WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right for you or your website. While WordPress is a popular open-source CMS that gives users a platform to build custom solutions on, CMS Hub takes the pain out of managing your site so that you can focus on campaigns and content that will grow your business. In today’s article, I’ll compare and contrast the HubSpot CMS Hub versus WordPress.
HubSpot CMS Hub
“CMS Hub is a cloud-based content management system (CMS). With CMS Hub, both marketers and developers alike have the tools they need to create amazing websites focused on customer experience. Users can easily create content, optimize their site for conversions, and gain insight into performance, all in one place.” – HubSpot
“WordPress is an open-source software package that must be installed or configured on your servers or using a third-party hosting provider. Its interface includes basics like content creation tools but requires plugins for additional functionality like sitemaps, SEO, analytics, and more.” – WordPress
HubSpot CMS Functionality vs. WordPress Functionality
Now that we’ve established a baseline definition of what both HubSpot CMS and WordPress are, let’s lay out the core functionalities and features we’ll be using to compare and contrast these two powerful CMS tools:
- Content Creation
- Website Creation
- Advanced Website Testing
CMS literally stands for Content Management System, so we’ll start here!
Creating high-value content on your website is one of the best ways to attract new visitors to your site while engaging your current email list.
Clean and user-friendly is the name of the game when it comes to HubSpot’s user interface. HubSpot’s blogging tools have a wide range of integrated features that will allow you to design and optimize your blog post as simply and quickly as you write. You’ll have all of your bases covered like WordPress, but you’ll gain access to other high-value features out of the box like:
- Social Media Sharing (requires Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise)
- Mobile optimization
- SEO tools
- Content calendar
- Content collaboration
- AMP support
- Call to action (CTA) creator
- Blog Email Newsletters
WordPress was initially built as blogging software, so, you guessed it, it’s pretty good for blogging! This is still the strongest element of WordPress. Blogging is painless and quick.
However, if you’re looking for functionality beyond a plain text blog, you’ll need to buy a theme, add in separate software plugins, and more. For example, if you want forms embedded in your content, you’ll have to download a plugin.
It’s highly advisable to use a developer to make layout changes or edits beyond what exists in the WordPress theme you bought.
Both HubSpot and WordPress differentiate between the functions of “pages” and “posts,” but HubSpot comes packed with tools designed for high-conversion landing pages. Each of HubSpot’s templates are responsive, mobile-friendly, and come with a handy drag-n-drop editor for marketers like myself who don’t want to get into the code. Better yet, you can create forms to capture lead information (that will auto-populate with information you already know about that particular contact from your CRM!), utilize HubSpot’s internal SEO tool to optimize content for search, and A/B test (or even multivariate test if you’re on Enterprise) the page itself!
WordPress can accomplish everything I just outlined above about HubSpot landing pages, as it comes with a wide range of custom themes and software plugins to choose from. Still, pricey subscriptions and a host of plugins are required to get to a place where you’re replicating HubSpot’s out-of-the-box landing page functionality. To make matters worse, not all of these plugins will play nice with each other in most cases.
Your CMS should allow you to create a great-looking and highly functional site while also enabling you to keep it updated seamlessly, let multiple departments work on it, and convert your visitors into customers.
We’ll start with WordPress first. After all, they do power more than 30% of websites on the internet! WordPress is first and foremost and open-source CMS software. What you pay for is what you get. And out of the box, WordPress will allow you to easily create text-based content. Beyond that, you’ll likely require technical resources.
That being said, WordPress is customizable to a fault. As your business grows, you’ll most likely need to add unique features to your site. With how popular WordPress is, you’ll have no issues finding a WordPress developer to help you enhance the functionality of your site,
Like with most HubSpot tools, simplicity and user-friendliness are at the forefront. The drag and drop interface allows marketers to easily create and design new pages for their needs, creating a custom experience on each page if desired.
One of the best parts about HubSpot’s website creation is its drag-n-drop modules. HubSpot CMS comes with 50+ prebuilt modules you can use to extend your pages, but there are also thousands of modules on their marketplace you can choose from (both free and paid). Beyond that, if you hire a developer to create custom modules, they will be reusable throughout your website on landing pages, website pages, and more!
To make matters a bit complicated, HubSpot uses its own proprietary coding language, called HubL. While we’re very comfortable with HubL at electrIQ (heck, our own site is even on it), not every developer will be. Since WordPress uses a standard coding language, it may be easier to find a developer who can help you extend your site.
The biggest differentiator between HubSpot and WordPress is the ability to seamlessly integrate your CRM into your website, making things such as “dynamic” or “smart” content (where a button, form, module, or entire webpage changes dynamically based on the data you have on a contact in your CRM) possible. Even better, if a contact isn’t in your CRM yet, you can still utilize smart content with rules based on IP location, referral source, and more.
Website Creation Winner: Tie
If design is your utmost top priority, and you can afford developer(s), WordPress is your best option. The customization possibilities are quite literally endless. However, HubSpot’s out-of-the-box website capabilities far surpass that of WordPress, and with HubSpot CMS Enterprise, HubSpot is able to scale to the needs of Enterprise businesses.
HubSpot’s integrated CRM setup allows for smart content and seamless marketing to sales handoff, making it the winner in our book, but we can see the use cases for WordPress as well.
Not to continue beating our head against a wall here, but again, HubSpot offers robust SEO tools on its CMS hub out of the box. This includes things like scanning your site pages and offering suggestions on how to improve rankings for each page, as well as pillar content development that allows you to create keyword maps and hierarchies.
