CMS Debt Series: The High Cost of Choosing the Wrong CMS

Welcome to Contentstack’s three-part series on CMS debt, where we'll unpack the different ways that choosing—and continuing to use—the wrong CMS can have costly and detrimental consequences for businesses.

In this first installment, we’re going to explore the upfront and incidental costs associated with choosing the wrong CMS only to have to re-platform later as well as five steps to avoid that mistake in the first place.

The High Cost of Replacing Your CMS


The cost of choosing—and eventually having to replace—the wrong business technology is high.

When it comes to a content management system (CMS), the expense is even higher as digital transformation makes omnichannel, personalized content practically a requirement for growth.

Here are both the upfront as well as the incidental costs you can expect to experience if you find yourself needing to replace a CMS that never fit neither your current nor your changing business needs.

(And if you’re looking for a little hope, keep reading to learn how to avoid getting yourself into this costly situation in the first place.)

Irrevocably Damaging Your SEO Ranking

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an organic and often affordable way for brands to engage consumers who are looking for information related to their products or services.

And it all revolves around content.

With a CMS that isn’t well equipped to create or optimize content, it’ll be hard to establish strong SEO in the first place. However, changing established URLs, removing meta tags, and deleting and rearranging content when it comes time to switch your CMS can kill your SEO traffic and overall ranking.

Plus, the longer your content lives on both the new and old platforms, the more likely you are to get dinged by search engines for “duplicate content.”

If a critical element of your marketing program is search engine optimization, you could be in for a shocking blow to your SEO ranking when you move to a new platform.

Losing Valuable Content During Migration

As the center of the omnichannel experience, content is vital for most marketing programs. That’s why it’s no wonder that so many marketing teams—and businesses as a whole—put off adopting the best technology in fear of losing any of that content during migration.

Content loss is a valid concern, especially for brands with tons of content and those who choose to migrate their content manually. Unfortunately, giving in to this fear by putting off migration costs companies when it comes to their competitive edge.


Stunted Growth Due to Unplanned, Exorbitant Downtime

Most companies underestimate the cost of switching to a new CMS. There are dozens of factors to consider upfront and hundreds of incidental decisions to make on the fly along the way. These factors add up to cause unplanned downtime in many cases.

When even white-glove migration projects can take as long as three weeks to complete, it’s scary to think about how much extra downtime is practically inevitable.

For media, ecommerce, and other enterprise businesses where content is their largest asset on which they’ve spent millions to develop; any unplanned downtime can have a significant negative impact on ROI, omnichannel traffic, sales, and overall revenue.

Wasted Money on Salary Dollars and Actual Costs

Almost no CMS re-platforming project works out the way you thought it would—especially without some manual input on behalf of your awesome team.

No matter how well you think your data is organized now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to integrate flawlessly into a new system. A white-glove migration service starts around $4,500—and that’s before the manual adjustments that will very likely need to be made throughout the project.

Depending on the size of the project and how delicately you need or want to treat your content, spending on employee salaries and the actual costs associated with re-platforming can add up.

5 Steps to Stay out of Technical Debt by Selecting the Right CMS

As we’ve established, most of the expense of switching CMSes comes from choosing a system that can’t scale with you in the first place and the cost of correcting that decision.

Here’s how to stay out of technical debt—which is the cost of additional work generated from choosing a quick solution instead of taking the time to choose the better but longer approach—by selecting the right CMS from the start.

1. Develop User Scenarios

Yes, features are important. We’ll get to those next. However, even more important is fully understanding what key users need from your CMS.

Developing user scenarios to determine what users need is immensely helpful.

A user scenario is a short, plain-language story that describes a specific user group’s interaction with the technology to achieve a business objective. Creating these stories is an effective way to uncover feature requirements in context.

An effective user scenario should:

  • Be written from the perspective of specific users
  • Address a critical yet common task
  • Reference the content that needs managing
  • Not being specific about the technology itself

Primarily focus on capturing the different ways that “power users” in marketing, sales, and IT will use the CMS.


