HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress: An Objective Comparison

Content management systems brought the revolution to the digital marketing world, allowing people with limited technical know-how to publish content easily. We were fresh into the new century when two of the most popular content management systems emerged. Fast forward to the present day, and the number of CMSs has grown exponentially, each offering somewhat different possibilities and specializing in different segments of our craft.

hubspot cms vs wordpress

Online advertising is a complex and busy marketplace. There is so much to analyze, so many strategies to employ, so many ways to engage users, and so many angles to consider as you look for the best possible deal. But, nothing can stamp authority and solidify your company as an established and reliable business presence in a way that a website can.

HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress: What’s the difference?

In today’s article, our web design agency in Chicago puts two of the most popular content management systems side by side. We’ll compare HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress to help you decide which of these fantastic platforms is the best fit for your current and future needs as your business moves forward.

The beginnings

We start our comparison by going back in time to both of our content management systems’ release dates in order to determine their initial purposes.

HubSpot emerged in 2006 as a marketing company that offers both software and services to help businesses achieve their full potential. One of the software packages they introduced was the HubSpot Content Management System (at the time known as the HubSpot Content Optimization System), a cloud-based website builder and blogging platform that integrates HubSpot’s email, marketing, analytics, and SEO services. Advertised as an all-in-one solution to your online marketing needs, HubSpot provides services to over 95,000 customers.

WordPress launched in 2003 as an open-source content management system. Today, WordPress is the most popular CMS on the web, powering over 60 million active websites with a share of 35% of the top 10,000 most visited sites.

So, when we put HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress, we can see that these platforms are different at their cores. While HubSpot is prominently a streamlined marketing service, WordPress is a flexible content management system. That being said, these platforms have different strengths and weaknesses.

Ease of use

No one enjoys dealing with overly complicated stuff. No matter how willing you are, results tend to be less than optimal when things get too complex. That is why we’ll start our HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress comparison by evaluating how easy or difficult it is to master both of our platforms.

First, let’s state the obvious: These content management systems wouldn’t be as popular as they are if they were difficult to use. So, without further ado, here are all the ins and outs of using each of these platforms.

WordPress gained its reputation due to its simplicity. The abundance of themes makes building a functional and original website as easy as it can be. Its drag-and-drop interface allows people with no coding knowledge to almost assume the role of a developer. Furthermore, you’ll find tons of online tutorials that will help you get yourself the website you desire.

HubSpot doesn’t shy away either, as it comes bundled with a plethora of marketing tools that eliminate the need for multiple plugins to get your marketing campaign up and running.

However, optimizing for mobile and running A/B tests in WordPress requires additional software as well as a bit of development know-how. In contrast, HubSpot supports these features right from the start, making implementation and optimization the last thing to worry about. Features like an on-page editor and design manager allow you to customize your website on the spot.

On the other hand, some developers may hit a roadblock when attempting to use dynamic content in HubSpot. This is because HubSpot uses HubL, its own markup language, which is essentially a customized Python templating language.

WordPress offers countless plugins, both third-party and in-house developed, for your customization and functionality needs. While this is certainly a welcome feature, we advise you to tread with caution since installing too many of them will bloat your code and slow down your website. Install only those that you actually need.

When it comes to HubSpot, adding or changing functionality requires HTML and CSS knowledge. Of course, this is not an obstacle for good developers. If you know your coding, you are sure to appreciate the smooth HTML and CSS implementation, the option to preview pages in the same window, the testing and staging environment, and utilize the best of the platform’s design and flexibility features.

Data access

Regardless of the industry, having access to your website data is extremely valuable, whether for manual backups or transferring the site from one host to another. Thankfully, this round of our HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress comparison seems to be a tie; both of our platforms allow users to access their data.

There is a wide array of data for you to access and export with HubSpot, including:

  • Published social media messages
  • Form submissions
  • Landing page data
  • Keywords data
  • Page performance data
  • Email performance data
  • Recipient data for a particular email
  • Published blog posts data
  • Website data (page HTML, file manager files, URL mappings, sitemap)
  • List of contacts, companies, and deals

WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that anyone can use, distribute, and customize this CMS. It provides unrestricted access to data, including:

  • Posts
  • Web pages
  • Comments
  • Custom fields
  • Navigation menus

Of course, exporting the data from any of these platforms usually requires multiple export files for various data types. Also, just because you managed to export your data, it doesn’t mean you have your entire website stored in files. If you wish to migrate to another host or content management system, you may need assistance from a professional company like our web development agency in Chicago.

Analytics

If you plan to monetize your website, which you probably do, you’ll need to perceive your traffic through raw numbers. That is what Web analytics does. It tracks your website traffic and provides data on essential elements such as conversion and bounce rates.

