Insights, Web Development

HubSpot CMS vs WordPress

Detailed Comparison Review [December 2022]

Let’s take a closer look at two of the most popular CMS platforms on the market: HubSpot’s CMS Hub and WordPress. Both platforms have the tools and flexibility to build a custom professional fully-functional SEO-friendly website with powerful analytics, so choosing the best one for your business might be a hard task. This is why we decided to make a detailed HubSpot CMS vs WordPress review, to help you decide which CMS is the right for you in 2023. We’ll compare the two solutions based on key similarities and differences; SEO features; CMS tools; unique features for each platform; extensions and integrations; eCommerce functionality; ease of use; pricing; and pros and cons.

 

Disclaimers:
📝 WordPress has two available versions: hosted WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org. For this article, when we talk about WordPress, we refer to the self-hosted WordPress.org.
📝 HubSpot is a system of services with tools and integrations for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. Each product in the platform is powerful alone. For this review, we will focus on the HubSpot CMS product: CMS Hub.

 

1. Overview

When we talk about Hub Spot and WordPress more in-depth, let’s first go through some quick introductions, statistics, and similarities.

CMS Hub is a cloud-based CMS with the power of CRM

CMS Hub is a SaaS product that combines website creation with customer relation management (CRM) making it a full-service solution for cross-team alignment. The HubSpot CMS is specially designed for marketing purposes to aid content creators, marketers, and eCommerce businesses. Its specialty is to help businesses track all their communications, and leads,  report traffic data, and analytics, and boost sales. This way businesses can focus on building content instead.

Highlights:
  • HubSpot CMS is a SaaS application that combines CMS and CRM to provide the necessary tools for website building, marketing, sales, and reports.
  • It’s an AIO online marketing solution, that aims to help users create websites, a great user experience, optimized content, and gain insight.
  • CRM serves to replace databases, spreadsheets, and other apps meant to manage client data by consolidating all communications, documents, purchases, quotes, and tasks associated with each client.
  • Works seamlessly with HubSpot email, marketing, analytics, and SEO services.
  • At its core, the platform is a marketing service.
  • CMS Hub is one piece of HubSpot’s complete CRM platform.
  • HubSpot uses HubL templating language
Visit CMS Hub

WordPress is an open-source CMS platform

WordPress is the most powerful and popular CMS with a reliable user experience. It offers an infinite number of plugins, features, and templates, which makes it ideal for every type of web project from portfolios and blogs, to business and eCommerce websites. It fits everyone’s budget so if you don’t need a lot of traffic for your website, it could save you money.

Highlights:
  • WordPress is open-source full-service CMS.
  • The platform is extremely flexible in terms of customization, and suitable for every web project.
  • It caters to users of all technical backgrounds and for all budgets.
Visit WordPress

Main Similarities Between CMS Hub and WordPress

Both HubSpot and WordPress are very powerful platforms that allow you to build and manage websites.

  • Data access: Users can access and export your data to make backups or transfer your website. ✔️
  • Analytics: Both platforms offer easily accessible analytics and the option to add other analytics services. ✔️
  • Advanced SEO services ✔️
  • Blogging: Both platforms are ideal for blogging ✔️
  • Extensions: The platforms offer extensions in the form of modules and plugins. ✔️
  • Themes: You can start building your website with pre-made templates or create one from scratch. ✔️

 

2. Main Differences Between HubSpot CMS and WordPress?

For starters, HubSpot is a dedicated inbound marketing platform, while WordPress is a platform for building websites. The differences start from there.

2.1. Hosting and Maintenance

Choosing your own hosting and taking care of the maintenance, updates, and security yourself has its own benefits if you have experience. On the other hand, you might prefer to take the more convenient route and never need to worry about potential issues with the servers, hosting support, etc. Whatever the case, this is one of the major differences between HubSpot and WordPress when it comes to choosing a platform.

No server setup and maintenance for HubSpot

One of the perks that come along with HubSpot is that everything is up and running, while the platform handles hosting, database, server setup, CMS updates, etc. Users don’t need to set anything up, instead, they can focus on creating websites.

In addition, HubSpot has a globally distributed content delivery network (CDN, in order to ensure fast loading times for visitors, based on location. The entire infrastructure of HubSpot products is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the United States East region or AWS in the Germany region.

