Blog / Craft

What is a Git-based CMS?

So your SaaS has a great static-created marketing site. And now you’re looking for a CMS to make creating, editing, publishing and scheduling content a tad bit easier. A git-based CMS looks like it ticks all the boxes, but what actually is a git-based CMS?

Before going any further, let’s get all the basics in place first.

What types of CMS’ are there? #

If you’re a founder or marketer at a SaaS company, chances are you know what a CMS, or content management system, is. But there are quite a few different types of CMS’.

A CMS is essentially software (usually web-based) that allows you to manage and publish your website’s content. It can be as simple as a basic text editor for writing blog posts, or as complex as a full-featured system for managing e-commerce websites, forums, and more.

There are a few different types of CMS’ to consider:

Traditional CMS: These are the most common type of CMS, and they often require a server to host your website’s content. They can be self-hosted (which means you need to set up and maintain the server yourself) or hosted by a third party (such as WordPress). I also like to include webbuilders, like Webflow into this category.

Headless CMS: A headless CMS is a backend-only CMS, meaning it doesn’t have a frontend interface for users to interact with. Instead, it provides an API for developers to use when building a website or application. This allows for pretty great flexibility on how content is displayed and used.

Git-based CMS: This is the focus in this article, and I’ll dive into more detail about what it is and how it works later on.

If we plot these against an easy-to-set-up versus power, we’ll get the following graph:

Showing types of CMS' againts a x/y axis

What is a Git-based CMS? #

So, what is a Git-based CMS? Let’s get there by answering: what’s Git? Git is a version control system that helps developers track changes to their codebase. It allows them to work collaboratively on projects, revert back to previous versions of the code if necessary, and more.

A Git-based CMS is a CMS that uses Git as its underlying version control system. This means that all of the content for the website is stored in a Git repository, and changes to the content are tracked and recorded using Git.

Essential keywords to follow along with this article are: commits and pushing commits.

Commiting a change #

This is like packaging up a set of changes in or many files. These changes could be on many different lines or just adding a period at the end of a sentence.

Pushing a commit #

When you push a commit (or multiple), you make it available to all others who have access to the repository.

There are a few key benefits to Git:

  • Collaboration: Git allows multiple users to work on the same repository at the same time, making it easy for teams to collaborate on content.

  • Version control: Git’s version control capabilities make it easy to track changes to your content and revert back to previous versions if necessary.

Pros of a Git-based CMS #

Now that we’ve covered what a Git-based CMS is and how it works, let’s talk about some of the benefits it offers:

Easy to get started #

Getting started with a Git-based CMS is as simple as connecting your GitHub repo. Select the content types you want to create or edit and you’re off to the races.

Publishing content is easy #

Publishing content is as simple as pushing new content to the repository. From there the build tool will pick it up to deploy it to your platform of choice.

No maintenance #

Git is a really solid piece of software. So even a few years from now it will be working just fine. No developer time needed to change API endpoints, switch to another attribute or change its typecast.

Easy to switch #

As changes to your content are stored in Git. You are not reliant on the CMS you use. If needed, switching is just as simple as getting started with another Git-based CMS.

Cons of a Git-based CMS #

While there are many benefits to using a Git-based CMS, there are also a few potential drawbacks to consider:

It needs a (static) site builder #

If you are not using a “traditional CMS”, like WordPress of Webflow, getting started with a Git-based might be a barrier. Of course if you have to choose between a headless CMS and a Git-based CMS, this point does not hold up.

Limited in what you can edit #

Git-based CMS’ may not offer as many features as traditional CMS’ or headless CMS’, depending on the specific platform you choose. This can be a drawback for companies that need more advanced features. Most only focus on, so-called, marketing content of your site. Which, in my humble opinion, is enough for small SaaS companies.

Who gets the most value out of a Git-based CMS? #

Git-based CMS’ is a great fit for small SaaS companies that built their site with a static site generator.

Git-based CMS’ provide the most value if you need to quickly create, iterate and schedule content for your SaaS’ static site. Also if you want to take advantage of Git’s version control capabilities to track and manage changes to their content over time, you will find Git-based CMS’ amazing.

Is a Git-based CMS a good fit for you? #

Ultimately, whether or not a Git-based CMS is a good fit for your SaaS company will depend on your specific needs and resources.

If you have already a marketing site, built with a static site generator and need an easy way to create, edit and publish new, and existing, content, a Git-based CMS is your best bet.

However, if you need to tweak more parts of your site, a traditional CMS, webbuilder, or headless CMS might be a better fit. Although if you are a small SaaS, I’d reconsider using a webbuilder.

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