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What We Really Want Out of a CMS

Posted by Jonathan Ames on September 6, 2023

As I tell my story, I think many of you will find that it is also your story. We all want to create results in our positions. That’s our objective. A marketer may want to generate results around organic traffic and conversions, a developer may want to generate results around projects completed within a budgeted time, and a SaaS founder may want results around MRR or Sales.

All three of these roles may consider a CMS as a valuable tool to assist them in achieving these results. As a marketing director, I’ve used many different CMSs, and honestly, I’ve often looked at my CMS as more of a blocker than an enabler of results. Our founder, Jake Lumetta, is a developer, and when he was tasked with building a website using a CMS that required his team to use an unfamiliar framework eight years ago, he too looked at the CMS as a blocker.

CMS as a blocker: A marketer’s story

Why did I feel that my previous CMS was a blocker? Goodness, let me list all the ways! First, it was very difficult for my content creators, all junior marketers, to use the interface. It was complex and outdated. You know, the kids today want a smooth UI. 

Next, the CMS had been set up by various developers who had come and gone, and no one completely understood all the plugins and modifications that had been made. So the website was brittle, and whenever we made a change to the site, there was a collective holding of breath to see if we’d accidentally broken something.

Third, what we could do was severely limited by the template we had in place. This limited our ability to be creative and test new ways of doing things that might be better.

Finally, the whole process of building something out, and getting it edited, approved, and published was painfully slow. So when our executives asked for results, we felt slowed down, even blocked in getting those results.

CMS as a blocker: A developer’s story

Now, back to the story of our founder. Prior to founding ButteCMS, he led a team of developers. When his team was tasked with building a blog, they were also saddled with a CMS that required them to build the frontend in a framework no one on the team knew. This meant they would have to spend time getting up to speed on the new framework, and like most development teams, they were busy, and this would slow down all their other projects. Besides, a blog is a very simple thing. It was frustrating because the CMS only allowed one framework.

Our founder created ButterCMS to solve that problem. Butter has SDKs for 29 different languages and frameworks, and more importantly, it is simple to use for both dev teams and marketers. Because ButterCMS is headless, it allows the dev team to build a set of components for the marketing team to use without needing regular dev help. This frees up a massive amount of time for the dev team.

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CMS as an enabler of results

Now, a CMS doesn’t have to be a blocker or even a source of friction. ButterCMS is built to be extremely easy to implement by a dev team. Documentation is plentiful, support is based in the U.S. and responds on average in under 3 minutes. This means development teams that implement ButterCMS report completing the migration or setup process in ⅓ to ½ the time it takes with other CMSs. Because you can build in the language and framework of your choice, any work a dev team does is done faster and less likely to have bugs. Even if you decide to switch frameworks later on, it’s fast for your team to do so. 

Best of all, a dev team can build out a set of components in ButterCMS that allow the marketing team the flexibility to create and modify most content without needing any further dev time. As a marketing director, this is critical to quickly testing new content to get the results we need to deliver. Speed here is a superpower. The drag-and-drop interface makes it simple for even junior marketers to understand how to build a new page or modify an existing one.

Workflows built within ButterCMS also create streamlined editing and approval processes. The simplicity of the interface and the unlimited number of users make it easy for marketing to extend content creation to freelancers and agencies. We can assign a task to a contractor in ButterCMS, and they can build whatever they need and months later change a page right in the CMS without any security issues because of Butter’s granular permissions.

What we really want out of a CMS is speed

A CMS is a tool that should enable us to speed up our results as marketers, developers, or founders. That is our philosophy at ButterCMS. There are features we intentionally leave out because we believe ease and speed are of the greatest value to our clients. 

Butter is built composable for microservices. That just means that it’s made to work as a component in a larger tech stack that can be extended in features by integrating whichever other software is the best-of-breed at the time. That near-infinite flexibility makes it fast to upgrade by swapping out an integration at any time without needing to change the whole CMS or the frontend of your website. Even scaling to multiple websites, multiple languages, or managing content for apps or 3rd party websites is easy. Butter is built to scale from Startup to Enterprise.

If you agree that speed to results is what your team needs, Butter should be on your shortlist. If you are a developer, get a free trial account of Butter and build a proof of concept in a few minutes. Then, your marketing team can test out the interface in the proof of concept. If you think you might need some enterprise-level features, schedule a demo, and we’ll show you everything!

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Jonathan Ames

Jonathan leads marketing at ButterCMS. He also hosts our podcast "Cutting edge web content development." He loves cooking up videos and events that help show how to get great results with Butter.

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