WordPress is a self-hosted open-source platform

WordPress.org is a self-hosted solution. You will need to take care of hosting, maintaining, and installing updates. On the other hand, this gives you the freedom to choose any hosting service you like and make your WordPress website unhackable. Of course, this means you can choose faster servers and reap the SEO benefits of fast page load times.

2.2. Different CMS Types

Would you use a traditional CMS like WordPress or should you go for a CMS hub for your digital marketing? The latter is a more specialized option of the Content Optimization System (COS).

HubSpot CMS is specially designed for marketing purposes

The platform is specially designed with a marketing angle in mind. It’s an ideal choice for marketers, content creatives, and eCommerce businesses that aim at huge traffic and need more management. Being a COS, it focuses on optimizing content to deliver a fully personalized web experience to customers.

WordPress is a traditional CMS

WordPress is the most powerful and popular CMS with a reliable user experience. It offers an infinite number of plugins, features, and themes. It fits everyone’s budget so if you don’t need a lot of traffic for your website, it could save you money.

2.3. Coding Languages

Developers who prefer to take advantage of the customization by coding by hand, instead of using the editor, need to consider this.

HubSpot uses HubL Templating Language

The platform uses a language developed by HubSpot, HubL, which is an extension of the templating engine Jinjava. The latter is based on Jinja, which is one of the most used templating engines for Python.

As a result, the code looks very organized and easy to read even for non-developers.

So, if you want to write some code, you will have to get familiar with a new coding language. Fortunately, the learning curve is relatively short and quick to get used to. In fact, people with less technical skills can make some small modifications on their own.

On the downside,  HubL doesn’t offer the same customization level as PHP, for example.

WordPress uses universal technical languages

The four primary languages in WordPress are HTML, CSS, JS (optional), and PHP.

3.  SEO Features

As usual, we’ll start with Search Engine Optimization as this is usually a definitive factor for most users who need to decide between platforms. Your online visibility is tightly related to the success of your business, so you want to make sure you provide high site speed and present your content the best way in the SERPs.

🔎 HubSpot for SEO

Asking if HubSpot is good for SEO is like asking if Shopify is good for eCommerce. CMS Hub was built to meet and always keep up to date with Google’s latest search optimization requirements and trends. The platform adapts to changes every time Google updates its algorithm, so you won’t need to hire a consultant for advice.

CMS Hub comes with powerful built-in SEO tools integrated with all content tools.  Aside from the basics such as measuring meta description length, keyword consistency, adding featured images, and all the other essentials, there’s also the really good stuff:

Powerful recommendation tool

The platform gives you an SEO recommendation tool that helps you with suggestions on how to optimize your website for SEO. These recommendations appear ranked in priority order, showing you which optimizations have the biggest impact on your performance. You know exactly which pages to update and what actions to take.

Content strategy tool

This SEO coaching tool gives you topic suggestions based on relevance, competition, and popularity. It also gives you access to monthly search data with an estimate of how ranking for specific topics can translate to organic traffic.

In addition, you can also use the content strategy tool to create clusters of web pages and blog content based on each of your main topics.

Performance reports

The integrated SEO tools give you detailed reports on what topics people are searching for and where your content ranks. HubSpot has native integration with Google Search Console and gets data straight from Google, such as total impressions, average position, clickthrough rate, etc.

Code alerts

Code Alerts is a feature that lets you know of any syntax errors in your code files. It gives you the asset type (where the issue appears), the type of issue, and a description. Fixing these identified issues can help you optimize your website performance as a whole.

Speed

HubSpot CMS is first in the rankings in terms of speed, in comparison to other CMS platforms including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. needless to say, this improves your SEO scores and therefore, is beneficial to your traffic.

🔎 WordPress for SEO

WordPress doesn’t come with built-in SEO tools, however, it’s considered one of the best content management systems for SEO thanks to a number of powerful SEO plugins such as YoastSEO.

Automatic Alerts to Google

WordPress automatically alerts Google when you update your website, a certain post, or a page. This way Google treats your updated pages as recent and moves them up the ranks.

Fast Load Times

WordPress sites are naturally fast and you can go even further to make them extra fast with plugins for website speed optimization.  Such a plugin, for example, is WP Super Cache.

