Whether you operate a small independent business or you run a massive company with hundreds of employees, you need a CMS that helps you achieve growth without any software headaches or holdups. There are many CMS platforms available, but two of the most popular and widely used options are the HubSpot CMS and Wordpress. Here’s how these platforms compare so you can decide which works best for your unique business needs.
What is HubSpot?
HubSpot is known for their inbound marketing methodology, which focuses on attracting customers by creating valuable content that draws them to your company rather than using outbound marketing tactics, which are interruptive. The marketing, sales, and service software offered by HubSpot is an all-in-one solution that allows teams to build landing pages, share blog posts, manage social media accounts, create email campaigns, prospect, service tickets, book meetings, manage your deal pipeline, among many other great features. The single dashboard is popular for individual enterprises and companies that manage websites for other businesses. Building your website on the same platform that hosts all those important tools can be a huge benefit.
What is Wordpress?
Wordpress is a free website and blogging platform that is incredibly popular for novice as well as expert website designers and content creators. In fact, Wordpress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the industry and it accounts for 25% of all websites on the entire internet. One reason that many people enjoy Wordpress is the endless opportunities for customization that come in the form of plugins, themes, and other tools, but this aspect can also be a major headache for people who want a simple ‘plug-and-play’ experience.
Blog posts are likely the primary way many of your customers will encounter your business for the first time. Most blogs should seek to provide educational information that works to build up the credibility of your business and therefore increase the trust of visitors in the hopes that they become customers. Because of this, blogging should be a core content element of any company’s website and your blogging software should allow for easy creation, posting, and updates.
HubSpot offers a user-friendly interface that enables users to write, optimize, publish, and analyze blog content in one location without the need for extra plugins. The published content looks clean, professional, and is easy to make revisions in the case of grammatical updates or broken links.
By comparison, Wordpress was originally built to accommodate the needs of bloggers and has since grown exponentially. Blogging on this platform is an out-of-the-box experience, similar to copy and pasting text into a word processor. The content will look good and it’s easy to upload images, but if you want to develop more sophisticated themes, optimize the content for search engines, or include a call-to-action (CTA), you’ll need some technical know-how and likely some additional plugins.
Search Engine Optimization
Writing great content is only the first step to getting found online. You need to make sure all of that content is strategically optimized to be placed in front of the right people at the right time (hello, inbound marketing!), which is where SEO comes into play.
With HubSpot, you get a robust set of tools built into the platform that also offer analysis capabilities. For example, when creating a blog post, HubSpot will offer ways for you to improve your chances of ranking better on search engines by providing suggestions about word count or header tags. This kind of support is also incorporated into other aspects of the platform, such as landing pages and website pages to make sure all of your bases are covered.
Unfortunately, Wordpress doesn’t really come with any native SEO functionality, but it makes up for this in the form of plugins. Some of the plugins are free while others will cost you some money, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s certainly not impossible to optimize your pages and content for search engines, it’s just a little bit more of a hands-on task. If you're going the Wordpress route, we highly recommend the paid version of Yoast for SEO.
Blog posts are the support pillars of landing pages that present offers for more in-depth and valuable content, such as downloadable guides, checklists, and infographics. These pages are incredibly versatile and can be adapted for various purposes based on your different audiences and what type of content you want them to gravitate toward.
As stated earlier, SEO is a built-in component of landing pages with HubSpot, which makes them incredibly easy to develop right off the bat. HubSpot offers sleek templates for landing pages so you don’t have to worry about messy coding or trying to build elements from scratch and all of the templates are optimized for mobile use as well (unless you want to!). As another nice feature, forms and CTAs are easily integrated and available in one-click.
Similar to creating a blog post, making a landing page in Wordpress is a matter of adding text and images. However, if you want to change up the layout of the page for different landing pages, you’ll need some web developing experience. Additionally, features like CTAs and forms will likely need additional plugins on Wordpress.
If we’ve said it before, we’ve said it a hundred times; your website is (or at least should be) your best salesperson. It never sleeps. It never needs a break. And best of all, you can customize it to fit the needs of your business over and over again. You want to focus on creating a visually appealing website that offers great content and easy navigation to keep visitors on the page.
With HubSpot, updating layouts with thousands of drag-and-drop templates is incredibly easy and the customizable features make it possible for your website to stand apart from the crowd. One unique aspect of this platform is that the HubSpot CMS is built on top of the CRM, which means you can collect and analyze data in one location to improve the user experience and align with sales as needed. You can also create smart content using each contact's information. For example, you can show different information to someone you know is a hot lead than someone that is coming to your website for the first time.
