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How to choose a Jamstack CMS? 5 things to consider

Olena Teselko

It's been 7 years since Mathias Biilmann, co-founder and CEO of Netlify, introduced Jamstack, and more and more developers are adopting this approach.

Knowing all of the advantages of this architecture over legacy systems, you only need to choose a Jamstack CMS. The content management systems market, however, is rapidly evolving, so it can be pretty challenging to select the solution that works best for your particular case. We'll clear up all the things to look up to while selecting the CMS for your current and future projects. 

Explanation of Jamstack

Section titled What CMSs are compatible with Jamstack?  What CMSs are compatible with Jamstack? 

When browsing the official Jamstack website, you can find a huge list of content management systems that work with Jamstack, making it more tricky to pick from. There are two filters, though, the CMS type (API-driven or Git-based) and the license type (open source vs closed source), but this doesn't help much as there are now 96 systems in the list.

Difference between traditional web and Jamstack

The only thing that unites all the listed solutions is that they are all headless, or at least decoupled CMS. Why is it so? The overall concept of Jamstack is in decoupling, or, in other words, separating the back-end from the front-end, which also refers to headless architecture. Separating the experience layer from the business logic and data significantly improves the project's flexibility, scalability, performance, and maintainability. Additionally, the composable architecture enables the creation of custom logic and the integration of various services via API.

The question remains: 

Section titled What factors should you consider to choose a CMS for Jamstack?  What factors should you consider to choose a CMS for Jamstack? 

Section titled 1. Technology set  1. Technology set 

Since your development team will be working closely with the CMS of your choice, selecting one that supports the technologies your team is familiar with is critical. There are several Jamstack frameworks you can use, for example, Nuxt, Next.js, Gatsby, Hugo, 11ty (Eleventy), and so on. Headless CMSs typically support the most efficient and modern technologies, allowing the website to be faster, safer, and more scalable.

When working with Storyblok - a Jamstack CMS, developers can choose any technology they prefer, making their work faster and more comfortable. As a result, the tech team can focus more on improving user experience rather than maintaining the back-end, as it typically happens with legacy systems. 

Section titled 2. API support 2. API support

API support is a requirement for a Jamstack CMS. The headless approach implies that the content stored in the CMS will be delivered to the front-end via API. Though headless CMSs always provide a set of APIs, many of them may have limitations that make building a project the way you need it challenging.

Working with Storyblok, you can use either the Content Delivery API or the GraphQL API to deliver content to your users. Both APIs are highly cached and optimized for response times. Our Management API integrates deeply with the CMS and provides a programmatic approach for generating and editing your content.

Quote from Extract from the Jamstack survey by Netlify ,

Of the smaller CMS systems, Storyblok is notable for high satisfaction. This is the first year we've tracked it and it came in at 8% share, so we'll be looking for it to grow.

Extract from the Jamstack survey by Netlify
Extract from the Jamstack survey by Netlify

Section titled 3. Content and Asset CDN 3. Content and Asset CDN

When running a global website, or multiple localizations, it's crucial to ensure that everything will work fast and smoothly in any location of the globe. Hence, the CMS that provides a secure content delivery network will be a better solution. Storyblok uses the CDN by AWS called CloudFront.

How does it work? Suppose you need to access the content delivery API from Asia. In this case, the initial request will be routed through the CMS's primary location, Europe, for example. All following calls are sent with extremely low delay as they are cached in the CDN endpoint – Asia. Meanwhile, all assets, such as images and videos, are stored in the CDN as long as possible and rarely reach the origin server.

Section titled 4. User-friendly interface 4. User-friendly interface

A content management system is a tool that is used by many teams, not only developers. Still, many solutions are more tailored to the developers' needs rather than non-technical users. This is especially common among headless systems, as they don't have a set front-end. On the other hand, some vendors develop their own preview solutions, making it easier for content teams to work with the CMS. 

Storyblok has a unique Visual Editor that allows users to create and edit content with an in-context preview. Users can create new pages and edit existing content without the assistance of developers by using content blocks that can be reused and modified countless times. A user-friendly interface makes it easy for all team members to browse, edit, post content, and add or modify assets.

Section titled 5. Collaboration possibilities 5. Collaboration possibilities

Last but not least feature to consider is collaboration. Communication is critical in remote work and virtual teams to keep everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals.

Cooperating directly within the CMS can speed up the processes and avoid siloed work or any misunderstandings. Storyblok provides a variety of collaborative tools, such as discussions, workflow configuration, user roles, and permissions. Users can leave comments on each content block, tag a colleague, and start a real-time discussion. Several people can work on the same page at the same time and instantly see the changes they make without having to reload the page and send it to their peers for approval. Setting the roles allows you to control who can create, edit, approve, schedule, and post content, making it easier to manage distributed teams.

Section titled Launch your website with Storyblok – a CMS for Jamstack Launch your website with Storyblok – a CMS for Jamstack

Now that you know the key factors to consider when selecting a content management system, the only thing left to do is get started. Whether you are going to build a project from scratch or migrate it from the legacy system to an agile architecture such as Jamtack, Storyblok can help you do that easily. Want to see it in action? Learn how Fundbox solved their content management issues after migration to Storyblok.