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HubSpot vs WordPress CMS – A Primer

If you’re looking for a CMS for your website, you’ll find a plethora of bizarre names to choose from — Bynder, Wix, Weebly, DerpIt, and more. (The last one was made up, but you would’ve fallen for it had we not told you!) 

However, when it comes to choosing a scalable platform, it often boils down to only two options – HubSpot and WordPress. 

So, which one is the best? 

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Don’t be like this. Continue reading to know!

HubSpot vs. WordPress: What’s it all about? 

WordPress

In this comparison, we’ll look at the stock, out-of-the-box WordPress CMS. This one’s free, but you’ll need to customize the design of inbuilt templates in order to make the website match your brand’s look and feel.  WordPress comes with a number of tools and plugins to help you attract more leads from your website. 

Even though the CMS is free, you’ll still have to do your budgeting for hosting, website design (or template purchase), and any other additional paid tools. 

HubSpot

HubSpot’s Content Optimization System (COS) offers many more features as compared to traditional CRM. It’s inclined towards individuals or companies looking to effortlessly merge their marketing and web dev efforts into one platform. It has proven to be a dream come true for many inbound marketers! 

When it comes to cost, in HubSpot, you’ll need to do budgeting for designing or template (same as above), but in addition to that, you’ll have to pay for the HubSpot CMS. You can check out the pricing and see what suits you the best. 

We’ll be pitting the two platforms against each other on the following functions:

Landing Page Creation

WordPress

Landing pages here don’t mean just entrance pages, but pages created especially to attract more traffic and capture details. Think of the type of action-orientated pages you’d build in Unbounce, Instapage, or Optimizely.

WordPress doesn’t come inbuilt with a traditional landing page functionality. You can jury-rig a Landing Page together with some template tomfoolery along with paid plugins, or even freemium alternatives and embedded contact forms. As a result of this, more often than not, what you end up with is a kludge of unintegrated tools and additional license fees that can be painful to maintain and update. 

If you’re too keep on keeping WordPress and want to do A/B tests to your heart’s content, the path of least resistance will be to use some popular tools. Ideally, you should check if those tools have a native WordPress plugin, and go with them. Typically, these reside on a subdomain and might require some 3rd party integrations. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is straight-up competing with landing page creation tools like Unbounce. HubSpot comes with its own Landing Page tool built-in as a part of every Pro license. For an additional bonus, the tool integrates with the rest of the HubSpot CRM and product stack without any hassles. So, you can add even more context to your contracts’ conversion journeys using HubSpot’s automatic triggers and lead nurturing, closed-loop reporting plus activity and engagement logs for each individual contact. 

The landing pages come with the standard suite of A/B testing, analysis, and optimization that you’d expect from most providers. Adding content or images to the landing pages is as simple as dragging and dropping, using the inbuilt editor. You can also make use of the HubSpot template marketplace if you’re looking for inspiration or just want a speedy setup. 

Another thing that sets HubSpot apart from other landing page builders is its ability to personalize messaging based on the context, using the Smart Content feature. If HubSpot detects a known IP or country, the content will be translated into the respective language instead of the default copy. Likewise, if a particular job role, industry name, or even the contact’s name is known, this can be pulled through from the CRM into the landing page copy itself! Talk about customization. 


Winner: HubSpot

In all honesty, HubSpot really outperforms WordPress when it comes to building landing pages. WordPress doesn’t even come with an integrated landing page builder, so if you want to professionalize your lead capture process using a good landing page, HubSpot is the tool for you. 


Blogging and Blog Management

WordPress

WordPress is, without a doubt, one of the first blogging tools. Along with Blogspot and similar tools, WordPress paved the way for individual bloggers as well as businesses to start flinging their views, news, and questions onto the internet with ease. And even after 17 years from inception, that blogging pedigree still shines through in WordPress’s DNA.

For the uninitiated, WordPress is straightforward and requires little to no knowledge of HTML for you to start publishing blog content. WordPress blog editor comes with features similar to any of the document editors like MS Word, so you won’t have to face a steep learning curve either. 

Source

Having worked on many WordPress websites and blogs, we’ve found that the layout and some of the styling options present with WordPress are a bit clunky, but still bearable. Likewise, it can also be a pain to keep switching between editor and live mode to see how the final product looks. But again, it’s not a dealbreaker and works well for some people. 

In terms of setting up the blog, you’re going to get a plain text blog out of the box, and that’s pretty much it. If you want to modify the look and feel to bring it in line with your brand’s tone, you’re going to have to either find a theme online or build a template from scratch. In both the cases, you’ll likely require a developer unless you’re fairly web-savvy. 

Similarly, if you want to be in more control of your layout options, and add content blocks, columns, and more, in the editor itself, you’ll need to select plugins that will fill those functionality gaps like Gutenberg (which is now standard if you’re on WordPress 5.0 or higher) or WPBakery.

HubSpot 

If you’ve worked on WordPress’ blog and found it easy to learn, then HubSpot’s editor will be a dream to play with, in comparison! 