HubSpot CMS features robust analytics software that allows you to track and quantify your website performance from the moment it goes live.

WordPress doesn’t come with a built-in analytics tool, but you can easily add it through plugins like JetPack and Monster Analytics.

Many businesses use WordPress as their content management system and HubSpot as a marketing platform. If you choose to follow this practice, you’ll be happy to know that you can integrate HubSpot analytics into your WordPress site.

While HubSpot provides an all-in-one solution, WordPress offers more choices and control. If you don’t mind a few extra clicks, then whichever of these two platforms you choose, you can rest assured that you’ll be backed up with enough data to scale your website.

Blog management

Blogging doesn’t seem to go out of fashion any time soon. This should come as no surprise considering that blogs serve numerous purposes, from marketing, and driving new traffic, to lead nurturing. And when it comes to our HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress comparison, they both seamlessly handle blogging.

People at HubSpot worked hard to make their content management system intuitive and enriched with features. Their “what you see is what you get” editor allows you to easily write, edit, and format your posts. You also have the option to schedule posts and add CTAs. However, everything further than that requires their custom-developed blogging modules. So, without a developer’s help, you are bound to blog the way HubSpot forces you to blog.

Blog management is where WordPress truly shines. It originated as a blogging platform and remained the best content management system for this purpose. Gutenberg, their latest content editor, introduced a block-based interface that allows users with no coding experience to manage content efficiently. Furthermore, you can use one of its numerous plugins to add alluring and trackable CTAs and much more than that. When it comes to blogging in WordPress, if you can imagine it, you can probably have it via a plugin.

Extensibility

Extensibility is a term that represents the extent to which you can customize a content management system. As your business grows, you are likely to add new features to your website. Having an extensible CMS will make this process much simpler and cheaper, allowing your website to grow along with your brand.

HubSpot CMS is proprietary software. This means that the company owns both the content management system and your website. Of course, HubSpot closely guards its property and allows you to use the CMS only in a pre-defined way. We’ve already mentioned that you have an option to add functionality via modules. Although this may not seem like an obstacle, there is a caveat. There are only less than 1000 of these modules, so if none of them provides the feature you need, you need to hire a developer to create one for you. Above all, your developer must be familiar with HubL, limiting your choice to a specific niche.

In contrast, WordPress offers nearly 60,000 plugins in its official marketplace alone. Most of them are free, and new features can be at your disposal with two clicks. Furthermore, various development companies sell their premium custom-made plugins online. Also, in case your company’s needs are so specific that neither of the existing plugins is sufficient enough, you should have no problem finding a developer to build one. This is because WordPress’ codebase is open-source and commonly known among developers.

Website pages

Your website speed largely depends on the way you build your pages. While you can opt for custom-coded websites, content management systems allow non-developers to build professional-looking web pages.

HubSpot CMS offers a drag-and-drop builder that uses modules for content. The default modules cover features like:

  • Menus
  • Social media buttons
  • Text
  • Subscription forms
  • Headers
  • CTAs
  • Sliders
  • Blog posts
  • Images

The builder is relatively intuitive and easy to use. So, as long as you are satisfied with the theme and need no more features than those mentioned above, you are good to go. For anything further than that, you’ll need to find a developer comfortable with HubL or download it from their limited marketplace.

In contrast, WordPress offers numerous professional page builders with modules that allow in-depth customization. The Avada theme’s Fusion builder, Pro and X theme’s Cornerstone builder, and the Elementor are some of the best you can work with. However, one that stands the tallest among all of these is the Sage WordPress theme. This framework allows developers to create websites from scratch with clean code, a prerequisite to fast-loading pages. Sites based on this theme have a much easier path to the top of the SERPs, considering their positive impact on user experience – a virtue that Google values exceptionally.

If the builder of your choice doesn’t include the feature you need, it is very likely to provide documentation for a developer to create a custom element.

Landing pages

HubSpot comes bundled with a landing page tool that allows you to build and customize your landing pages based on the buyer’s journey through a sales funnel or even employ smart content based on your user list. You’ll get sufficient data to understand what your customers are interested in so you can optimize your page in order to engage them better.

The comprehensive analytics tool will even let you see how far people have got filling in a form. If you subscribe to HubSpot Enterprise, you’ll be able to perform multi-varying testing with the help of AI and compare the best-performing landing pages in order to select the one that fits your marketing campaign in the best way possible.

Since WordPress provides only web pages and blog posts, building a landing page generally starts with setting up a custom post type and configuring a plugin. To further customize a theme and ensure full responsiveness, you’ll need a developer with PHP know-how. Adding a form, conducting A/B tests, and providing analytics also require additional software.

