get a unique solution that’s suitable for both marketers and developers. 

Why Marketers Should Opt for Enterprise-grade WYSIWYG Headless CMS

Combining the capabilities of a WYSIWYG editor with an enterprise-grade headless CMS provides you with a more robust and powerful web experience that addresses the drawbacks of WYSIWYG editors and headless CMS. This way, you can unlock many possibilities, including:

Omnichannel Content Delivery

Some of the biggest advantages of a headless CMS are modularity, flexibility, and omnichannel content delivery. With a headless CMS, a WYSIWYG editor is able to create better structured content that can be delivered across all channels. On top of that, you can preview the web pages across a range of devices using the Duo Mode feature on Zesty.io. 

Cleaner Code

Unlike traditional WYSIWYG editors that come with bloated codes that fail to follow proper coding standards, an enterprise-grade headless CMS like Zesty.io boasts cleaner codes that follow the industry's best practices. That’s because of its modular and components-based structure which ensures that each component, page, or content is reusable. 


Having a WYSIWYG headless CMS ensures marketers get all the tools to create and serve content to multiple channels without relying on developers. They can quickly set up web pages and content, leverage templates, and make modifications..

Developer Autonomy

This solution transcends the WYSIWYG editor in traditional CMSs. Developers can still leverage all the capabilities of a headless CMS to create unique frontend interfaces. Plus, they’ll spend less time assisting marketers with all page and content modifications. Instead, they can work on more innovative and revenue-generating avenues. 

Faster Time-to-Market

Building content and sites with a WYSIWYG editor ensures a faster time to market—especially when non-technical people are in charge of content production. Rather than code from scratch, enterprises can select templates or use drag and drop features. Also, they get to preview content and pages in real-time —and they do this without getting bogged down with code. 

Moreover, the component-based structure of headless CMS makes it easier for enterprises to build once and deliver to multiple touchpoints. This helps to eliminate content duplicates and organization silos, leading to better collaboration and release velocity.


Businesses can leverage all the benefits of a traditional CMS and a headless CMS—the best of both worlds for marketers and developers. As a result, they get the flexibility to build any frontend interfaces of their choice while marketers can easily set up web pages without extra help. 

Plus, making changes with a WYSIWYG headless CMS is a breeze. Marketers can quickly jump into the editor to make slight adjustments without having to code. This means you can do more in much less time. 

Choosing the Best WYSIWYG Headless CMS for Your Enterprise

Many marketers worry about the transition from traditional CMS platforms to pure headless CMS due to the absence of the WYSIWYG editor. A hybrid headless CMS like Zesty.io is a solution to this problem. It blends the WYSIWYG editing features of a traditional CMS with the omnichannel functionality of a headless system.

Zesty.io is a hybrid headless CMS made for developers and marketers. It offers many features such as WYSIWYG, drag and drop, in-context editing, duo mode previews, and omnichannel delivery. This gives you total control over content production, leading to better customer experiences and revenue. 

Jackpocket, a financial services company, leveraged Zesty.io to drive its global expansion plans. They realized 90% faster content deployment, four times more traffic, and significantly better experiences. Want to know how they achieved this? Check out the case study.

Experience a Headless Content Management System, Join Zesty.io.

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Chloe Spilotro photo

Chloe Spilotro

Account Executive, Zesty.io

Hooked onto the platform since first using it through the Zesty.io Incubator Program at the University of San Diego. Passionate about all things marketing, IoT, and helping businesses leverage technology to grow and become major players in their industries.... Learn More

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