When people are looking into a new CMS or updating their website, it’s a common question; “what’s better, HubSpot or WordPress?” and to that, there’s no right answer.
Both systems offer different features, and your requirements will be the deciding factor in whether HubSpot, or WordPress, is better to fulfil and exceed your needs.
Both HubSpot and WordPress have content management systems they offer users. A content management system allows web developers, owners, and admins to build, write, and modify web content. Having a CMS is handy as a lot of the time they mean you don’t need to write any code to make changes to your website pages, publish blogs, or add products.
So, what’s the difference and which CMS is better for you?
1. The ease to build, update and maintain your website
If your main concern, or swaying point, is the ease of editing and maintaining your website – HubSpot would win hands down. The user-experience (UX) HubSpot provides you with when it comes to customising your website is definitely a huge selling point.
You can truly customise and edit your website without any knowledge or know-how of coding. That doesn’t mean that HubSpot has limitations – if you do have the skill or desire (or team that does), you can get more technical with the page editing. It’s effectively the best of both worlds.
Additionally, if you use HubSpot for your website, you get analytics built in and automatic mobile-friendliness. Plus, you get optimisations for speed, reliability, and security.
That’s not saying these such features aren’t available with WordPress, but they aren’t readily available. Meaning they depend on the theme you’re using and sometimes require additional plugins. Unsurprisingly, you get what you pay for – and the free themes don’t allow for much customisation and can be pretty frustrating to use.
There are a bunch of paid themes you can use, it’s worth making sure you do your research on the theme you purchase as there are an abundance and you don’t want to end of with one that has poor usability. Try get one with a unique page editor, this is what most closely mimics the user-friendly style builder you can find in HubSpot.
2. Level of functionality
When it comes to scalability and functionality – here’s what you need to know…
Creating landing pages
WordPress does have the capability for you to build standard web pages and blogs, but it doesn’t have the same landing page functionality that HubSpot does. With WordPress if you can get your head round the some of their paid plug-ins you may be able to end up with functionality to create landing pages, but it’s going to be clunky.
So, if you know you’re going to want to be creating a lot of landing pages, and you want them to look great– you may want to go down the HubSpot route. While you can A/B test with WordPress, you’re going to need plugins to allow you to do that.
Whereas with HubSpot, your landing pages have built in features to allow automation triggers, lead nurturing, closed loop reporting, and engagement logs for every contact. You also get all A/B testing built in, with analysis and optimisation tools. On top of this, HubSpot has really impressive multi-language functionality – if an IP or country is known or detected, you’ll get translated content shown instead of the default copy.
When it comes to building website pages, WordPress is great. The platform is a strong choice for static content and hosting site pages, service pages, and about pages. Development is an area where WordPress takes the lead, and one of the contributors to this is the sheer volume of WordPress developers that there are –compared to the scarcity of HubSpot developers.
More choice doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all of a good quality – the drawback of this huge melting pot from which you can choose your WordPress dev from, is that there’s a high dilution rate between the good guys, and the ones that are a little bit rubbish. So, choose wisely and try go for someone with reviews, or who comes recommended or highly regarded!
With HubSpot, the web page editor is consistent with the landing page editors, so you have the same great features, usability, and functionality. We love the smart content and A/B testing tools. You’ll still probably need a little dev time to perfect your templates, but once they’ve done the initial work, you’ll easily be able to create more pages from that polished template.
If you’ve got a tight budget to work to or want to make sure you know exactly how much your website is going to cost to build before you decide which platform to use – you’ll need to read a little further than past the initial figures. You may have already seen that WordPress is ‘free’ while the HubSpot CMS starts from $240/month.
But for WordPress, ‘free’ doesn’t include all of the tools and plugins you’ll need to implement a successful inbound marketing strategy. So, sure WordPress is initially cheaper – but how much can you expect to pay once you have all the tools you need in your digital marketing quiver?
There’s no particularly clear answer, unfortunately. We can make an estimate that by the time you’ve taken care of your hosting, plugin software, security and maintenance, and updates you can expect to pay between $117 and $433 per month. And if you don’t want your website address to end .wordpress.com, you’ll have at least one fee to pay even if you decide to do without all of the other tools you really should have.
With HubSpot you may be paying a monthly fee, but you’re paying for a full suite of products designed not only to help you create your website, but also to grow your business and support that growth. A lot of the products, integrations and ad-ons that are available through HubSpot have tiered pricing structures which means you can scale them as your business scales – and don’t have to pay for what you don’t need.
4. Hosting, Maintenance and Security
You shouldn’t need any reminders or reinforcement of the significance of security for your website. If you decide WordPress is your best option, it will be your responsibility to obtain your own hosting as well as deciding on your security options.
There will be things you need to do when setting up your website through WordPress. For example, purchasing an SSL.
