If you got a ton of data and a complex website, you want to make it easy for your team to manage and update the content. Even better, if you can use your content anywhere. Outside of websites, this can be web apps, mobile apps, wearable apps, and more. For that, you’d need a content management system (CMS) that lets you manage the content in one single place but then structures it so it can be used in any channel. With Contentful, you can manage your content under one roof and distribute it on different channels.
Contentful is a little bit different from the CMS we’re used to seeing. A classic example of a CMS is WordPress. A short refresher: Without a CMS, you’d need to write all your content in one or more HTML files and upload it to the server. Not to forget images or other media. A CMS is more than that, it also makes all the content show up exactly as you want it. A CMS is one part content management application (CMA) and one part content delivery application (CDA). The first part is what allows you to add and manage content, while the second part handles all the behind the scene stuff. It takes the content you input in the CMA, stores it properly, and shows it to your website visitors.
Contentful is a CMS in that it does what a CMS is supposed to do, and then some. Perhaps the feature that sticks out the most is that for Contentful, it doesn’t matter if your content is text or media (data) and where you’re going to show it. It also comes with an API. This means if you’re a developer, you can get your data in and out just using its API. This means you can use whatever app or website you want to show the data. It also has decoupled content delivery from content management. In other words, even if you can’t edit the content (CMA), it can still be shown (CDA).
- Pros and cons of Contentful
- What can you use Contentful for?
- Who is Contentful for?
- How easy is Contentful to use?
- How to manage your ecommerce store in Contentful?
- What marketing and SEO tools does Contentful have?
- Contentful security
- Contentful customer support
- Contentful pricing
- Is Contentful the right tool for you?
Pros and cons of Contentful
Contentful is a cloud-based content management platform with which you can manage your content in one place and publish it on different channels. Think of it like a lego system which many components with which you can show your content – that includes media – in any channel or app.
It’s a move away from a page-centric way of managing content (think WordPress) to a more modular approach. But, if you need an out-of-the-box kind of ready tool, you know, something with which you can quickly put together a web page, then Contentful is not for you (this is the strength of WordPress).
- Uncluttered interface
- Manage content in different languages in one place
- 8 different programming languages for developers
- Easily add coworkers
- Easy to use for developers and non-developers
- Well written documentation
- Support for multilingual content
- You need time and developers to set up everything, especially for your content model
- Learning curve
- Can be slow if your internet connection isn’t solid
- Creating your content model can be tricky
What can you use Contentful for?
For Contentful, all content including media is data. You can decide how your data gets displayed in whatever channels you need, be it website, smart display and mobile apps, billboards, and others.
It’s the responsibility of your developers to create and maintain the building blocks so that you can realise your application. It gives you a lot of freedom to build exactly what you want without being limited by what kind of underlying platform you’re using.
Who is Contentful for?
Contentful is not for you if you quickly need to build a website. But, if you have many different apps and or a large and complex website and you need to make sure they all have access to the content they need, try Contentful. This is reflected in its customer base – it has customers such as Shiseido and Danone.
How easy is Contentful to use?
To drive this point home: Contentful is not an out-of-the-box solution. This means you need to plan some time to set it up and developers to build and maintain the content model.
The dashboard gives you everything you need to create and manage your content
Contentful has created a clean interface where you find everything in its horizontal menu. Since you want to have your content available for different applications, you need to develop your content model. It’s the overarching structure of your content. Your content is modular
It’s within the Content tab that you create and manage your content. You get an editor looking something like the WordPress editor to create your content. For this review, I set up a blog container.
You can add pretty much every popular format for image, video, audio, pdf, and more. It’s flexible so that you can customise it to the needs of both developers and copywriters.
If it’s not enough to just tailor the interface but you also want to extend the basic functionality, you can create new field types or take advantage of its App Framework to make it work better with your business processes and integrate with other services. If you’d rather skip it, there’s also a marketplace with countless apps.
How to manage your ecommerce store in Contentful?
You can set up a content model for your ecommerce store but all the behind-the-curtains process of taking care of an online store is not in the scope of Contentful.
What marketing and SEO tools does Contentful have?
The content you create and manage in Contentful can be consumed in apps on any kind of device. Contentful is designed to supply your content (any kind of data be it text or media) to whatever app you want. This means you can supply the content to your blog but you have to take care of SEO yourself.
Even if Contentful is not a shopping cart and needs to handle payments, it takes security seriously. This can be seen in that they’re ISO 27001 compliant. This is a standard meant to show that companies are committed to data and information security.
Contentful customer support
Depending on your plan, you get email or in-app messaging support or can only rely on Contentful’s knowledge base, developer documentation, and other online resources. But don’t worry, you shouldn’t have problems finding the answer in the well-documented user guides, Github repos, and FAQs.
If you’re a large team, need to maintain many apps and websites, or value support and guaranteed SLA, you need to subscribe to a paid plan.
Is Contentful the right tool for you?
If you just want to build a project fast, you may find Contentful needs too much planning and time. It’s not an all-in-one tool for creating, managing, and presenting websites like WordPress. It’s a tool for you to create and manage all your data that then gets consumed by all the apps you have be it for a wearable, a smart display, or just the plain ol’ website.
What Contentful is great at is it’s a powerful CMS that can handle complex workflows and processes. As long as you have a complex website, a ton of different kind of apps, or many different languages (regardless of your company size), it’s going to help you manage your content.