Example of the HubSpot Blog Editor

Example of HubSpot’s blog editor

Adding new content or editing existing content is a piece of cake with an editor that reflects the live changes within the editor itself. Think of it like editing a live page, but thankfully while it’s still in draft!  

Draft composer is one of the features that provides you with a stripped-back view for drafting initial content ideas and involving contributors without any of the live view clutter of the standard editor. You can even upload the document straight from a Google doc, which can prove to be handy if you’re working with other agencies and don’t want to share your CRM credentials with them. 

The HubSpot blog tool, like WordPress, is theme reliant, so you might need to use developer resources to create a template that fits your brand’s voice. Being a gold-tiered Hubspot Partner Agency, we regularly check out HubSpot’s template market, which has a whole host of free and paid options for you to use and customize.

Where HubSpot truly outshines WordPress is in terms of added functionalities. With HubSpot, out of the box, you can: 

  • Insert or create tracked calls-to-action.
  • Add, modify, or remove on-page modules.
  • View performance analytics in a single place.
  • Easily check the responsiveness by previewing the page in mobile and tablet modes.
  • Integrate with HubSpot’s content calendar and strategy planning tool.
  • Automatically publish to social channels and email blog subscribers on go-live.

It goes without saying, that with so many added functionalities, the tool does get a bit complicated, especially when compared to WordPress, which has always boasted of its simplicity. That’s why WordPress is the platform of choice for many beginners. 

The other possible downside with HubSpot is that it comes with some design limitations. After all, its prime role was never about aesthetic magic, but was about conversions and lead capturing. As a result, HubSpot sites might seem a bit formulaic. WordPress, on the other hand, can be twisted and turned to look beautiful, but it can be at the expense of functionality. 


Winner: WordPress

For straight out of the box blogging, WordPress comes with a simplicity that is really hard to beat. Especially if your business is design-driven, WordPress can offer you the chance to be super creative and imaginative. However, if blogging is your day job (and not just a hobby), you might be inclined towards the additional functionality that HubSpot offers. 


Search Engine Optimization

WordPress

WordPress, out-of-the-box, doesn’t offer any SEO-related functionalities, to be honest. At ContentNinja, we’ve always used the Yoast plugin with WordPress for our SEO needs. This is one of the best tools available with WordPress and allows you to add a sitemap, edit the robots.txt, and add meta tags, descriptions, headings wherever needed. 

The main problem here is that Yoast doesn’t quite help you with the actual search term research. To get the best out of your Yoast, you’ll need to use additional tools like Moz or SEMRush to understand what you should feed to your Yoast! 

HubSpot

In stark contrast with WordPress, HubSpot comes with integrated SEO tools and even provides suggestions and recommendations on how you can improve the SEO of your website. This includes identifying duplicate or missing meta tags, suggesting titles, image captions, and more. Such functionality used to be available only on specialized tools, but is part of the planning and strategy tools on the HubSpot CRM.

Example of HubSpot Optimise Blog Content Feature

Optimize your content with HubSpot

HubSpot also comes with an integrated search term research tool. Similar to Yoast, there are many on-page tools that guide you to using best practices in terms of optimization.

But even more than that, HubSpot is an active experimenter on its own website. It continuously experiments to see what improves organic traffic, and then builds that into the CRM platform. For instance, HubSpot has tools to identify pillar content and content clusters around your area of business. These are ideas which SEOs have been using forever, but HubSpot finally brought it to their platform so that anyone can use it even without much technical knowledge. 


Winner: HubSpot

Simply because HubSpot comes with innovative integrated tools for anyone and everyone to perform SEO!


Email and Social Media Integration

WordPress

WordPress comes with plugins that help in integrating it with third-party mailing platforms like MailChimp. You can simply put a form on your website, collect email addresses and details, and store them straight into your mailing lists. Pretty simple! 

Likewise, you can also integrate social media on your website, by:

  • Using social media feeds to pull content onto your website.
  • Adding social sharing buttons to improve engagement.
  • Using Buffer or other scheduling tools to improve your efficiency in posting. 

The advantage here is that you get to choose your providers based on your budget, requirements, and functionalities needed. That way, you can craft a system for yourself that works for you and your audience. 

HubSpot

The HubSpot platform, even the free version, includes email capabilities, but the best part is that all the tools are integrated with the HubSpot CRM. In essence, all the leads collected on your website to straight into the CRM and can be segmented, and sent tailored content based on their interest and deal stage. Further, you can even automate this process and save yourself huge chunks of time. 

As you’d expect, HubSpot also comes with the usual social media shenanigans like:

  • Posting on social media, and monitoring interactions and mentions.
  • Reporting on engagement, linking back the contribution of social media to your wider marketing goals.
  • Creating targeted lists for prospecting and starting real-time conversations.
  • Using its Ads tool and measuring the ROI of paid social ads.

Winner: HubSpot

Simply because the email and social media tools come integrated with the CRM in the case of HubSpot, which makes it pretty convenient. The main win for HubSpot here is that you can do pretty clever targeting with your contacts using HubSpot’s features. 


Security, Speed, Scalability

WordPress

Security:

Since there are billions of WordPress devs out there, there are a lot of hackers, too, trying to take down WordPress sites. This means that your WordPress site needs to be updated regularly so that none of the security patches go missing, otherwise your website will remain as vulnerable as always.