Familiar Structure

WordPress websites have a simple framework and link structure that search engines are familiar with, so Google can easily find, index, and rank them accordingly.

SEO-Ready Themes

WordPress has themes specifically made for SEO that you can combine with SEO plugins for the best results.

Optimization Controls

You can customize each page for SEO with unique tags, custom URLs, and meta descriptions, as well as add custom excerpts or plugins for further optimization.

 

4.  CMS Tools

The very purpose of the CMS is to enable non-developers to build websites and generate and publish their content. Now let’s see what these two platforms got to offer in terms of creation, managing, and modifying content.

🖥️ CMS Hub Tools

CMS Hub, similar to WordPress, gives you thousands of themes to choose from and customize, as well as the option to build your website from scratch. You can easily build and modify pages, and add sections and modules, all with drag-and-drop layouts. Since HubSpot is an entire system with a single unified database, if you use other HubSpot products, you will have all the data you need to create the customer experience.

Smart Content

CMS Hub delivers targeted content to specific groups of people in your audience. Its configuration is based on the customer’s journey in each stage as well as on your contact list. You can also put specific custom messages for new visitors or repeat customers based on needs.

Customization

The platform is beginner- friendly and you don’t need to be an experienced web designer to create stunning websites. HubSpot has a custom template builder with drag-and-drop functionality that gives you the complete freedom to customize your templates and layouts as you see fit. In addition, the style manager lets you make changes to the font, styles, and color, so you won’t need any CSS knowledge.

What bases the default styles in the theme are fonts, colors, spacing, and styles you can set within the global theme settings. With that being said, you can also add, remove, or rearrange theme modules in any template from that theme. These theme modules support smart content and personalization.

Of course, if you have coding experience, you can get creative and tweak the layouts further.

Synced Staging Environment

The content staging tool allows you to redesign and replace existing pages and create new ones and everything will be hosted on your-domain.sandbox.hs-sites.com . Basically, you can work on a staging environment, so the live site can continue to operate. This means you can preview what will your website look like before releasing it, as the staging environment is nearly identical to the live site.

Since it’s on the same servers and uses the real content from the live site, there’ll be no unexpected surprises.

Building Blocks

When it comes to website structure, CMS Hub gives you a series of building blocks each with a different level of flexibility and serving a specific purpose. For example, your theme is a top-level block, followed by templates, modules, fields, global content, forms, settings, and menus.

You can use these blocks to create your own design system.

🖥️ WordPress CMS Tools

 

Dashboard

You don’t need any coding skills to build a website in WordPress unless you want to create a fully customized professional website with a specific brand identity. WordPress offers you an intuitive and straightforward dashboard to work with.

Two Editors

WordPress has two editors, both equally intuitive and easy to work with. Depending on what you’re building you can choose between the old classic editor and the Gutenberg block editor.

The old editor for creating content in WordPress for text formatting is very similar to Microsoft Word and it’s best for blogging. In order to use the classic editor, you need to disable Gutenberg.

Gutenberg, on the other hand, brings an entirely different experience compared to the old editor. It uses blocks as content elements that you can drag-and-drop them onto your screen and create layouts. Such block elements are paragraphs, images, videos, galleries, embeds, audio, columns, lists, spacing, etc. This editor option is better for building pages.

Manage Unlimited Pages Directly from your Dashboard

You can add an unlimited number of pages to your website.

Collaboration Tools

WordPress is also good for cooperation as you can add users and assign roles and permissions for each: admin, editor, author, contributor, and subscriber.

 

5. Unique Features

Each of the two platforms offers features that are not only unique to it but also the selling point. We’ll discuss them in this section.

🦄 What is unique about CMS Hub?

The platform offers a lot of unique tools for automation, however, we’ll focus on the best ones:

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a feature that allows you to test two versions of a page with the same URL, so you can receive data on which one performs better with your visitors.

Here’s how it works: when people visit the page’s URL, half of this audience will see the first version of the page, while the other half will see the second variation. You will receive data on which version performs better based on engagement, conversion rate, click rate and etc.

SEO Assistant

The platform scans all your pages and suggests multiple ways to improve the rankings of each page. This assistance comes in the form of integrated tips and, the best part, it actually helps you complete the right fields while building your page.

