Are you looking to launch faster with a headless content management platform? If the answer is yes, you should learn about Contentful. It’s one of the easiest and fastest solutions to manage, integrate and publish content across the web via a business’ channels.
Contentful has changed the game for; businesses, digital leaders, content creators, developers, platforms owners and project managers, with a 60% increase in eCommerce conversion, a tripled conversion from each online store search, an x5 faster loading speed and a 13% increase in average order value, but will this technology pay off?
If you haven’t already guessed, today’s article is dedicated to one of the most prized content management platforms in the field. So, let’s take a close look at Contentful’s industry-leading app framework:
Who Are Contentful?
If you’re wondering who Contentful are, they are the online infrastructure built with business projects in mind. So, for the brands that are looking to build a website, this establishment is a great content managing solution to consider.
In the simplest of terms, Contentful is a headless enterprise content management platform whose infrastructure allows eCommerce stores to create, manage and distribute content to any of their online channels. Unlike a CMS, Contentful gives freedom back to the businesses, allowing a brand to create their own content model, giving them the freedom to decide on which content they’d like to manage.
Contentful provides its users with RESTful APIs so that businesses can deliver content seamlessly across multiple spaces on the web, For instance; mobile apps (iOS, Android and Windows) alongside many other platforms which you can imagine (from Google Glass to infinity) are on the list here.
With an uncluttered user interface, Contentful is an extremely efficient tool for creating and managing online content individually or as part of a team. Moreover, this management solution provides its users with the ability to; assign custom roles and permissions, add validations (depending on the type of content) and media files. Such formats commonly include; images, documents, sounds and videos.
The Difference Between Contentful and CMSs
What’s the difference between an enterprise content management platform like Contentful and CMS? Well, in our opinion here at Karmoon, we believe that content management systems (CMS) are created around one type of content that they have been optimised to display, which for reference is usually a website.
In our experience, we have found that many CMSs have become simple web publishing tools as opposed to general content management systems. Typically, they tend to offer pre-existing content models that narrow down the potential possibilities of a website so, based on this, we’d say that CMSs tend to be coupled towards one presentation layer.
Contentful, on the other hand, is very different as it has a three-step process. First of all, store owners need to define a content model which is independent of any other presentation layer. It’s important to note that this content model should clearly define what kind of content the business would like to manage.
In the second step, internal and/ or external editors will be able to manage all of their content in one easy-to-use and interactive editing interface. Then, content is served in a presentation-independent way, which means that content can be taken to create engaging experiences. Therefore, Contentful is completely adaptable and well in tune with the needs of a business.
To keep things simple, we’ve compiled a list of the feature that we think make Contentful stand out from the crowd of competitive headless eCommerce platforms:
Contentful’s CDN takes good care of delivering content to your website’s audience around the clock.
Flexible Content Models:
With Contentful, there are no predefined content models which means that businesses can create their unique content models for their establishment.
Tested to achieve the best results, Contentful offers its users a beautiful and simple user interface. We think that it’s fair to say that the platform cares deeply about author experience and an uncluttered UI is just one of the areas where this can be seen.
Last but not least, the platform’s API allows merchants to deliver content with the click of a button. Mobile and web amongst other types of platforms can receive the content as soon as it has been published.
Does Contentful Require Written Code?
Contentful is a platform whose interface was designed so that everyone, with or without a technical background, can use it. If you use Contentful without writing code, you can add and edit content types, and also add and manage actual content. In other words, you can do the work of an editor or content strategist.
However, to create a website with Contentful, users will either have to code content themselves and load this via Contentful’s API or the choice of working with an agency or freelance developer is always possible.
As contentful is an enterprise content management platform, businesses can update the content of their website, mobile app or any other platform that displays content, but it’s important to understand that while users will need to code to create a website, content can be created and organised without the use of code.
Naturally, this saves masses of time and avoids the hassle of brands having to create their backend to manage content. In addition to many headless eCommerce platforms and competitors in the industry, Contentful provides many tools that make the task of generating a website or app easier. However, building websites, apps and other experiences will require actual programming.
Headless & Decoupled CMSs
As our team have noticed, there is a fair bit of confusion (and contradiction) in regards to the differences between headless and decoupled CMSs. A lot of people are assuming that they are the same thing. However, at Contentful, they’re not interchangeable terms.
As we discussed in our guide to [Sanity The Headless E-Commerce Solution](insert a link to published article), headless CMS does not have a frontend or presentation layer. Simply put, there is no built-in option.