With a whopping 25% of all websites being hosted on Wordpress, you can certainly say it’s the best-known platform in the industry. Like we said in the beginning, Wordpress is lauded for the endless options to customize your website and build exactly what you want (if you have the technical experience and plugins available). Since Wordpress has been around for many years, there are an endless number of developers that have created some amazing frameworks, themes, plugins, and extensions to fit just about any need.
For many B2C businesses, social media is one of the key ways they are discovered by customers and its one of the best ways to build strong brand recognition. Social media makes it easy to share content from your blog, keep followers up to date with product releases or new services, and create a community around your offerings, so it only makes sense that you would want this aspect to be fully integrated into your platform.
With the HubSpot Marketing Hub Professional, you can schedule, post, monitor, and get involved with customers without ever leaving the dashboard. This also includes video uploads, hashtag trend monitoring, and in-app conversations across multiple social media platforms.
As for Wordpress, by now you might have guessed that you’ll need some extra plugins and tools to get the same features. Sharing content from your website to social isn’t difficult, but monitoring your accounts, sharing other content outside of your website, and interacting with visitors requires another set of tools that you may or may not have to shell out some money to integrate.
Last, but certainly not least, is the email marketing component of your business. Most native CMS platforms don’t send emails and you have to manage this as a separate aspect of your digital strategy or find an integration to avoid using a separate marketing automation solution. Regardless, emails are one of the key ways companies are able to nurture leads and convert people into customers, so it’s essential to have this valuable feature readily available.
The Marketing Hub Starter (and above) offered by HubSpot conveniently has email built-in and shares the contact database used across the entire platform. This means that any details you’ve collected from live chat, CTA, or forms will be captured and easily accessed from anywhere else in the platform. There are also tons of options for personalization so you can put your best foot forward when it comes to email marketing.
Again, this is another feature that isn’t standard with Wordpress and might sway some people to move in a different direction for their business. There are certainly ways to add email and coordinate contact databases, but it takes more time, effort, and technical experience.
As of April 2020, HubSpot has made some major changes to their CMS offering, unveiling the CMS Hub and CMS Enterprise. While not much has changed on the original CMS (now referred to as CMS Professional), the Enterprise version has really beefed up its offering. No longer is HubSpot the CMS just for small and medium sized businesses. The CMS Enterprise solution has some major power and tools behind it. Here are some of the new features you can look forward to on CMS Enterprise:
- Increased reporting
- Two brand domains
- Code alerts
- Reverse proxy support
- Custom CDN configuration
- Site performance monitoring
- Activity logging
- Hierarchical teams
- Serverless functions
As with anything in life, cost is something that must be considered (unless you happen to be Beyoncé). With a website there are a variety of things to consider when it comes to cost - who will build it, hosting, SSL certificate, additional plugins or tools, maintenance, etc.
HubSpot is not the cheapest option when it comes to building a website, but the power is undeniable. Here's how it typically breaks down:
- Platform - $300/month (Professional) or $900/month (Enterprise)
- Hosting - included
- SSL Certificate - included
- Theme - Plenty of free templates (you can also typically get HubSpot to create some templates that resemble your current website)
- Additional Modules - Many free options as well as paid options (and more being added to the Asset Marketplace every day). Most paid modules are under $50.
- Tech Support - Top notch
When it comes to Wordpress, it can be less expensive, but there are more things to consider since it can't be an all-in-one option. Here's how it typically breaks down:
- Platform - Free
- Hosting - need to find your own hosting. A shared server typically runs about $10 - $20/month. A private server (more secure and less risk of malware) typically runs $30 - $80/month.
- SSL Certificate - typically runs about $55/year and will need to be renewed each year.
- Theme - There are plenty of free themes, but we always recommend utilizing a premium paid theme (they just include far better tools and frameworks). They typically run $50-$100.
- Additional Plugins - There are far more plugins on Wordpress than modules on HubSpot and most of what you'll need can be accomplished with free plugins.
- Tech Support - there is no Wordpress tech support outside of message boards. Your support would need to come from your hosting provider, but they will typically only support hosting issues.
If you’re still wondering which CMS platform is the best choice for your business, our team at HIVE Digital Strategy can help! We work extensively with clients who operate on both the HubSpot CMS and Wordpress and can help you build, manage, and maintain the ideal platform that will bring more customers to your business.
Also - when it comes to website design, we believe in a Growth Driven Design philosophy. We believe that the old way of building a website, having it sit mostly unchanged for 3-5 years, then starting over and building a new website no longer makes sense. Instead, we believe that a website should be continuously monitored and modified to meet the needs of your visitors. You can learn more about how Growth Driven Design works by downloading our free GDD Infographic below!