A content management system (CMS) has had a revolutionary effect on online marketing, allowing people with very little technical knowledge or experience to quickly and easily publish content online.
But which CMS gives you more for your money? Which interfaces are user-friendly and easy to understand? Do you need to apply add-ons and plugins or can you integrate it with other software?
The number of CMS platforms available has grown considerably, which can cause a bit of a headache when it comes to choosing the right one.
At the end of the day, all businesses want is the ability to manage their own website and keep it up to date and relevant without having to fund for external costs (e.g. agencies). Therefore, an easy and efficient system where internal teams can upskill and take control of their site is desirable.
So, how do you know which one is best suited to your business? We’re here to help you decide between two CMS giants.
HubSpot vs WordPress: The gloves are off
The most popular CMS available is WordPress. Thanks to its maturity, ease of use, and wide availability of plugins, virtually every need can be met.
WordPress controls over 27 million live sites – to put it into simpler terms, that’s 35.6% of the entire internet!
But since 2013 there’s been a new CRM competitor on the block. When HubSpot published their CMS, they coined the term ‘content optimisation system’. It differs from a traditional CMS in two ways: firstly, it holistically integrates a wide selection of tools, pages, and features, from web pages, landing pages, and blogs to calls-to-action, social elements, workflows, and more.
Secondly, it allows you to create personalised experiences for clients. Smart content (like CTA’s) can be added to emails, websites, and landing pages, nurture sequences can be set up to target specific buyer journeys, and you can even a ‘build your own buyer persona’, helping you to target audience keywords or FAQs in blog articles. At a time when personalisation and tailored messaging was huge, this was a very big deal.
Whether you’re an SME or a large enterprise, the question isn’t which CMS is better, but which is better suited to you and your business needs.
In theory, you can use both solutions to manage your website and online marketing efforts; the difference lies in how the two platforms facilitate this.
As a fully customisable CMS, you can use WordPress in a variety of ways to achieve different ends. From posts and pages to categories and multimedia objects, you can make the platform your own.
So if WordPress can do anything, can’t you use it for inbound marketing too? And doesn’t that make it the obvious choice over HubSpot? Well, not necessarily.
The entire HubSpot platform is built around the inbound methodology. If inbound marketing is an important part of your digital strategy, – or if you would like it to be – HubSpot is almost certainly your best choice.
The value of HubSpot is in the ready-to-use ecosystem, designed specifically to monitor the buyer's journey, combined with CRM to track sales and the transformation of the visitor into a customer.
Think of the platform as a specialist inbound marketing platform, and WordPress as a website tool.
In the end, the real question you must ask yourself is: 'am I choosing the right system for my business?'
The system you use depends only on what you’re looking for, and what’s important to you. This helps you understand exactly which platform is best for you.
Let’s look at the differences between the two choices in more detail.
The differences between HubSpot and WordPress
The HubSpot blog is tightly integrated with all HubSpot tools, allowing you to embed call-to-actions and videos with a click of a button. It’s also linked to the RSS feed and the email signature tool for subscribing to updates. HubSpot frequently updates it in line with business developments and Google’s algorithm updates - like Google Amp, which optimises blog pages for mobile use - so you can be sure it’s following current best practice. A HubSpot blog also allows for better analytics, saving you juggling with metrics like Google Ads, or page views in WordPress.
WordPress has a standard blog platform wherein a short time you can start writing and posting. On the downside, there’s no native integration with other tools. All additional features need plugins. These are separate from each other and have different operating logic.
With the HubSpot Landing Page Tool, users can easily add new pages. Landing pages can also be customised based on the buyer's journey or a user list (smart content). More data means a clearer understanding of what your customers are interested in and how you can optimise your page to engage them.
The new HubSpot form analytics tool will also let you see how far people have got filling in a form, or if they’ve even seen it - something you can’t analyse on WordPress.
Furthermore, if you have HubSpot Enterprise, you can perform multi-varying testing via AI that compares the best landing pages for you to use.
Out of the box, WordPress has two post categories: site pages and blog posts. To create a landing page category, you would need to set up a custom post type and would likely need to use a plugin and configure it to make it happen. Any customisations to the theme, or ensuring it’s responsive, can require a developer with knowledge of PHP.
Depending on your goal for the landing page, adding additional options, like a form or A/B testing, will also require additional software in WordPress.
WordPress also has no native analytics like HubSpot, so it’s hard to track how well your landing pages are actually performing.
The HubSpot site pages are integrated with the social media publishing stream, Call-To-Action Generator, and SEO tools. Marketing professionals can create websites without needing to use a single line of code, using the drag-and-drop template editor.
HubSpot also allows you to have password-protected website pages or those that are only viewable by certain people in certain lists by using a powerful tool called private content that allows contacts to sign up and register with their own username and password.
WordPress allows you to create drafts and schedule publication for a time and date of your choice. You can easily create text-based site pages and add themes to your webpages (see below), but it does lack a drag-and-drop page function tool. There are hundreds of features to choose from through the various plugins you can install, however, it should be mentioned at this point that plugins weigh down the site and can cause problems if outdated.
EASE OF PAGE DESIGN
HubSpot has an easy-to-use ‘what you see is what you get’ editor that allows you to work on the preview of a page and gives you the ability to view thumbnails on mobile devices and tablets. Even calls-to-action can be created very easily without the need for code.
Website customisation can be made extremely easy by using custom modules that can pull simple text fields and ensure they’re already styled exactly how you need them. They also have many other capabilities like being able to choose a style you’d like from within a module, all from the in-page editor.
