Contentful CMS: Benefits, Features, and Capabilities
By Raimond Kempees
Contentful is a headless content management system (CMS) and content platform that is both cloud-native and highly extensible.
The platform sits at the heart of a modern tech stack and creates a structure for all content throughout the organization. Organizations can use Contentful to easily manage content, quickly deliver experiences, and publish across channels. While the CMS sits within the content platform to manage content, the content platform uses flexible APIs to deliver that content to create a complete and unified digital experience, using the headless CMS in a smart way to weave features like search and structured content together in a single experience.
In this article, you’ll learn about the Contentful CMS, its benefits, and why more and more companies are opting for this headless solution. We’ll also provide some helpful information about what it’s like using this content platform as a content specialist.
How does Contentful work?
Moving from a traditional CMS to a headless CMS like Contentful can seem challenging for those accustomed to legacy platforms, but Contentful makes working with a headless CMS seamless.
Contentful’s careful, intuitive choices can win over anyone in no time at all. Like a matryoshka doll, each section on a web page builds on itself neatly in nested layers, allowing you to delve deep into the available content options, including personalization, without needing to open new tabs or stretch your page out unnaturally.
You never get lost from your base layer page because it never goes away. There is no need to scroll through multiple menus or enlist a robust folder system to ensure items don’t get misplaced as they are self-contained on your page.
Connecting pages, be it parent-to-child or related content, might be the most intuitive process. You can map the connections between items visually on each item via the Contentful sidebar, which is a lifesaver when it comes to ensuring nothing goes live that should not be live.
Adding and adjusting media is just as simple with Contentful’s media API. Anything you want to be added to the media filter can be dragged and dropped – in groups no less – and resized, cropped, and otherwise edited in the CMS.
Some of the key concepts and features that make this possible are:
RESTful API: A stateless API that includes compact JSON payloads provides control over the entire CMS, content assets, and multiple versions.
Customizable Editor Interface: Customizable UX for authoring various types of content, from rich text to JSON snippets. In addition, Contentful allows the smooth introduction of tags on items, acting as an invisible folder system. Nothing is more satisfying and helpful than a searchable, easily manageable tag, especially when content naming schemes might be on the more flexible side of best practices.
Secure Previews: Users can preview drafts and entries without being concerned with interrupting service or accidentally publishing content
Content Delivery and Management APIs: Contentful’s decoupled APIs enable you to structure content and provide a platform that evolves as your business grows. It uses advanced caching with external APIs to deliver content quickly, reducing page load times and improving performance.
SDKs and Purpose-Built Apps: Read and write SDKs are available out of the box and provide open-source components for apps.
What are the benefits of the Contentful CMS?
Contentful comes with numerous benefits that companies can capitalize on:
Ecommerce is a crucial component for modern enterprises, and Contentful enables organizations to build personalized experiences across multiple platforms. Contentful integrates with leading PIM and eCommerce platforms to handle all digital commerce needs.
Contentful’s App Framework lets brands easily connect tools and frameworks to the platform. Extending Contentful’s features is a simple process whether your business needs a traditional or bespoke solution. Developers can leverage open-source examples as blueprints for building apps of all types.
Many enterprises suffer from content that is scattered in multiple locations. With Contentful’s content hub platform, that content can be unified to give editors more control over it. Contentful can also easily integrate that hub using webhooks and APIs to future-proof content and have it consumed it anywhere.
Key Features of Contentful
Contentful has some notable features that make it stand out from other CMS platforms:
Structured Content Authoring
Content authors can structure content for any channel by creating custom content types, choosing fields, and arranging them in defined hierarchies. However, Contentful also boasts SEO support, content versioning for rollbacks and history, and a great archiving feature to safely retire content you’re not ready to delete but can’t have to go live again by accident.
The CMS also offers content scheduling, a perfect solution for those 4 AM releases, and a thorough internal search feature for finding that one piece of content you forgot to label properly.
Contentful Apps: Compose + Launch
Compose + Launch gives content teams the tools they need to create engaging experiences and collaborate. With Compose, content authors can utilize a page-based interface to create and manage content. This includes SEO fields and localization. With Launch, teams can collaborate more efficiently with content releases, flexible scheduling, and workflows.
Contentful’s GraphQL Content API offers a GraphQL schema that can be used to consume published and unpublished content.
Webhooks can send notifications when data is altered in Contentful, creating triggers that react to changes as required.
For even the most experienced CMS users, working with a new CMS often comes with a steep learning curve. However, with Contentful there is no learning curve at all, as both marketers and developers can easily leverage the headless nature of the CMS.
Contentful easily lends to its users, both backend and content authors. It gives the freedom to keep the same frontend and content models no matter which language, microsite, campaign site or API you choose to run. This is amenable to creating and upkeeping a whole large-scale system of satellite sites that are not meant to connect but still benefit from the reusability of the core components that Contentful offers.
So, what does that mean? It means less training and a faster pick-up when a new site is created. Learning how to use Contentful is a straightforward process since it includes a built-in help center and training courses to get you started and keep you learning with advanced courses.
Launch Faster with a Contentful Partner Like Content Bloom
Customers in today’s environment are demanding engaging content experiences that span multiple channels. Enterprises hoping to deliver on those experiences need a CMS to empower their entire team, from developers to marketers.
Contentful has been regarded as one of the leading platforms in the headless CMS industry and can help organizations deliver what their customers need. At Content Bloom, our expertise as a Contentful partner and digital agency for the enterprise gives us the capability to assist with any Contentful implementation, omnichannel marketing, and more.
Is Contentful a headless CMS?
Yes, Contentful is a headless CMS. It focuses on managing and delivering content without imposing restrictions on how it is presented. This allows developers to use their preferred frontend frameworks and technologies to build custom user experiences.
What programming languages can I use with Contentful?
Does Contentful support multi-language content?
Yes, Contentful supports multi-language content. You can create content models and define localized fields to provide translations for different languages. Contentful’s APIs allow you to retrieve content in specific languages based on user preferences or localization settings.
Can I integrate Contentful with other tools and platforms?
Yes, Contentful provides a wide range of integrations with various tools and platforms. These include popular technologies like frontend frameworks, e-commerce platforms, digital asset management systems, analytics tools, marketing automation platforms, and more.
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