2. Create a Features Matrix

A “features matrix” is typically a spreadsheet that compares different enterprise software solutions using a list of required features.

The features are typically listed down the first, left-most column while the technologies being compared stretch across the top. From there, you score each solution on how well it delivers on your required features.

To get you started, here are some features you may want to include in your CMS features matrix:

  • Separation of content and presentation
  • Flexible content types and modular blocks
  • Intuitive UI/UX
  • Digital asset management
  • Technology and customer support
  • Versioning and rollback capabilities
  • Omnichannel authoring and approval
  • Integration with your key technologies
  • Enterprise-ready tooling, security, performance, etc.
  • Choice of languages, frameworks, and IDE


3. Seek Out Lightweight, Future-Proof Architecture

If you want a CMS that can scale as your business grows and changes, it’s crucial that you choose one with a flexible, headless architecture that’s made up of microservices that are brought together via API as needed to support specific actions.

A CMS with traditional, monolithic architecture isn’t built to integrate with modern optimization tools, nor is it capable of distributing content to various channels. Adding bandaids to accomplish these actions creates a slow-moving system that’s hard to maintain and even harder to fix when it inevitably crumbles under its own weight.


4. Get to Know the Provider, Not Just the Platform

A CMS is just a technology platform, and various platforms can achieve similar results. It’s the ideals and support behind a platform that makes it unique and determines whether it’s a good fit for your specific business needs.

Look for a provider that prioritizes both customer service and growth. This means they are more likely to act on individual feedback, and you’ll get the features and improvements you need.

If you already know you want a white-glove, enterprise-ready CMS implementation, be sure to seek out businesses that promise that in plain writing.

And, don’t make any assumptions on a CMS provider’s development chops or their grasp of modern marketing needs—you want to be sure the system upon which you’re building your entire content program is “by developers, for developers” while still being user-friendly for business users.

Aside from checking out a CMS company’s social media and website, how does one go about getting familiar and making sure they align with their culture and employees? Reach out to set up a trial.

5. And Above All—Take It for a Test Drive

Trialing or “test driving” a CMS platform may very well help you make an informed and correct decision instead of regretfully falling for dishonest sales tactics.

If a provider can’t promise you a test drive at all, you can immediately cut them from your shortlist. Chances are they’re hiding something that you don’t want to risk finding out once the success of your business is dependent upon them.

For those platforms that welcome you to trial their product, rely on your user scenarios and features matrix and take your time to make sure it’s going to meets all your needs now and in the future.


Switch Your CMS Without Fear Today

If you’re struggling with or scared of stunted growth, missed opportunities, wasted salary dollars, and other expenses that come with switching your CMS—you don’t have to be.

As a headless CMS with enterprise-ready IT features, user-friendly design, and a friendly support team; Contentstack is uniquely well-positioned to make your transition smooth and your ongoing content program competitive and future-proof.

We invite you to try out our ROI calculator to prove how much you can save annually by switching to Contentstack, contact us to take our technology for a test drive and build your very own proof of concept, or download our free ebook where you can learn everything you need to know about why headless CMS is the future content marketing.

Read More

Our Series A and the Future of Contentstack

Today, Contentstack announced a $31.5M Series A led by Insight Ventures, marking an incredibly significant milestone for the company and our entire team. Two years ago, we recognized a seismic shift in how companies were managing content and digital experiences. To realize the full potential of this for the company and our customers, we made the decision to spin Contentstack out of my prior company,

Seven quarters in, I couldn’t be prouder of the product and the team. I’ve been fortunate to build a leadership team that embodies trust, respect and collaboration unlike any other company or team I’ve experienced. As a result, the #OneTeamOneDream culture permeates throughout the organization. It enables people to challenge themselves in a supportive environment to do the best work of their career, while simultaneously delivering an exceptional experience to our customers. We received the official news of the funding round closing while the 2018 Winner’s Circle team (aka Honeybadgers Club!) was celebrating together in Los Gaviotas, Mexico. It was an incredible moment to be able to share with the team that worked so hard to help us achieve this milestone!