You can even use HubDB to create dynamic pages from a simple table view in HubSpot. Meaning you can just upload your title, content, image and anything else and a page will be automatically made with all of that information.
WordPress offers a generous selection of themes. Some of these are free, others you will need to buy. The usability, efficiency, and even security of these also vary between themes, so you’re advised to test several and choose the one that best suits your needs. If you want a WYSIWYG editor with integrated CTAs and drag-and-drop design in the spirit of HubSpot, there’s another plugin for this.
Ultimately, if you want the same user experience that you get on HubSpot, you will need to install plugins or purchase a theme such as Divi.
HubSpot has its roots in SEO. The management system has been built to meet Google's demands and keeps up to date with the latest search optimisation trends. As such, you won’t need to rely on a consultant to advise you on changes when Google updates its algorithm; HubSpot takes care of it all for you.
The array of SEO tools will also help your content perform, for instance measuring the length of your meta description or consistency of the keyword you’re using.
There’s also a new feature called code alerts which highlight any syntax errors you may have in your coded files, resulting in them not being able to cache or be minified (this will slow down your website).
WordPress is not born with integrated SEO capabilities, but there are handy — yes, you’ve guessed it — plugins (both free and paid) you can install for this. Competitor tracking, page performance tracking, inbound link tracking, and Google Search Console Integration all require additional software.
The advantage of WordPress is that because of its age, a lot of developers have built handy plugins to manage almost any SEO demand. For example, automatically adding SCHEMA markup to pages, analysing your content’s keywords, and managing your websites coded files with robots.txt.
HubSpot has a full support team to answer all your questions. There’s also an active community from which you can draw information: forums, HubSpot user groups and localised resources across different nations, LinkedIn groups, and a certified partner network.
WordPress offers little customer service, but if you buy a theme, often, they will come with 12 months support.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATIONS
HubSpot has Inbound Marketing Consultants, Account Managers, and highly qualified Academy Professors dedicated to training and education. The HubSpot blog and the Marketing Library provide resources for continuous education. Their wide range of certifications helps you look at specific topics in-depth, including the platform itself.
WordPress has forums and documentation available to help with training. In addition, it provides access to free resources on their product. However, there are no standard certifications available like HubSpot offers.
All client web sessions on HubSpot are encrypted using an SSL certificate with a 256-bit AES key. Security measures include the following:
Firewalls and dedicated VPN services
Intrusion Detection Systems
Web Application Firewall
DDoS mitigation services
Secure network scanning through third-party services, including McAfee ScanAlert and TrustWave
Log logging of all access applications and web servers
Two-factor sign-in authentication
A wide range of GDPR compliances due to being attached to a wider engine
Protecting your site on WordPress requires more attention and, of course, several plugins and additional software. To keep your WordPress site secure, it’s advised to follow best practice:
Upgrading to the latest WordPress version can repair known vulnerabilities
To improve security, consider disabling the theme editor
Rely on a trusted web hosting service
Make continuous site backups to save content if the site is hacked
The HubSpot engineers team performs daily updates, experimenting with new solutions to improve user productivity. These updates take effect automatically, so the end-user doesn't need to do anything. In addition, HubSpot partners and end-users play a pivotal role in these updates, working closely with the product teams to identify which features would be valuable, testing them out amongst the community, and working through rigorous QA before being released to the general user base.
WordPress has a great open-source team. However, due to its nature, it needs frequent updates that need to be made by users. Third-party plugins are also updated, each with its own logic and frequency, with no direct correlation to the WordPress developer team. Problems of version compatibility may arise, meaning a simple update can cause technical problems or ‘plugin clashes’ that you may need to rely on expert support to resolve.
While you can download WordPress for free, most of the significant costs are associated with hosting, security, plugins, integrations, themes, and more. These tools often require numerous hours connecting then learning. However, overall, WordPress is a fraction of the price, but you don’t get nearly as many premium features ‘out of the box’ as you do with HubSpot.
HubSpot CMS vs WordPress CMS: the verdict
WordPress is a great platform and for years it was the default choice of many companies for several reasons:
It’s a mature and complete CMS
It's easier to find a web developer familiar with WordPress than it is finding a HubSpot developer
There is a large community of support
WordPress may be the platform to choose from if:
You’re a younger startup with a limited budget for a larger platform (even in this case HubSpot has alternative pricing options for some startups).
You want to build a personal blog or some sort of internal wiki within the company (HubSpot may be oversized).
When it comes to building a website to generate leads, however, it's clear that HubSpot is the best choice.
Integrated all-in-one system with optimised hosting based on a CDN
Intuitive interface designed for those who do marketing
No need to update or use plugins
Manage multiple domains from a single login
SSL native encryption
Fully integrated email management and CRM for enterprise and contact management
And most importantly, it enables you to understand the buyer's journey for every single visitor, allowing you to know where he or she comes from, where they go, and what they do
WordPress is a CMS; HubSpot is much more than that.
WordPress is great for personal blogs, integration with WooCommerce for easy e-commerce, and more complex content management capabilities with a rich database functionality. But HubSpot CMS is holistic. The end isn’t just a website or content management like a CMS, but the ability to manage, optimise, and integrate every digital marketing component together.
Oh, and if you’re interested in HubSpot’s potential to transform your business but you already have a WordPress site and don’t want to waste all the time and work gone into it, don’t worry. You can integrate your existing WordPress site with HubSpot, enhancing the functionality of your existing platform while dedicating yourself to a determined web marketing process.
Want to get started? To discover how to plan and build a successful inbound marketing strategy across your business, download our free ebook below.