WordPress or HubSpot CMS?
Whether you’re building a new website or redesigning an existing one—choosing the right CMS for your business website is crucial. So the question is… WordPress or HubSpot CMS Hub? Which one is right for you?
Over the past two decades, WordPress has achieved something truly incredible. Since its inception in 2003, the open-source content management system (CMS) has grown to be the most widely used framework on the web.
Today, WordPress makes up nearly 40% of all websites on the internet.Even more significant—64% among CMS-powered websites.
In case the acronym is unfamiliar—CMS (or content management system) refers to the functionality that enables you to create and manage digital content at scale. For business purposes, a good CMS is critical to allow multiple authors, editors, and other team members to contribute and interact with your online content.
For years—most of the websites I’ve built for small to medium-sized business clients have been on WordPress. Its functionality and flexibility has proven an invaluable tool for businesses to expand their digital presence and empower their marketing efforts.
But that’s not to say it’s without some complexity, challenges, and a learning curve. And times are changing…
Before you make any final decisions on the best CMS to power your business website (an investment over the long-term)—it’s worthwhile to take a look at HubSpot’s CMS Hub. With all of the improvements and updates continuously being made by the HubSpot development team, the decision to go with WordPress or HubSpot CMS (typically my two top choices for businesses) is more difficult than ever before.
This is particularly true when you factor in the tight integration between the HubSpot CMS with an easy-to-use CRM.
So, in this blog, I wanted to share with you the reasons for my excitement about HubSpot’s CMS Hub and why it might just be the best solution for your business's lead generation website.
Open-Source vs Managed Platform
Because WordPress is open-source and has been widely adopted, it has a massive network of developers and contributors. Meaning, it’s incredibly easy to find themes, plugins, and integrations to support your critical business operations. What’s more—finding developers and designers who are familiar with the platform is also relatively easy. And that’s good news for most small and growing businesses.
But hold on… That ease comes with a number of “gotchas.”
WordPress grew FAST. During this explosive growth, it earned a reputation for instability and incompatible elements that can cause websites to “break” if not carefully managed.
Because it’s open-source and there are lots of contributors—there are also lots of viable ways to build a website. This leads to large inconsistencies in backend administration—even between WordPress sites. There is also a heavy reliance on theme and plugin creators to maintain their own codebase. Businesses should be careful which themes and plugins to use for core site functionality and only use those that are regularly updated to prevent security vulnerabilities or incompatibilities. When lapses do occur, many businesses find that their website is unusable or is vulnerable to attack. This reality with WordPress increases the maintenance and upkeep requirement.
Simply put—it’s important to regularly update and “patch” your themes and plugins to protect your website investment and brand image.
Thankfully, WordPress has been around a while—so today it’s relatively stable and secure thanks to those years of development and learning.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s not without complexity.
Most businesses still rely heavily on developers and designers (whether in-house or contracted) to keep their websites operating at peak performance and looking great over the years. They’ll not only need to manage their website itself—but also hosting and integrations with a number of other critical business and marketing systems.
This is where HubSpot really shines...
HubSpot CMS Hub introduces an easier option for many businesses by providing an easy-to-use alternative that’s hosted on a completely managed platform.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a huge fan of open-source and WordPress. But I also REALLY enjoy the ease-of-use, consistency, and peace of mind that comes with a “closed” and managed platform.
Think Apple’s macOS and iOS ecosystem as well as their app store. It’s a relief and something you never have to think about—knowing that the system you use and apps you download are all carefully vetted and updated. There’s so much to like knowing that a team of developers and security professionals are continuously maintaining the backend systems behind a website.
This is especially true when it comes to managing your business website(s).
A CMS Designed To Be Easy-To-Use & Intuitive
This is one of the biggest reasons to get excited about HubSpot CMS.
Sure, WordPress has a number of visual drag-and-drop builders (WPBakery, Beaver Builder, Elementor, and even the new Blocks system). These make building, “designing,” and managing content on a page usable for non-developers—which is great. Unfortunately, each builder works differently and they are often cumbersome, slow down your website, and are prone to breaking during plugin or major theme updates.
In itself, this isn’t a major concern for trained users. If you always make sure to have regular (daily or hourly) website backups—these problems are few and far between. However, when something does go wrong, it can be a major problem if you don’t have those backups or a dedicated WordPress developer in-house. Little problems can quickly balloon, take down your site or other systems, and consume resources that should be focused on delivering value rather than performing maintenance and rework. It also impacts anyone who visits your site during that time.
With HubSpot CMS Hub, I’m so excited to see how the platform has matured and improved over the past couple of years. The drag-and-drop page builder and tools are fast, intuitive, and easy-to-use. They also share the same UX design and features as the rest of their platform—making it easy to navigate for anyone who has access to HubSpot within the organization.
What’s great about the HubSpot CMS Hub is that it’s designed to be easy-to-use for non-technical users (marketers, not developers).
That is… When you choose for it to be.
It’s easy for your development team to lock down certain aspects of your website so that everyday users can’t “accidentally” change or break something they didn’t intend to. Ultimately, this means your team can get more accomplished.
HubSpot CMS Hub also comes with a significantly easier learning curve than WordPress. Where it previously took hours or days to train new users on how to use certain functionality in WordPress—with HubSpot CMS training typically takes 30–60 minutes to an hour. In this time, new users can be editing and updating existing pages, creating new landing pages, embedding smart forms that connect with a built-in CRM, and more.
That’s a massive advantage for your business operations.
Themes and Apps Designed For Businesses
One of the most common complaints and challenges with WordPress websites is maintaining them as they age. Themes and plugins change over time—as does the WordPress core foundation—creating a requirement for routine maintenance to ensure a healthy and functional website. This tech debt can balloon if deferred and/or proper care and consideration isn’t taken during initial design.