The funding comes during an incredible year for Contentstack, with sales for the first half of 2019 having grown more than 4X compared to the same period in 2018. By addressing growing market demand for modern content infrastructure, Contentstack has quickly slid into the leadership position for Content Experiences and has received the highest Customers’ Choice ratings in the entire content management category, as documented publicly on Gartner’s Peer Insights portal. Unfiltered and direct from customers, this recognition is a powerful testament to Contentstack’s commitment to customer success and continued innovation. There’s also a very detailed full report on how Contentstack is different from the many other CMS platforms out there – again, as judged by customers.

While we were going through the fundraising process, we had incredible support from countless customers willing to speak with investors, partners and press about their positive experience with Contentstack. For every customer who took time out of their busy schedules to support us in this milestone, I send you my deepest appreciation. During this process, one our our most active customers told investors that Contentstack has the ability to dwarf the strategic importance of Slack and JIRA throughout their organization. It is not lost on me that such conviction has to be earned and I know that our entire team will continue to work tirelessly to be deserving of your trust each and every day.

I’m also proud to state that this sizable early stage funding round helps improve, even if slightly, the statistics related to funding companies with women founders. While there is still more work to be done, this is a shout out to our amazing funding partners at Insight for moving the needle. Also, a special thank you to our seed investors Cindy Padnos from Illuminate Ventures and Linnea Roberts from Gingerbread Capital who believed in our vision from day one and are continuing their support by participating in this latest round of funding.

Partnering with Insight was a deliberate move for many reasons. As a Silicon Valley company expanding to new markets, we were especially attracted to their global reach and strength in European markets. Insight’s knowledge across the marketing stack, previous experience in the content management space, and center of excellence model in supporting portfolio companies are all attractive traits. Further, we are looking forward to working closely with Teddie Wardi, who has joined Contentstack’s Board of Managers.

“We believe that Contentstack is poised to revolutionize how companies engage their customers. Organizations can now turn their ideas into content, and content into revenue faster than ever. The seasoned team, the company’s growth trajectory and best-in-class technology is a rare trifecta for a Series A investment. Scores of prestigious global brands are entrusting Contentstack with their digital experiences and we are excited to add further fuel to this rocketship.” - Teddie Wardi, Managing Director @ Insight Partners

With support from Insight, we will deliver the most powerful omnichannel digital experiences to global brands who want to inspire and delight their customers. For integrators and implementers and agencies looking for new revenue opportunities: This is it, this is the big shift in digital content that has been building up for decades. Let’s build the future together. If you are looking for new revenue opportunities, new ideas and real innovation, we look forward to hearing from you. And to our most tuned-in competitors, let the games begin!


Read More

The State of the CMS Industry: 20 Key Content Management Statistics for 2020

Content management is nearly as old as the internet itself. For most of its history, WordPress has dominated the choice of content management systems (CMS)—but is that poised to change in 2020?

Furthermore, how will the rise of technologies like AI, chatbots, and headless CMS impact the industry?

Moreover, will the increase of voice-activated search and smart devices impact the platforms we rely upon to manage content?

Read on to learn more about where the CMS industry is going in 2020 and to discover a few surprising statistics about trends you should watch closely.

The State of the CMS Market in 2020—And Beyond

WordPress may still loom large in the CMS market, but growth and shifts in the industry could leave openings for new, more-tech savvy players.

  • Globally, the CMS market was valued at around $36 billion in 2018 and is expected to generate around $123.5 billion by 2026—which is a very healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 17 percent.
  • 33 percent of that growth is expected to come from North America.

It is also essential to consider the global web content management (WCM) market, which includes related tools such as content analytics, digital asset management, and editing tools.

