What's the difference between Storyblok and a page builder?
When it comes time to customize the look and feel of a website, many marketers may prefer having a user-friendly interface that allows them to drag and drop components as they see fit. Consequently, these same marketers may be skeptical about using a headless CMS, given that many of them can be difficult for marketers to use without developer expertise.
As a headless CMS, we at Storyblok praise ourselves for our Visual Editor. And our customers love it too.
"We absolutely love the editor experience, it is a breeze to get used to and learn to use, the plugins system makes it extremely powerful and we are very happy to use it on a daily basis for a dozen of sites!" - A customer's review from G2
We believe that a modern CMS solution needs to offer easy-to-use visual editing capabilities and highly customizable components for marketers; on top of a modern, headless architecture that gives developers the flexibility to build fast and reliable digital platforms.
Long story short: We are obsessed with our Visual Editor. And we like to talk a lot about it. One thing that we sometimes need to clarify is the topic of being a page builder or not. That's what we'll be discussing in this article. But first, a few things that you should know to avoid any confusion.
No, Storyblok is not a Page Builder.
No, the Visual Editor of Storyblok is not a Drag & Drop-style website builder like the ones you know.
Let's explain this in a bit more detail.
What makes a Page Builder a Page Builder?
You might know or refer to them as page builders or website builders. A page builder allows you to create a website without any manual coding. Usually, those page builders are WYSIWYG editors ("What you see is what you get"), allowing anyone without zero programming or design skills to create a website or app. This type of tool works great for simple websites and small projects. Take a look at the Webflow Page Builder System for example.
A page builder typically comes with the following features:
WYSIWYG editing tools
Drag & drop elements to add content & design
Basic SEO features
Minimal hosting capabilities
However, the exact features heavily depend on the tool you want to use.
When and when not to use page builders
Page builders are great in a few scenarios.
If you are a sole person without any coding or design skills and nobody can help you build your website.
If you need a simple website, and you don't care too much about loading times, design consistency, or adding more complex features in the future.
However, there are also several situations where page builders are at a disadvantage.
If you are a team of people working together on a website, app, or another digital channel.
If you have lots of digital assets and content to organize and orchestrate.
If you care about great user experience and have a direct business or revenue stream coming through your site.
Where a CMS excels over a page builder
Page builders may work well in certain instances, but for most marketing teams a CMS provides a much more comprehensive option without the drawbacks of a page builder. Here’s where a CMS excels:
It handles content management
With a CMS, users can store, create, manage and edit content as they see fit. They can then deliver that content to a website, mobile device, or any other device where content needs to be viewed. Content approvals can happen faster, and with the right type of headless CMS, marketers won't need developer assistance to make simple changes.
Page builders usually don't have content management capabilities by default. This makes content orchestration inefficient, especially for larger organizations.
You can reuse content elements
Nestable content blocks simplify content management for complex layouts as you can create teasers or grids that can be reused elsewhere. On the other hand, with a page builder, you will always end up creating page per page. Sure, you can (hopefully) reuse standard elements, and some page builders give you easy copy & paste features, but it's not great for scaling fast.
It uses a design system
When creating digital experiences - from websites to apps to smart interfaces, you should consider creating a design system. Why? Because it gives you and your team a design structure, patterns, and elements to make sure your design is consistent. This is still doable with a Page Builder, but it's definitely much harder.
It’s easy to access code
A CMS makes it easy to access the underlying code of your website so you can make additional edits easily or understand why something is wrong. Usually, page builders don't give you access to the code of your built website or app.
Consequently, if you do get access and export possibilities, the code that it generates may be quite messy or complex. Usually, this isn't a big thought at the beginning, especially for us non-developers. But if you wonder why your page loads that slow or why something is broken on Mozilla Firefox Version XY, you'd wish to have more control over your page.
What makes Storyblok shine as a Headless CMS?
Unlike page builders, which can only be used successfully in a few scenarios, a headless CMS like Storyblok comes with more functionality that enables both marketers and developers to get more out of the digital experience. Some of these features include: Web content management, customizability, and omnichannel capabilities.
Web content management
A headless CMS has all of the content management capabilities of a traditional CMS. However, since the frontend delivery layer is decoupled from the backend layer, a headless CMS makes it easier for both marketers and the developers that work with them to maintain their existing workflows.
Storyblok offers additional features such as a user-friendly content-authoring interface, content scheduling capabilities, the ability to internationalize content and define your own localization strategy as well as single sign-on (SSO) and activity logs that allow you to manage your team and content workflows. You can preview content and stage it before it goes live, create blocks that allow you to reuse content, and also preview that content with a Visual Editor.
Headless CMSs rely on an API-first approach to deliver content and connect additional services. APIs connect the backend layer to various frontend delivery devices. This gives a headless CMS added flexibility since the content doesn't need to be limited to a simple website. Developers can edit the code directly and customize the frontend delivery layer to suit different devices.
These APIs enable Storyblok to provide the extensibility to integrate with apps and plugins in our app store as well as any other custom apps or tools you desire.
By connecting to multiple devices, a headless CMS like Storyblok can provide omnichannel marketing. Instead of just a corporate website or mobile device, brands can interact with customers across every digital touchpoint and maintain a 360-degree view of them throughout the customer journey. This then enables them to serve personalized and relevant content at each interaction.
|Page Design||WYSIWYG editing tools, Drag & drop elements to add content & design, Page templates||WYSIWYG editing tools Drag & drop elements to add content & design, grid layout, reusable & customizable components|
|Content Management||Basic content capabilities to publish single-page blogs||User-friendly content authoring, content scheduling, internationalization for websites, blogs and other customer touchpoints|
|SEO||Basic SEO for title tags, meta descriptions, URLs for simple websites||Advanced SEO capabilities. All basic features as well as SEO for SPAs, alt text for images, image optimization for faster loading times|
|Omnichannel Capabilities||N/A||Connect to multiple channels using APIs|
|Extensibility||N/A||Multiple apps, plugins and extensions available|
Get more power with Storyblok's visual editor
Using a headless CMS might not seem like the right fit for everyone. However, we believe that even if you're accustomed to using page builders you can reap the benefits of a headless CMS like Storyblok. Here are a few reasons why:
Control over the content: You have more control over the content you and your team are creating because you work with a methodology that reuses the components you have designed.
Quickly scale: It's easy to scale your applications because you have reusable components in place.
Align with all team members: It's easy to align with designers and frontend teams because they already know about design systems, and they will better understand how you are structuring your space.
Single source of truth: You will generate a common language and a single source of truth using the same methodology between teams, thus creating a design system.
Improve reusability: As you are using reusable components, you will improve reusability. It will be easy to update your application or change the look and feel, and you will have fewer components to fight with.
Component approach: You have the freedom to define the components and data model you need for your site. It also means that through an API these components can then be pushed to the front end of your website.
Real-time editing: You can create a shareable URL for your content and preview content on different devices to see what everything looks like before publishing. With the Storyblok bridge, the frontend and visual editor combine, enabling you to respond to events and trigger responses to change, publish or unpublish content as necessary.
Storyblok: A marketer-friendly headless CMS
Choosing a headless CMS over a page builder might not seem like a straightforward decision for marketers at first. However, with a headless CMS like Storyblok, marketers won't be left stranded waiting on assistance from their IT or development teams.
Storyblok offers a user-friendly interface that includes a powerful visual editor that allows marketers to create content once and publish it to many devices, increasing their brand visibility and gaining a faster time to market. In the meantime, make sure to check out more of our visual editor in action by watching this video, as well as more features Storyblok has to offer.