Customer Service Integration

It helps you connect with your customers, gather feedback by measuring experience, and helps you keep track of your customers’ requests, so you could organize your priorities. 

Analytics

CMS Hub already has a built-in Google analytics tool that measures how well your pages are doing by giving you the relevant data: search engine ranking, channel traffic, session time, campaign success, and more. 

Ad Management

The ad management is enabled across multiple networks right from the builder and lets you connect your ad accounts. This way you can create and target custom audiences.

Powerful Search API

The built-in search functionality allows your visitors to find relevant content easily, which means a better user experience. Thanks to HubSpot’s search API support for numerous filtering options, you can customize the search experience of your website, which saves you time searching and setting up a third-party tool.

🦄 What is unique about WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular platform for website creation thanks to the absolute control and the capability to build anything and add any functionality you can think of.

  • Plugins for everything: Customization options, management options, analytics, SEO, eCommerce functionalities, integrations, you name it.
  • Customizable design: You have full control over what your website will look like if you know how to code.
  • SEO: WordPress is your best option in terms of SEO. You can create your custom attractive and informative permalinks,  manage your metadata; optimize images for SEO; page speed; optimization for mobile; Social Media integration; etc.  You can also use specific SEO-friendly themes and install some powerful SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO, Google XML Site Maps, and Google Analytics by Monster Insights.
  • Powerful CMS and Media management.
  • Support: WordPress has a huge community, including thousands of tutorials, articles, guides, and forums. Thanks to the platform’s popularity, it’s very easy to find WordPress experts.

 

6. Extensions and Integrations

In this section, we’ll compare the two platforms based on their themes, extensions, and integrations.

➕ HubSpot Extensions and Integrations

The platform has an entire marketplace with free and premium themes, integrations, apps, and solutions to expand the functionality of your website.

Themes

The marketplace offers collections of official themes that contain all the page templates, features, and settings you need to build and customize an entire website.

Keep in mind that a huge part of these templates is for landing pages, blogs, emails, and single web pages as well as template packs and toolkits with modules for building websites.

Apps

The marketplace also offers over 650 apps and integration options for connecting HubSpot with your favorite services. The huge collection has apps for marketing, sales, customer service, productivity finance, data sync, social media, integrations for eCommerce platforms, etc. In addition, an Open API also allows developers to build custom integrations.

➕ WordPress Extensions and Integrations

Themes

WordPress offers more than 4.2K free and 10K premium themes for any kind of website you can think of.

Plugins

Currently, WordPress has over 59K official plugins available for free, as well as thousands of premium ones. You can expand your capabilities to manage your websites or add more functionalities. There are popular WordPress plugins for SEO, security, eCommerce, forms, social media integration, and more.

Integrations

If you want a certain integration, there’s a plugin for it. These integrations allow you to connect to specific services of your choice and access them from your WordPress dashboard.

 

7. eCommerce Functionality

HubSpot and WordPress are not eCommerce platforms, to begin with, however, they both offer powerful eCommerce solutions in one form or another.

🛒 HubSpot for eCommerce

CMS Hub alone doesn’t offer any eCommerce tools you can use to build your own functional eCommerce store, at least for the time being. However, if you already have an online store built with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or other powerful eCommerce solutions, you can link HubSpot with it and take your marketing to the next level.

ECommerce implementations with HubSpot typically require integration. Currently, HubSpot offers the following options:

  • HubSpot for Shopify: The HubSpot-built integration for Shopify.
  • WooCommerce Integration: Several tools for integrating your WooCommerce store with HubSpot.
  • Ecomm Bridge: A set of APIs built specifically for eCommerce to give technical teams an official and streamlined way to connect any store to HubSpot.
  • Groove: This integration automatically syncs customer and order data from Shopify or Bigcommerce into your HubSpot account.
  • EYEMAGINE: Magento HubSpot integration
  • Shopify Sync by Unific
Visit HubSpot eCommerce Inbound Marketing

🛒 WordPress for eCommerce

You can add eCommerce functionality to your website, you guessed it, by using a plugin. There are several good eCommerce solutions for WordPress, however, WooCommerce remains the most popular choice. It works as a third-party integration within WordPress and enables you to use all your already existing plugins and the WP command-line interface. Although the extension comes completely for free, it lacks some of the essential eCommerce tools you might need. In order to add them, you’ll need to install more plugins.