WordPress offers a host of SEO plugins, but again, to get access to any of the more advanced plans or premium plugins, you’ll be looking at additional costs.
SEO Winner: HubSpot
If you want to get super granular with your SEO work, you’re going to need a 3rd party tool outside of HubSpot or the standard WordPress plugins. However, for the vast majority of businesses, HubSpot’s out of the box SEO tools will more than suffice. As an agency with a department completely focused on SEO, we use SEMrush to extend our functionality and research further.
Having the ability to measure your entire funnel is essential to making a data-driven decision. Visibility into each section of your flywheel will allow you to focus on doing more of what matters, less of what doesn’t, and to maximize your ROI.
HubSpot offers robust analytics tools on its CMS hub out of the box. One of the most powerful attributes of HubSpot CMS is the ability to take your website analytics and unlock deeper insights and more actionable data within your CRM (For example, creating a list of contacts who have visited specific pages on your site, downloaded content offers, or interacted with you via live chat).
The best part about WordPress analytics is that you can use the HubSpot for WordPress plug-in!
Analytics Winner: HubSpot
Advanced Website Testing
The larger your business grows, the more visitors your site will start receiving, which means more data and more opportunities to test, refine, and grow your site at scale.
A/B testing comes out of the box, and multivariate testing is available for HubSpot CMS Enterprise users.
WordPress doesn’t include any native testing functionality. You can purchase a plugin or an additional service, like HotJar, and integrate it into your website, but it leaves you with yet another tool and a system that isn’t truly built for active and constant iteration in the CMS.
Advanced Website Testing Winner: HubSpot
We’ll keep this one short. WordPress has plugins, but it’s important to note translating content is just step one towards having a multi-language site. To get any SEO benefit, you’ll need to ensure alternate tags are setup so international searchers on language-specific sites will be served the appropriate language version of your page.
CMS Hub comes out of the box with automatic insertion and management of SEO tags, such as HREFLANG, all managed for you within HubSpot.
Multilingual Website Winner: HubSpot
While I don’t think HubSpot’s live chat support is 24/7, it sure feels that way. Nearly anytime I have a question about any of HubSpot’s tools, whether it be the CMS, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, or Service Hub, there’s a specialist on the other end ready to help at a moment’s notice (or in a worst-case scenario connect me with another specialist or open a ticket).
WordPress doesn’t offer support, but it may come with 12 months of support if you buy a theme.
Website Support Winner: HubSpot
Out of the box, the HubSpot CMS is more expensive. HubSpot CMS Pro costs $300/month, while the Enterprise CMS will set you back $900/month. That being said, out of the box, you get access to the following features, which are either not possible on WordPress or come with additional cost:
- Smart Content
- Native AMP support
- Intuitive drag-and-drop page creation
- Native SEO optimization
- Native A/B testing functionality
- Hosting, CDN, SSL, 24/7 threat monitoring, web application firewall
- Multi-language content management and support
- Dynamic content with HubDB: build data tables that display on your website or landing pages
- The ability to use website data to inform marketing activities like your next automated email send
- Enhanced visibility into your marketing to sales handoff
If your business is ready to take the next step to HubSpot CMS Enterprise, these are the additional features you’d unlock:
- Custom Objects
- User roles
- Adaptive Testing: Test up to five-page variations at a time
- Membership login functionality (restrict access to portions of the site with username and login)
- Site code alerts for speed optimization
- Partition content permissions
- Activity logging
- Serverless functions: Add interactive elements to HubSpot-hosted content, like event registrations, guest books, and dynamic calculators, without the need to configure an external server, SSL certificate, and data transfer process.
- Ability to build powerful web app experiences
WordPress is free! That being said, there are a lot of hidden costs to the WordPress platform. For one, you’ll have to pay for hosting, a domain name, the theme you choose to buy, and more.
If you’re looking to emulate the functionality you get with HubSpot as closely as possible; this is a sample of the recommended plugins you’ll have to get:
- Live Chat
- A/B or multivariate testing functionality
- Hosting, CDN, SSL
- And more
Website Cost Winner: Tie
Out of the box, HubSpot CMS is much more expensive. It really depends on what stage of growth your business is at. If you’re just looking for a one-page lander with limited functionality to be used as a point of reference and information for visitors, then WordPress is definitely the right choice. If you’re a business that has a marketing and sales team, and you’re looking to streamline the marketing to sales handoff, HubSpot CMS is the best solution for you and will cut down on your setup time as well as your maintenance time significantly. If you’re an enterprise-level business that wants complete freedom and customization to do literally whatever you want, WordPress is the best solution for you.
HubSpot CMS vs. WordPress CMS: Conclusion
All in, it’s hard for WordPress to beat the benefits you get with the HubSpot CRM being so deeply integrated into the CMS.
Smart Content is far and away the most beneficial aspect to having your website on HubSpot CMS. The ability to dynamically change website content, including call-to-actions, content blocks, and even complete pages, based on a visitor’s device type, referral source, preferred language, and ANY data you have on an existing contact in your CRM is an incredibly powerful tool to convert visitors into customers. You can develop an entirely different website experience for a first-time visitor versus a middle-of-the-funnel lead, and so on.
While both are great platforms and companies, if you had to make me choose one, I’m going with the HubSpot CMS for its ease of use, out-of-the-box functionality, and deep integration with your HubSpot CRM.