  • In 2017, the WCM industry was valued at around $4.8 billion and is expected to reach over $11 billion by 2023, amounting to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent.
  • While CMS remains the most significant portion of the industry, web experience management solutions make up a growing portion of the market.

Key factors that impact the industry's growth include an increase in demand for digital marketing solutions, a growing digital retail sector, and consumer demand for omnichannel experiences.


  • As of 2018, WordPress powers 34 percent of all the websites on the internet.
  • Joomla powers 2.8 percent of all websites while Drupal powers just under 2 percent of all sites. Squarespace, often touted as a top competitor to WordPress, is used by just 1.6 percent of all websites.

It is worth noting that the vast majority of the market is made up of content management systems that capture less than 1 percent of the total market—which means that there is plenty of room for growth of alternative solutions.

Content Management Fact Sheet: The Importance of CMS

At their core, a CMS is designed to allow multiple users to manage content and make it easier to display that digital content. As technology changes, CMS and related systems like digital asset managers (DAM) can improve security, make sites more user-friendly, and even save money.

  • 33 percent of marketing budgets go towards technology, with 28 percent of that total budget going to infrastructures such as CMS and web content management systems.
  • 92 percent of companies face challenges in translating content into different languages. Only 29 percent of companies integrate their CMS with a translation management system or language service provider
  • 91 percent of customers want to pick up where they left off when they contact a customer service rep, no matter what channel they use.

As technology advances, digital publishers are looking to cut costs, and DAM systems could be the answer.

Security issues remain a struggle for content management systems, with WordPress getting the most flack. This is not to say other content management systems don't face security issues, but as the most popular CMS, WordPress does have the most concerning numbers.

Key Trends You Need To Know About CMS

Looking ahead, what changes can you expect in the CMS industry? Headless CMS and AI are a few of the top trends to keep an eye on. Here is what you need to know about these and other trends.


Use of AI in CMS is Rising

Drag and drop and WYSIWYG editors may be falling out of favor as AI takes over. Several content management systems, such as WIX, are already using AI to make it easier than ever for users to build, create animations, and even create copy for their websites.

According to CMSWire, AI could help CMS generate content, design sites, speed up testing, and even give feedback on content.

Increased Demand for Headless CMS

The core goal of a CMS has always been to make it easier to manage content without digging into coding. However, as we look to 2020, content-driven services and websites are consistently moving to headless CMS solutions to adjust to the rapidly diversifying content consumption landscape.

  • Headless CMS adoption rates are expected to double in the next year.
  • 86 percent of people feel positive about headless CMS.
  • 63 percent of people who use a headless CSM love it.


Better Assistance for Voice-Based Search Optimization

Voice search made its debut in 2007, but most content management systems have largely overlooked it.

Most systems offer SEO features for traditional (read: typed) searches. However, the voice search industry is fast growing and worth paying attention to.

Increased Need to Manage Chatbot Content

The rise of chatbots is another trend those paying attention to the CMS market should keep an eye on. The way a CMS manages content needs to adjust to serve the demands of automated chatbots better, as Gartner predicts:

Ready to Learn More About the Future of Content Management?

These are just a few of the CMS trends that are influencing the way brands and publishers use content management in the coming years.

As more internet users become publishers, many content management systems are changing to become more user-friendly and less code reliant. However, a CMS must also be able to adapt to new content types and technologies. The systems that do this well, such as headless CMS, may be poised to take over market share from WordPress.

Learn more about how headless CMS is changing the face of internet publishing in The Ultimate Guide to CMS, volume 1.

Read More

Asset Folder-Level Permissions and Improved Error Messages

We are excited to introduce our latest feature enhancements, as they are two of the most popular requests by our customers: Asset folder-level permissions and improved error messages on the content type builder page.

