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Get Off HubSpot Legacy Builder - Man leaping from old computer monitor to a new one

Get Off HubSpot Legacy Builder: It's Time for a Website Upgrade

Erin Wiggers
May 17, 2022

Trying to decide which CMS is right for your website?

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Are you in desperate need of a website upgrade? Learn why you should finally update your website built on the legacy HubSpot COS to the new (and vastly improved) HubSpot CMS themes.

TLDR; Top Takeaways

  • If your website is old, slow, ugly, or impossible to change without a developer: it's time to update.
  • Old code might be slowing your site down and messing with your search engine rankings!
  • HubSpot themes are a notable upgrade from the legacy builder, with features and functionality that put power in the hands of marketers.

Why Your Legacy Site Desperately Needs an Upgrade

If you've built your website more than four years ago, there's a good chance that it's far behind the times in terms of looks and functionality. It probably has outdated code slowing down its site performance or preventing cross-browser compatibility. And perhaps even worse, you probably can't make a significant update to your website without the help of a developer.

"Old school is cool" does not apply to the web. The digital world is constantly changing and evolving. Web standards shift each year, which means that new tools and technologies are required for building a good website. And users' preferences and tastes can shift even faster. What was trendy yesterday may not be next week. So if you want your business to succeed, you need an agile website.

HubSpot CMS could be that agile solution for your business. I recommend learning more about whether or not HubSpot is right for you. HubSpot is known for their inbound marketing methodology, which focuses on attracting customers by creating valuable content that draws them to your company.

Or maybe you're already on HubSpot but still using the legacy page builder? If so, allow me to say as a developer: please stop.

In 2020, HubSpot rolled out themes which was a massive upgrade from the legacy builder. It was a monumental shift in the way the HubSpot CMS functioned and how things like landing pages, thank you pages, and blogs were built and managed. Here's what we learned building our first HubSpot theme when they first launched.

How to Know if You Need a New Website

Your website is old.

To stay competitive and relevant, you should update your website or fully redesign your website every two to five years on average. Of course, if you're running Growth Driven Design with continuous improvement, that may not be necessary. Technology changes rapidly online, and if your website is more than five years old, you are most likely missing out on providing the most user-friendly experience to your potential clients and customers.

Your website is slow.

According to Google's Maile Ohye, 2 seconds is the threshold for eCommerce website acceptability. If you're unsure how quickly your site loads, use tools like Pingdom or GTmetrix to check how long it takes for your site to load and which files are the troublemakers. Poor results could mean you have some work to do. Slow loading speed could be caused by a number of reasons including heavy, unoptimized images, underpowered hosting, and even an old, poorly performing theme.

Your bounce rate is high.

This is extremely important. If you've been pouring your heart and time into blogging, SEO, and marketing, bringing a lot of traffic to your website – yet the second they access your homepage (or any other page), they bounce right off of it – you have a problem. You're losing leads and potential clients. On average, a bounce rate between 40-60% is considered OK (this varies depending on your industry). Anything higher than that, and you should be considering an upgrade.

Your site is ugly.

Let's face it: some sites are ugly. It happens. Maybe your site has tiny text. Maybe it is impossible to navigate or you simply don't like the design. Maybe it looks great on desktop, but the mobile experience is terrible. Responsive design refers to websites that reflow and adjust themselves to be effortlessly legible and usable across devices. Pulling this off requires thoughtful, intentional design. However, it is becoming increasingly easier to accomplish seamless cross-browser and cross-device compatibility. New techniques in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and no-code programs like the HubSpot drag-and-drop editor can build in the responsiveness that your website needs.

Don't address this type of functionality as an afterthought! In today’s multi-device world, a responsive design will be one of the most critical elements of your website’s success.

Your site is static.

These days, websites are built to make updating content more manageable than before; modern platforms are built to be flexible. If making even a small update takes time and effort — or even requires a developer — it's a clear sign you need to reconsider things. Search engines love good, updated content. Every time you make an update to your site, Google and other search engines crawl and index your pages; thus, your site ranking gets recalculated.

Why You Should Make the Switch

A theme is a portable and contained collection of developer assets designed to enable a flexible content editing experience. You can build themes locally using the HubSpot CLI tools, technologies, and workflows that you prefer. Themes and all of their files are also portable between environments and accounts.

With the addition of themes, we have also found that the flexibility for marketers has skyrocketed. You truly can create anything you can imagine with the front-end builder. The nearly infinitely flexible sections, columns, and rows make it possible to build the page you need without having to edit templates.

Site Performance & SEO

An important factor you should consider is the increase in usability in web design. Every year web standards change radically, and techniques to build websites become more advanced to comply with the latest standards. If your site was developed several years ago, it probably has a lot of unnecessary HTML code that may be slowing down your website load speeds – which may, in turn, impact your ranking in the Google search results.

Want to learn more about optimizing your website? Check out our website optimization page or download the free checklist to get your site running smoothly.


Some things just don't work anymore, and take it from a developer: it's not easy to locate the outdated code. Here are some resources to help if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation.

Deprecated HubSpot Tags

Deprecated HubSpot Functions


Drag-and-drop areas can be added to templates to provide content creators with a way to place modules both horizontally and vertically on a page. Drag-and-drop areas also provide additional styling control for the content creator. Because a template with a drag and drop area can be used to create many different layouts, this frees up the developer to focus on the technical aspects of site creation and updating.New call-to-action

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