Overall Satisfaction with Contentful
We're currently using Contentful to help manage our documentation, marketing, and some internal data management. It's used by the product, marketing, and customer success teams. Contentful helps different departments coordinate when it comes to external messaging. This is particularly important when we need to provide a means for non-technical teams to update content without needing to rely on the developers to deploy it.
- Contentful provides organized, flexible data models with support for a variety of data types and content editors (e.g. WYSIWYGs, form fields, raw text areas).
- Contentful has great built-in versioning features with history and draft states so it's easy to make updates and revert when needed.
- Contentful has an intuitive user interface and good support for multiple spaces (which can be helpful for companies that need separate projects for dev/staging/production).
- The new Contentful "branches" feature looked promising (it appears to mirror a git-like repository) but it requires the CLI, which isn't necessarily practical for teams that aren't current CLI users. It would be nice if the management of this feature were available via the UI (without that it causes more confusion than anything).
- The Contentful data modeling method makes for a bit of an awkward SDK developer experience in some strongly typed languages like Java. Most things that you might need can be accomplished, but it feels like the experience could be smoother.
- It would be nice if there were a way to migrate data between spaces (e.g. from your staging space to production).
- Contentful has saved us valuable development time that was previously spent doing deploys for minor content updates.
- Contentful has helped us maintain consistent documentation, reducing time needed to review for consistency.
- Can't say we've really experienced any negative ROI impacts from using Contentful, but we've run into some limitations in adding too many content models and the next pricing tier is substantially more expensive.
In the past we've used WordPress to manage documentation content. WordPress was more flexible than Contentful but also prone to inconsistencies and we ended having a lot of hacks to accomplish various WordPress tricks. With Contentful there's less ambiguity so content producers are less likely to go astray. We also have our own in-house programmatic template solution for managing content, but this was a previous pain point when we needed to get the dev team to do a deploy for every content change.
Contentful is good to use in teams with varying levels of technical proficiency that will need to allow non-technical members easy access to update content and have the time/ability to integrate Contentful into their product. Contentful can be a bit of work to implement initially but it will save time in the long run as marketers/etc. are able to push updates without needing to do backend deployments. Don't use Contentful as a substitute database, it's not built for such cases (e.g. requests for content can be slow - in fact, you may need caching to help with that). Also, if you require a large number of models you'll hit limits and could quickly face higher prices.