SEO

We believe that search engine optimization is the first thing website developers think of when they wake up and the last thing on their minds before going to sleep. Ok, jokes aside, the truth is that website prominence is not a given thing. Strategy, website structure, page speed, mobile optimization, structured metadata, and keyword usage all play a huge role in search engine optimization. With that in mind, let’s examine the SEO aspect of our HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress battle.

HubSpot CMS comes packed with SEO tools. Along with strategic graphs that will help you organize your content in the most impactful way and on-page SEO tips for blog posts optimization, you’ll also be able to conduct keyword research for topics you are focusing on.

In contrast, WordPress provides no SEO tools whatsoever. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t optimize your web pages. Various online tools make up for these shortcomings. For example, you can use SEMRush for keyword research, Yoast SEO plugin for keyword optimization, Google snippet previews, XML sitemap generation, as well as look online for general SEO tips. You can even do some things in WordPress that HubSpot CMS doesn’t provide, such as using the free version of Yoast SEO for custom and rich structured metadata.

Themes and styles

If you don’t want your website to blend with the crowd, you must define an authentic look and uniform style. Content management systems usually achieve this by using various themes. That is something that both WordPress and HubSpot support.

HubSpot uses the combination of standard web languages and HubL to create themes before selling them on its marketplace. There are over 5,000 themes to choose from, but not all cover the entire website. Many are only used for emails, landing pages, web pages, or blog pages.

For a site-wide uniform look, you’ll need a template pack. Unfortunately, there are only around 230 template packs. If none of those rocks your world, a web developer customizing them at the code level is your only option.

With WordPress, it’s a whole different story. There are tens of thousands of themes across numerous marketplaces. Better yet, you can customize most of them yourself via admin panel settings. Add a developer to the picture, and your options become practically limitless.

Customer service

Customer service remains the only option if you don’t hire an agency to maintain your website.

HubSpot offers premium customer service with its support team ready to tend to any of your needs. There is also an active community on forums, HubSpot user groups, and a certified partner network. 

WordPress has a very devoted and active community but offers little customer service. However, some of the free plugins, as well as most paid themes and plugins, come with 12 months’ support.

Training and digital certifications

HubSpot offers inbound marketing consultants, account managers, and highly qualified Academy professors. If you prefer studying at your own pace, you’ll find plenty of resources in their blog and marketing library. Developers can join a HubSpot-run Slack group to chat with their peers and the HubSpot CMS team. You may also choose to enroll in the HubSpot Academy and earn one of its numerous certifications.

There are no standard certifications available to WordPress users. You gain your knowledge by using the product and other users’ experiences. Access to the resources on the product is free, and you also have forums and documentation at your disposal to help with training.

Security

Website security and customer data protection have to be on the top of your priority list in the online world. Let’s see how both of our platforms handle this delicate issue.

On HubSpot, client sessions are encrypted by an SSL certificate with a 256-bit AES key. Here is what its security measures include:

  • Firewalls and dedicated VPN services
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) or secure SSO login to access website editing
  • Intrusion detection system
  • Web application firewall
  • DDoS mitigation services
  • Secure network scanning via third-party services such as McAfee, ScanAlert, and TrustWave
  • Log logging of all access applications and web servers
  • A wide range of GDPR compliances due to being attached to a wider engine

Protecting your WordPress website requires extra attention, along with multiple plugins and software. Follow these practices to maintain maximum security:

  • Regularly upgrade to the latest version
  • Consider disabling the theme editor
  • Regularly update plugins or switch to other plugins if necessary
  • Use a trusted web hosting service
  • Make regular website backups to save the content in the event of a security breach

Pricing

There is much more than simply paying for the platform itself when it comes to the cost of a content management system. You also need to consider hosting, development, maintenance, and security costs.

HubSpot CMS is a SaaS platform, which means you are required to pay an annual fee. This includes both an SSL certificate and platform services such as newsletter, SEO, Workflow, Form, CTA, Analysis, etc.

WordPress is an open-source platform, so you can download it and use it for free. However, you still need to pay for hosting, security, some plugins, integrations, themes, third-party developers, etc.

HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress: Final thoughts

You’ve come this far, and now you are probably expecting us to tell you which content management systems to choose — HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress. Unfortunately, the best answer we can provide is also the most unpopular one: It depends.

Before you start to frown, let us elaborate. Although both of these platforms can satisfy pretty similar needs, they are very different at their heart and aimed at different types of users. 

HubSpot is more an inbound marketing tool than a content management system, but it offers limited customization. On the other hand, WordPress allows for more development control and SEO optimization, but it is far from an all-in-one advertising solution.

But, who’s to say that you have to choose one over the other? Actually, your best option may be to integrate WordPress’ prowess as a customizable, SEO-oriented content management system with HubSpot’s industry-defining inbound marketing tool and have the best of both worlds at your fingertips. That could be your solution for maximum impact.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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