Generally WordPress offers straightforward and invisible updates but as the complexity of your website grows (with an increase in plugins and third-party applications), the likelihood of something or the other breaking drastically increases. 

Most WordPress sites run happily without ever being hacked, but if it does happen, it should be a concern. 

Speed and Stability:

This is again directly dependent on how complex your website is. Some WordPress websites that use a lot of third-party plugins are found to be considerably slower than others which don’t. TTFB (the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of the response from your web server) is important – it’s absolutely critical to the user experience of your site as visitors are increasingly impatient with slow- loading sites, but it’s also related to your organic ranking.

For stability, we’ll talk about the uptime of the website. This is dependent on the quality of your hosting provider as well as complexity of the website. Sometimes, the major problem that occurs with WordPress has actually little to do with WordPress and more with the hosting that you’ve chosen. Bad hosting leads to a lot of downtime and unreliability.

HubSpot

Security 

As discussed earlier, the HubSpot developer community is much smaller and the software isn’t an open-sourced one, making HubSpot a lot more secure software platform than WordPress. 

More than that, if you’ve already hosted your website on HubSpot, you’re a part of their wider security monitoring process that also includes threat detection. That means, if they identify any security patch is required by you, they’ll proactively push it out to all other sites rather than waiting for you to do an update. 

That’s not to say that they don’t have problems (see here), but that they take responsibility for them when they happen.  

Speed and stability

Again, if you’re hosting your site with WordPress, you’ll get a 99.99% uptime (HubSpot claims!). 

If you have a WordPress website hosted on any standard provider, then speed and stability is your headache. You might use an agency like us to help you, but it all comes down to whether or not you care enough to fix it. 

With HubSpot, on the other hand, the platform itself keeps an eye on the patches you might require. It isn’t perfect, but they’re responsive to user queries and stability issues and have a team dedicated to improvements and fixing outages.  


Winner? HubSpot

99.99% uptime coupled with tighter security controls – HubSpot all the way!


Analytics and Reporting Capabilities

WordPress

Without trying to sound like a broken record, WordPress is a blogging platform. So, you’ll need to do a bit of tinkering here and there to link it to an analytics tool. Luckily, it’s not complex tinkering: just set up a Google Analytics account and tie the site together with GA using the UA console. Taking things one stage further, Yoast allows you to verify the site with Search Console and Webmasters tools for more SEO goodness.  

GA is an excellent free tool that can be incredibly insightful when it comes to measuring and tracking your website’s performance. WordPress also comes with an option to develop custom dashboards, or even link it to a more visual reporting system for better understanding. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is designed to completely replace Google Analytics and other reporting tools, and provide a consolidated report of all the performances. It comes with custom reports, dashboards, and the ability to drill down into any data that you have. 

As HubSpot’s analytics is linked to the CRM, any conversion data is immediately reflected in the contact record. That means, you can see the user’s activities and page interactions. You can also find similar data in GA, just that it will be completely anonymized. 

Possibly the most crucial element of HubSpot is the ability to see a correlation between marketing campaigns and generated leads/revenue. This provides you with an altogether different level of sophistication, wherein you can pull off anything from Google Analytics and use it to shape decisions on where to focus your time and money.

If you wish to amp things up further, you get an additional reporting module. The complete Growth Suite allows you to perform reporting across marketing, sales, and service. For many businesses, closed-loop reporting (sales reporting back to marketing about what they’ve done with the leads they’ve been given) is monumental in improving the accountability of sales teams. 

Giving marketing teams data insights on the content or other activities that have led to closed deals allows them to turn anonymous data into user-specific information that can be further used for campaign or persona creation. 

Example of HubSpot Analytics ToolExample of the HubSpot Analytics Tool


Winner: HubSpot

HubSpot’s ability to correlate marketing activity and closed deals is an incredible tool for all marketers. When you are easily able to prove ROI at the click of a button, it becomes easier to request for more budget and ask your boss for a pay rise. 😀


Concluding Remarks

Well, if you’ve read this blog till the end, you’d have realized that this isn’t really a fair comparison…

For pure and simple blogging, the cost and simplicity that WordPress provides can’t be beaten. If you’re just a beginner on your digital journey, WordPress is a comfortable place to start. And WordPress is malleable — add SEO tools, email lists, analytics, social channels, scheduling tools, and a lot more — to create a complex digital system that can drive great marketing results. 

HOWEVER, as complexity builds and your marketing efforts expand, HubSpot becomes the clear winner. Yeah, it’s more expensive, but you get a wholesome integrated toolset on a platform that’s built for martech. That means, you get seamless recording across campaigns and tools, and a greater level of insights into your marketing investments! 

Even more than that, HubSpot scales along with your business. That means it’s perfect for marketing and sales teams looking to ramp up the number of leads or traffic they receive as a result of their inbound efforts. 

Now, if you want more of an in-depth discussion about the benefits of HubSpot over WordPress or vice-versa, or need help with getting started on HubSpot, reach out to us Ninjas; we’ll have your back! 

Author avatar
Shriya Garg