Websites are easy to build these days. There is an abundance of tools available that let you create websites in minutes. However, building websites that are fast, scalable, and flexible that deliver superior performance is a lot more complex than creating a simple website. This is especially true when developing content-heavy websites, such as a news site, knowledge-base Platform, online magazine, communities, and so on.
In general, content-heavy websites are likely to have hundreds or even thousands of pages, with new content added every day. They may also attract high traffic as they act as a body of knowledge hosting not just text content but also other media resources such as research reports, interactive maps, videos, images, calculators for consumers, or other dynamic tools. Consequently, they require a structure that supports quick publishing and accommodates frequent changes in content models and functionalities.
It requires meticulous planning, a well-planned architecture, and modern technologies to develop and maintain a massive website and ensure that it delivers super-fast performance for every interaction with its visitors.
Adopting a MACH approach is one of the effective ways to implement this. MACH stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and Headless technologies. It promotes having an architecture where most components are scalable and pluggable, enabling continuous improvement and easy replacement of modules without impacting the performance of others.
This article shows how you can harness the power of different MACH and serverless technologies to develop and maintain a high-performance content-heavy website.
Use APIs for Content Management, Content Delivery, and to Connect to Other Apps
With the advent of new IoT technologies, companies now have more ways and channels to connect and engage with customers. However, the underlying technology needs to be robust and flexible enough to support the channels of today and tomorrow.
Content on most devices today can be powered by APIs. Therefore it makes sense to use an API-based headless content management system that provides content as a service. Such CMSs are backend-only, Front-end-agnostic platforms, so you can attach any frontend to it and deliver content through APIs. They give developers full control over how the content needs to be presented and allow Integration with third-party apps.
Integrate Pluggable Apps With Microservices Architecture
A microservices architecture is a modern, complex approach that brings together loosely coupled, independently deployable applications, making your application modular and agile. With this approach, it becomes easier to build, test, and deploy features or parts of your application.
Each service in such a setup has an API to communicate with the rest and has its own database, making it truly decoupled. This separation ensures that changes or issues with one service don’t impact another, and can be replaced immediately without downtime.
This approach works well for a content-heavy website. It complements the cloud or serverless setup by enabling different teams to innovate rapidly, have greater control over the technologies, manage release cycles, and eventually cut down the time to market.
Fortunately, due to rapid evolution in the SaaS space, all the services you need for a content site have API-based alternatives that can quickly form your application’s foundation.
Let’s look at some of the apps that you can seamlessly integrate with your applications:
- Search: Algolia, Swiftype
- Forms: Marketo, Typeform
- CMS: Contentstack
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Mixpanel
- Videos: Brightcove, Ooyala, Vimeo
- Artificial Intelligence: IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, MonkeyLearn
- Personalization: Monetate, Optimizely
- E-commerce: commercetools, SAP Hybris, Snipcart
- Translation: Memsource, iLangl, AWS Translate
Optimize Content Delivery With CDN Caching
Your website server exists at one physical location. Content needs to travel the distance to be delivered at another location. The farther the requester, the longer it takes to deliver the content. For instance, if your web server is in New Jersey, visitors in San Francisco will get the content faster than the visitors in Sydney, Australia.
To avoid this lag and make your content delivery blazing fast, consider using a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN has a lot of network servers scattered across the globe. These servers save cached copies of your website content and act as distributors for visitors requesting content from nearby locations. For instance, visitors from Sydney will get the content from a nearby server (e.g., Melbourne) instead of New Jersey.
For a large, content-heavy website, having a CDN is highly recommended. It eases the load on the server, reduces latency, and cuts the wait time for your visitors considerably. It also helps to protect your site against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which have the potential to bring your site down.
Go With Serverless Infrastructure for Quick Scaling and Easy Management
While a microservices architecture is much more flexible and scalable than a traditional or monolithic one, an app built using the former approach is no good if it uses a legacy infrastructure that is unable to scale efficiently.
It makes much more business sense to move to serverless computing, where the cloud provider handles the infrastructure concerns, server space, scalability, etc. The provider is responsible for provisioning, scaling, and managing the infrastructure as needed, where you purchase backend service on a “pay-as-you-go” model.
This serverless approach ensures that your developers can focus more on writing code and developing features for the application, and worry less about the underlying infrastructure or scalability. Such a model can help you cope with demand spikes of your content-heavy website and ensure high performance.
Choose Scalable Presentation or Frontend Tools
If you adopt MACH technologies for your website, you are most likely to use a headless content management system (CMS) to manage the content and deliver it to your web application via APIs. Using a headless CMS, the frontend (presentation layer) is separate from the CMS backend, making it possible to choose any front-end technology that suits your needs.
When making this choice, it’s important to remember that your frontend needs to be flexible, scalable, and fast, to accommodate the future requirements that the rapid evolution in technology is likely to bring.
Another viable option is adopting a JAMstack architecture. It’s a modern way of building websites that are fast, secure, and quickly scalable. Some of the popular JAMstack frameworks are Gatsby, Next.js, and Gridsome.
By adopting a MACH and serverless architecture, each component of your website has a clearly-defined task, enabling better performance as a whole. The pluggable design allows you to replace components as the technology evolves, thereby future-proofing applications. And finally, the serverless infrastructure provides all the scalability and security you need for your application. With such a solid foundation, a content-heavy website of any scale can deliver peak performance.