Control Access to Asset Folders

Contentstack offers developers the ability to control users’ access to data through custom roles. In our latest release, we have added more flexibility and granularity to the permissions that developers can assign to roles. In addition to being able to assign permissions to an individual asset, developers can now assign permissions to asset folders for specific roles.

Understanding Asset Folder-Level Permissions

By default, all users have full access to all the data created within a stack. As a stack owner or developer, you can define different roles with varying permissions and restrict certain users from accessing or writing data within a specific asset folder.

For example, the “Marketing” role can be assigned full access to the “Marketing Images” asset folder and read-only access to the “Sales Presentations” asset folder. This is an efficient way to ensure all users with the “Marketing” role can create and update marketing images and can view, but not edit, sales presentation assets.

Subfolders Inherit Permissions of the Parent Folder

If you assign permissions to a folder, the same permissions are applied to all subfolders and assets within that folder.

For example, let’s say that the “Marketing Images” folder contains a “Logos” folder, which contains the subfolders “Old Logos” and “New Logos.” If you assign read-only access to a role for the “Marketing Images” folder, this role will be able to read all assets of the “Marketing Images” folder, including of the subfolders “Logos,” “Old Logos,” and “New Logos.”

If you give the same role full access to “Logos”, the role will have full access to “Logos”, “Old Logos”, and “New Logos”, while still having read-only access to all other assets in the “Marketing Images” folder.

How to Set Permissions on Asset Folders

To set permissions on asset folders, follow these steps:

  1. After logging in to your account, hover over the settings gear icon and click Roles.
  2. Click + New Role and add a Name and Description.
  3. Under Assets in the Permissions section, click + Add rule.
  4. Select the required permissions (e.g., Read) in the Select Permissions field.
  5. In the next field, select Specific Folders. Click the Select Folders button that appears. You can then choose the folder to which you want to assign the selected permissions.
  6. Save the role.

Note: The permissions assigned to the parent folder apply to all the assets and subfolders within the selected folder.

Read more about asset folder-level permissions.

New and Improved Error Messages on the Content-Type Builder Page

The next release we would like to introduce has been designed based on customer feedback regarding the validation error messages on the content-type builder page. The feedback we received was that, while these messages were helpful, they were not very user-friendly, especially when dealing with errors within nested fields.

In an effort to enhance the experience for our users, we have cleaned and clarified the messages to make it easier for users to quickly identify and fix the errors instead of spending time trying to diagnose them.

What Has Been Improved:

  • The validation error messages are now crisper and more user-friendly.
  • Errors within nested fields are now more easily recognizable.
  • Field properties with errors are now clearly listed.
  • With better spacing and alignment, the validation error messages are now easier to read.

Here’s the Difference:


Read More

Examining the DNA of a Future-Proof Enterprise CMS

In the 1920s, radio technology enabled businesses to mass market their products and services to a broader audience than ever before.

Now, almost a century later, an even more significant marketing shift requires brands to either pivot or die.

The future of enterprise content marketing lies in personalization, omnichannel delivery, and the technology that can make those things happen effectively and efficiently.

The Future of Enterprise Content is Omnichannel

Internet users have an average of five profiles across various social media channels—and 90 percent of them expect consistent interactions across these and every other channel on which they interact with businesses.

When it comes time to make a purchase, 86 percent of these digital consumers switch between at least two different channels. Moreover, 65 percent of B2B technology buyers in particular report consuming up to five pieces of enterprise content across channels before completing a purchase.

Household smart devices, countless mobile apps, wearables, social media platforms that become the hot new thing overnight—the number and types of channels on which people are consuming brand content feels endless.

Thanks to technological advancements, they very well may never stop multiplying and evolving. The enterprise content landscape continues to fluctuate rapidly as virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence get smarter and smarter.

To stay competitive, businesses need to be present on established, new, and emerging technologies and platforms, and it doesn’t stop there.


… And Personalized

In addition to being practically omnipresent, the enterprise content that succeeds in the future will also be personalized.

