Starter Kits for Headless CMS Builders

Building a headless CMS-based website is not easy - especially for a junior developer new to Jamstack websites. Recognising some of the challenges from builds we’ve undertaken ourselves has resulted in us building starter kits to reduce the friction when getting started.

Alan Gleeson - CMO Contento

Alan Gleeson

Co-Founder / CEO

April 2, 2024

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5 mins read

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Building Headless CMS Websites

Websites are risky for freelancers or agencies to build. Project margins are slim, and an unhappy client may require additional time for fixes, which cuts into profits. 

Because most agency clients are not CMS experts — they’re running their own businesses — their expectations for the website may not always be clearly articulated or feasible. Agencies need to define projects carefully and limit the potential for scope creep.

Headless CMS implementations are particularly risky for agencies. Traditional monolithic systems like WordPress, Squarespace, and Webflow smooth out many of the CMS admin challenges. With headless, common patterns of content architecture and site organization need to be rebuilt, which increases the risk that the client will be unhappy with the admin. 

  • Table stakes features” that the client expects may not be possible in the system, and/or require DIY approaches that are difficult for the agency's team to accurately scope.

  • Complex content modeling problems that established CMSs have hidden from implementers need to be developed from scratch for the headless data/content model. (Examples include SEO, translations, and structuring site navigation and hierarchy.) 

  • The client may dislike the experience of using the headless CMS admin, with limited paths to customizing it.

For agencies, every one of those things is a potential spike in scope/cost, and a potential hit to client satisfaction. 

This is where Contento comes in.

Contento is a headless CMS designed specifically for websites - this assumption means that we can bake in core features like SEO, that other headless CMS solutions simply won’t consider. They won’t because they tend to promote that they are “head agnostic” and are designed to support omnichannel delivery.

However, there is an area where Contento is different.

We’ve identified a pain point in JAMstack that no one seems to have really solved, the huge void that exists in developer tooling for building out the foundations of bespoke sites. As a developer, once you’ve fetched the raw content from a headless CMS, you’re on your own. It was clear to us on our own website build, that it’s simply slower to reinvent the wheel every time you build a site. Not having reusable component foundations makes working with a headless CMS or JAMstack build time consuming, and drives the cost of a project up.

— Source: Rory Pickering, Product Design Lead at Contento

We’ve worked hard at trying to reduce the friction of Headless adoption by making headless CMS sites easier to build. Recognising the fact that many agencies lacked the “rinse and repeat” toolkits common in traditional builds like a WordPress build, we’ve designed some core offerings that will deliver more profitable Headless CMS projects for agencies.

Lowering the barrier means more junior devs can get involved in a project at the start, there is less “setting everything up” to be done. This increases the number of devs in the ecosystem, but also makes it cheaper to get projects over the line.

— Source: Josh Angell, CTO and Co-Founder of Contento

Starter Kits

Our starter kits are complete sites and include both the content model in the CMS, as well as the front-end code that consumes this data and renders it. 

We also include placeholder content (text, or image assets) where appropriate, to fill out the template and provide a helpful example to populate a site or component. At the point of adding a starter kit, the CMS pre-populates this content at the same time.

You can choose to set up the starter kit with one click from within the Contento admin panel, with an optional secondary step, where you can clone a git repo with example front-end code. 

Deploying the front end is still a manual process at this time, but it can be done very quickly using Vercel or Netlify.

Some of our kits have little or no design and serve as generic starting points, similar to a wireframing kit. Others are designed in full to give you more of an idea of what a finished site might look like. The main benefit is that it gives you a fully working site to tweak and play around with. This might serve as a starting point for an actual project, or you can discard it and start from scratch afterwards.

So what do the starter kits include?:

✅ Working git repos, paired with a deployable site in Contento.

✅  “Bring your own” design or select one from our gallery of hand-built templates.

✅  Stop reinventing the wheel with our ready-to-go content types.

✅  Vanilla components with minimal styling allowing you to speed up the build process but leave the design to a specialist.

✅  Quick-start guide that takes you through each step from getting started to having a site running on Vercel or Netlify.

Contento sit starter kits panel


Building a site in the JAMstack CMS ecosystem is hard, especially for junior devs, or those not familiar with composable methodologies.

Here at Contento, we are focused on making it quicker, easier and a lot more obvious how to join together all the moving parts, so you don’t have to figure out the harder task of choosing disconnected tools and making them all fit together.

Alan Gleeson - CMO Contento
Alan Gleeson

Co-Founder / CEO

Alan Gleeson has 15+ years extensive B2B SaaS experience working with several VC backed Startups & Scaleups in the UK, US & Ireland.

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