So, what does this look like for developers? In practice, this allows experts to quickly code and design frontend experiences using their preferred language of choice. As a result, developers will not be restricted to backend technologies, as they will come to rely on APIs to connect the backend functions to frontend delivery.
When headless CMSs first made their debut, many developers fell head over heels for its structure. Frontend developers, in particular, benefited greatly from being free of the conventions and structures of the backend and as you’d expect, developers thrive on the fact that they have full control over the user experience.
However, over recent months, we’ve heard the words “revolutionary” and “game-changing” thrown around quite a lot in regards to going headless. While we understand the reason behind the hype, like anything it always bodes well to approach unknown territory with research and a level head, because headless won’t be right for everyone.
In all fairness, we were right to do so, because, from a developer’s perspective, one of the biggest issues that we often face when approaching a new project with a headless CMS, or website redesign is that content is often brushed to the side. So, it’s almost like content is an afterthought, which is something that we are not used to.
In our opinion, building the presentation layer first and adding content later is a practice that may very well come back to bite so, the true strengths of headless are only beneficial if you put your content first. For us, it’s okay because that’s where our loyalties lie, but other developers out there may struggle with this concept.
There’s a high chance that if you search “Contentful” into Google, you’ll stumble across all kinds of sources that praise the application for being a great option for headless CMS. However, this isn’t quite true. While we’re sure that the team loves good press, the application has stated that they do not like to identify as a headless or decoupled CMS, as they offer a lot more and as we’ve suggested throughout this guide, Contentful is a content platform.
Simply put, a content platform is founded on two parts:
- A hub where content is stored.
- A programming tool for developers to ship content to any given; website, app or digital device.
See, the platform cannot identify as anything other than a content platform, as all content is turned into code through a structured model. This means that any digital product can be built for any platform.
Moreover, the application is naturally content-driven, which means that businesses must begin with a content strategy and content model before moving onwards from there. This approach means that the sight of what you’re trying to achieve is never lost.
Contentful puts APIs first, so their powerful solutions were not created as an afterthought. While many similar headless and decoupled CMSs offer APIs for delivering content, Contentful is known for having the industry’s leading management API that allows for engineering teams to organise and manage even the most complex of digital ecosystems on the web.
Powerful APIs are also extremely well documented and we’re pleased to say that developers will find that straightforward resources and support is available at every step of the creation process.
We think that one of the best features that Contentful has to offer is its support teams. As we’re sure you’ll know, starting and mastering new technology can be a challenging experience, even where the most tech-savvy of individuals are concerned. So, it’s good to know that if you need additional support, the team is there to help 24/7.
Whatever your goals may be, Contentful’s enterprise content management platform is there to help identify the best practices and workflows that fit your business.
Here’s a list of the application’s key support options:
- Personalised training sessions for your business’ editors and developers.
- Round-the-clock options to get in touch with Contentful’s support team. This includes the options of; raising a support ticket, chatting on the phone and the ability to message with an expert directly from the web app.
- A dedicated Customer Success team will also be on hand to ensure that their infrastructure is serving the goals of your business. If you need it, they’ll also assist you with using their tools and processes to thrive.
- Lastly, contentful provides some of the best documentation and resources.
What Content Can Be Managed?
The short answer to this question is - any. Be it; video, music, images, text, structured documents or code, anything can be appropriately structured and created by multiple editors.
Note 📝 When it comes to creating the content model for your online business we would suggest creating different content types while specifying the fields that they consist of.
Which Browsers Are Supported By Contentful?
For those of you wondering which browsers will support Contentful, you’ll be pleased to hear that the applications run smoothly across all modern desktop browsers.
More specifically, the platform has stated that they are committed to providing support for the two most recent versions of the following browsers on the web:
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Apple Safari
- Microsoft Edge
Note 📝 Support for Internet Explorer 11 has been discontinued as of January 2020.
Contently has noted that even though their application is only committed to supporting the two most recent versions of the browsers listed above, they do still provide support for the previous version for an additional six months after a new version has been released. So, in most instances, the Contentful application should run on older versions as well.
Note 📝 It should be acknowledged that in this situation, the functionality may be impacted. Users can check to see if they are using the latest version of their web browser via browsehappy.com. Additionally, we’d like to make it clear that Contentful does not currently support mobile browsers.
So, what do you think? Is Contentful the right solution for your online store? If you’re actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us an email or fill in the form on the contact page to get started!