I’ve seen countless WordPress sites where administrators have added dozens of extraneous plugins to achieve some unique task or functionality. If any one of those plugins breaks or causes an incompatibility over the years—it can take a whole site down.
If you carefully vet themes and keep plugins to a minimum, you can mitigate the risk of major outages. However, you can’t altogether remove the possibility of something breaking down the line.
With HubSpot CMS Hub—the development team has gone to great lengths to ensure that themes and apps (aka plugins in WordPress) are designed and integrated the right way. Meaning, that themes and apps generally don’t have “hooks” into other backend functionality that can cause problems with stability.
On a personal project, down time for a website is an inconvenience. For a business—downtime means lost revenue, missed opportunities, and poor customer experiences.
Stability is absolutely critical for business websites.
HubSpot’s stability does come with some drawbacks. Convention typically comes with a decrease in customization and variety. You won’t find the same wide range of themes, apps, and additional functionality “off the shelf” to achieve everything under the sun like you can with WordPress. That said—the themes and apps that are available are carefully vetted and designed specifically for the needs of growing businesses like yours.
So, while you may have a little less flexibility and fewer options—you can sleep well knowing that a quality control team is hard at work ensuring that the tools you’re using to build your business are safe and functional.
And—again—HubSpot is making significant investments to expand their marketplace with a growing list of developers and contributors.
Designed For Marketing AND Sales Teams
This might draw some flak from designers and developers out there—but… I’m a firm believer that websites should be owned and managed by internal marketing and sales teams—rather than IT or an agency.
Your business website is your most powerful marketing and sales tool. It’s tireless—working around the clock to serve customers your message and value online.
That isn’t to say you should do away with your professional designers, developers, and agency partners that help you build a beautiful and responsive website for your business. They are still absolutely vital to helping you build and design a great online experience.
What I mean is—for a small to medium-sized business or enterprise, your marketing and sales team members should be able to make the needed day-to-day changes on your website. They know your internal processes, approach, and messaging and should be able to manage your site.
Great websites are continuously growing and adapting—including new imagery and messaging to support new campaigns and connect with customers.
With HubSpot CMS Hub, your marketing and sales team members can take back control over the regular maintenance and management of your website and content. That means your teams can react more quickly to customer needs, create campaigns, and manage content.
Of course, when the time comes and you do want to add new functionality or make structural changes to your website—you’ll likely still want to hire a professional developer or contact an agency.
When we build WordPress websites—our clients typically ask for and need monthly retainers for care and maintenance. Depending on the level of importance and frequency of updates, this monthly cost can be a few hundred dollars or more. That’s JUST for routine web maintenance to ensure your website stays healthy and protected—and doesn’t include content updates.
With HubSpot CMS Hub—there’s no need for routine maintenance. Instead, the monthly resources that you would typically earmark for care/maintenance can be put towards higher-value efforts for your business—such as content marketing (blogs, conversions, etc.), sales collateral, or maximizing the leads you generate with modern buying journey.
Data & Integrations For All Your Growing Business Needs... In One Place.
Today, websites aren’t simply digital brochures that visitors peruse to learn about your products or services. They help you nurture prospects, convert leads, and motivate visitors to make purchases (become customers).
Successful websites are growing increasingly complex. Modern lead generation websites are backed by CMS tools, CRM integrations, marketing automation tools, heatmaps and analytics software, and much more.
Not including all of the connected systems and integrations—the average self-hosted WordPress website has 25.2 active plugins.
Yes, WordPress has plugins to integrate all of the systems and functionality to build a great online experience.
What it doesn’t offer—is all of the primary features in a single, integrated, and native platform that consolidates your data. HubSpot CMS provides your business an entire data ecosystem. This means less time gathering analytics information and generating reports.
Hear me out. Managing a website is one thing. Managing data operations for a growing number of critical business systems is another.
A huge advantage of HubSpot CMS Hub is that all of your website traffic, analytics, and customer relationship history is organized into one, centralized location with dashboards. I cannot overstate how valuable that is for our business and our clients. The time savings alone is important. The ability to quickly and easily make better decisions informed by experience data is even more so.
The combination of HubSpot CMS Hub and CRM doesn’t just simplify maintenance/operations, increase productivity, and aggregate data for you—it provides your entire team with a unified command center and “source of truth.”
All in all—this means fewer headaches, a deeper understanding of key business metrics, and more time you can spend focusing on your customers.
Wordpress Or HubSpot CMS… Which Should You Choose?
At this point, you can probably tell that I’m leaning pretty favorably toward HubSpot CMS Hub when I talk about which is the better CMS for your business.
That doesn’t mean HubSpot is right for every business. I’ve been building WordPress websites for years, and I expect that I’ll continue doing so for years to come.
WordPress is a great CMS for many organizations to begin growing their online presence and putting out quality content.
On the other hand, with the massive improvements and investments HubSpot has made in their CMS and CRM tools over the past couple of years—the tides are turning. And HubSpot isn’t finished yet. They continue to expand the functionality and features of their CMS platform. Combined with their growing developer marketplace, I am super excited to spend more time with their platform and creating websites that drive traffic, engagement, and generate leads.
So today—I can’t in good conscience overlook the value of HubSpot CMS Hub for our business partners. The ease-of-use, security of a managed platform, advantages of a centralized data ecosystem, and growing array of high-quality solutions for growing businesses make HubSpot CMS Hub the most compelling CMS platform right now.
If you’d like to chat further about how HubSpot CMS Hub can help your business meet its growth goals—contact us today! We’d be happy to discuss options and share our insights!
March 9, 2021