Consumers receiving personalized content marketing are more likely to convert into customers, often spend more than initially intended, and are 44 percent more probable to come back for repeat purchases.

Serving relevant content, at the right time, and on the right channels is the single most effective way to differentiate yourself from your competition, engage your ideal audience, and convert customers.

So what can brands do to provide content that speaks to every consumer’s challenges and offers valuable solutions?

To put it bluntly, they really can’t do much without the help of modern personalization optimization tools that help automate the process. So they’ll be able to do even less if they can’t plug that kind of technology into their content repository.

With a traditional content management system (CMS), the work required to personalize and distribute high-value content across the appropriate channels would be outrageous—possibly even impossible.

It’s time to embrace a modern content management system that’s ready for the future of enterprise content.


Here’s How to Go Headless to Future-Proof Your Content

Whether you’re thinking about the future of your enterprise content as a whole or just gauging which CMS solution is best for your next big marketing push, you need to consider the headless option.

Why? Because headless CMS makes content future-proof.

Headless CMS integrates content management tools via Application Programming Interface (API)—so content always exists separately from how it is displayed to consumers.

Because headless content is modular and decoupled from functionality and design, any piece of content can be personalized and optimized for distribution across various channels at any time—without breaking or changing other content modules around it.

Not only does this mean IT and marketing teams can both work on the same content delivery project at the same time, but it also future-proofs content and empowers it to scale infinitely.

Instead of a monolithic, traditional CMS that tethers content to functionality and forces businesses to build a “Frankenstein” system with precarious workarounds, a headless CMS is flexible—so it can be integrated with and built on top of nearly any stack for use with any device, channel, or technology.


Behind the Curtain: What Future-Proof Enterprise Content Looks Like

Here’s what the future may hold for your enterprise content and CMS if you choose to invest in API-first, headless CMS.

Autonomy for Content Producers

That modular, decoupled content we talked about earlier empowers marketing teams to act autonomously by untangling content management from technology and design.

This is a major improvement over outdated, traditional content management systems where technology and content are so tightly intertwined that content producers have to submit a ticket to their engineering team to change so much as a typo on a landing page.

The separation that headless allows enables content producers to create, edit, optimize, and share content across various channels and devices—independently and efficiently.

Freedom for Developers

The benefits of headless enterprise content management continue when it comes to the development team.

By delivering content via API, front-end developers are free to create the absolute best visual interface, using the best-fit programming language, for various delivery channels without having to worry about breaking or disrupting any content marketing campaigns.

Cutting-Edge Design

Similar to front-end development, the decoupled nature of headless CMS means that websites, apps, and other experiences can still receive modern, customized design treatment without concern over how to integrate and update content down the road.

Truly Personalized, Omnichannel Content Marketing

As a single “source of truth,” a headless CMS with a user-friendly front end enables marketing teams——be they efficient two-person units or larger and a bit more siloed—to achieve true omnichannel content creation, optimization, and distribution from one reliable platform.

The Contentstack headless CMS was built “by developers for developers,” and it’s no slouch when it comes to enabling omnichannel enterprise content marketing.

Aside from industry-leading collaboration and editing tools, Contentstack has a unique interface built for integrating best-in-class personalization tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, translation services, AI tools, A/B testing applications, analytics parsing, and almost anything else that the future of enterprise content requires.

Additionally, the API-first architecture closes the loop on omnichannel distribution by enabling content creators to “create once and distribute anywhere”—whether that’s to a website, mobile device, software platform, automobile, VR headset, a voice-activated device, Jumbotron, or wherever else tomorrow’s technology dictates!


Future-Proof Your Content and Your Enterprise with Contentstack

If you can future-proof your content marketing program, you can future-proof your enterprise.

Thankfully, with Contentstack, it doesn’t have to cost you your sanity or all your profit. Use our ROI calculator to see how many thousands of dollars you can save with Contentstack or contact us to set up a free test drive and build out your proof of concept today!

Read More