One of the key differences between WordPress and HubSpot is that WordPress is an open-source system. What does this mean? Effectively that there will be more security risks, and you’ll be dependent on the developer of your theme to keep updated with the new changes that WordPress releases. If you end up using an outdated theme or plugin, your website will be more vulnerable to cyber threats.
However, if you are leaning towards WordPress over HubSpot, you shouldn’t let that put you off. There are several hosting platforms who cater for those needing high-security WordPress hosting. For example, WP Engine will regularly back-up your website and check it for any vulnerabilities that may exist from any plug-ins you might be using.
If you’re veering towards HubSpot, you don’t need to worry about outsourcing your hosting or security. HubSpot handles all of it for you - you even get access to a free SSL, but you’re welcome to purchase your own if you prefer.
5. Marketing Automation
HubSpot lives and breathes automation - the tools and processes available to you are easy to set up, manage and track. The workflow features are super user friendly and allow you to segment your audiences easily for targeted marketing. The HubSpot Academy also supports you to learn the ins and outs of automation so if you need, you can brush up on your skills and knowledge and really make the most of the features.
WordPress, on the other hand, has no native ability for automation. However, we’ve touched it on before, but there are a tonne of integrations available and many of these will provide you automation capabilities. It’s just sifting through all of your options to find the best platform for you – do your research before installing the first choice you come across!
6. Duplicability/ multiple domains
HubSpot has a strength over WordPress if you have a need for multiple domains. HubSpot allows you to setup as many subdomains and subsites as you would like. Once you have created your theme/template you can create to your heart’s content. HubSpot uses a concept known as brand domains and as long as your new site uses this then you can create more sites.
As an example, SpiderGroup would be our brand domain. You are able to create as many variants of our domain as you like as an example we could create:
- spidergroup.com (main global site)
- spidergroup.co.uk (UK specific site)
- spidergroup.es (Spain specific site)
- bristol.spidergroup.com (site for the Bristol team/office)
- Liverpool.spidergroup.com (site for the Liverpool team/office)
There are some pretty specific use cases for this, but it would allow you to create more localisation for your offices and teams and give them control over their part of your site.
In WordPress you can do this to some degree by using a multi-site configuration, but that adds development complexity or would require you to create, manage, and maintain multiple WordPress instances.
When it comes to your site SEO, it’s really important you have the right features to help you ensure your audience can find you when they’re searching for a solution you offer.
Having the best possible SEO features will make sure the right people are attracted to your content.
HubSpot is jammed full of many high-level SEO tools - after all, HubSpot prides itself as an inbound tool and inbound digital marketing is built on a strong foundation of keyword research, and on-page SEO optimisation.
The result of this is HubSpot’s built in tools evaluate and make small edits to each page as you write them. HubSpot can teach you SEO concepts as you go and there’s always the Academy so you can get all the detail, knowledge, and certifications to make you an SEO wizard yourself.
WordPress also has SEO support but, unlike with HubSpot, it’s not built in. Instead, you have the option to install either free or paid SEO plug-ins. This is the route most WordPress users opt for. There are, however, some drawbacks associated with using plug-ins. There is more room for potential confusion, security holes, and complexity, as well as hidden costs you may not have originally anticipated.
WordPress plug-ins aren’t vetted in the same manner that HubSpot integrations are, and a lot of them are side projects of developers and may not always be kept up to date – you may run into issues with problematic software management and general maintenance. So be picky when choosing your plug-ins!
If your website is going to be heavily orientated towards ecommerce or exist solely as an ecommerce platform – you may be better off with WordPress over HubSpot. HubSpot has no feature that’s dedicated to ecommerce, and many see that as its greatest downfall. If you are using HubSpot for your ecommerce marketing - read our blog for our tips.
Sure, there are many integrations you can use with HubSpot that help you to automate the process of passing information from your ecommerce website to your CRM – but the platform itself is ill-equipped to host an online store. If you’re a HubSpot user who needs an online store or ecommerce platform, you’ll most likely have to rely on a third-party platform such as Shopify for your product pages.
Whereas WordPress is comparatively far better equipped for both building and handling an ecommerce site, especially when there is a requirement for true server-side coding. With WordPress, the ability you have to use custom themes and plug-ins will enable you, as a store owner, to fully customise the set-up of your ecommerce pages to manage and display them in the best way possible for your needs.
As you can see, whether WordPress or HubSpot is going to be more appropriate for you is completely dependent on your needs. If you’re looking at building out your website and will want to be adding lots of web pages and landing pages – we’d be more likely to turn to HubSpot.
HubSpot is a really great choice to implement and complement your inbound strategy, for help with some of the applications that HubSpot integrates with, check out our article.
But if you’re heavily focused on ecommerce, WordPress could be the better route for you.
If you need any help on working out which platform is best for your business, we’d be more than happy to talk you through your options!