In case you start from scratch without an existing WordPress website, there are a few things you’ll need to do prior to setting up your store:

  • Acquire hosting services
  • Install and configure WordPress CMS
  • Build the design of your pages and add the features you need.
  • Install and configure WooCommerce.
Visit WooCommerce

 

8. Ease of Use

The learning curve is an important factor, so let’s have a look.

📓 Getting Started with HubSpot CMS

Since the platform is created especially for marketers, it offers a fairly easy learning curve. Non-developers get things done easily without even touching the back-end. The drag-and-drop editor is also pretty intuitive with a variety of features, where all settings for the page are stored in one place. In terms of the SEO and analytics tools, they tend to be completely logically built.

However, if you’re a developer and prefer to take advantage of the customization by coding by hand, keep in mind that the platform uses HubL so you will need to get familiar with a new coding language.

Another great thing for developers is that HubSpot offers a great knowledge base and resources, both extremely well organized. You can check the HubSpot CMS Developer Documentation and the CMS API Documentation.

In addition, HubSpot’s academy provides a set of courses and lessons for developers to constantly up their game.

📓 Getting Started with WordPress

WordPress is very versatile and suitable for users from any technical background. Beginners with no technical background can easily build a website by themselves, while developers can access the site’s front- and back-end and do their magic.

  • Hosting: You need web hosting to install the WordPress software. The good news is, that most hosting services offer tools for installing and configuring WordPress with a few clicks.
  • Choose a theme to start with: You can change it anytime in the future without losing content. To make things easier, simply install a drag-and-drop visual editor plugin.

 

9. Pricing

When it comes to pricing, the two things we need to consider are initial pricing and additional expenses. On one hand, CMS Hub comes with paid plans that offer the essentials already built-in, alongside hosting, maintenance, security, SSL certificate, analysis, etc. On the other, WordPress is a free open-source platform that needs hosting and relies on plugins, some of which are premium. Depending on what you’re building, here’s what to consider:

🏷️ CMS Hub Pricing

As a SaaS solution, CMS Hub requires a monthly payment that you can also pay on annual basis. All plans include CMS Hub content tools, premium hosting, security features, maintenance, custom domain security, live chat support, marketing, and SEO features, storage for up to 15 million overall contacts, and 1:1 technical support.

Starter Plan $23 per month:
  • Security: Premium hosting; content delivery network (CDN); SSL certificate, web application firewall; custom domain security settings.
  • Content tools: Website themes; drag-and-drop editor; local website development; app and asset market.
  • Leverage: All free tools; live chat, forms, reporting dashboard
Professional $360 per month (all Starter features plus the following):
  • Personalization tools: Smart content and reporting; dynamic personalization; password-protected pages.
  • Optimization: Contact create attribution; A/B testing; custom reporting
  • Content strategy tools: SEO recommendations and optimizations; content strategy; Google Search Console integration; content staging
Enterprise $1 200 per month (all Professional features plus the following):
  • Digital experiences: Custom objects; memberships; web apps; adaptive testing
  • Collaboration tools: Content partitioning; hierarchical teams; activity logging; site performance monitoring; code alerts; single sign-on
  • Other: Additional root domains; multi-domain traffic reporting

These are just the CMS Hub plans, however, if you have look at HubSpot’s pricing page, you will find even better plans such as the Starter CRM Suite ($27 per month) which includes free tools plus all starter plans across the HubSpot system (Marketing Hub Starter, CMS Hub Starter; Sales Hub Starter; Service Hub Starter; and Operations Hub Starter).

In addition, you can create custom plans by choosing a plan and adding features from other plans that you need. The website will calculate the price so you’ll know in advance exactly what you’re signing up for.

🏷️ WordPress Pricing

WordPress is initially free and all you need to do is pay for hosting. This makes it the more affordable option, compared to HubSpot, since, you can in fact have a fully functional website or web store just on free features and free extensions. However, if you want a truly modern professional website, keep you will certainly need a premium theme and some premium features.

With that being said, when you build a WordPress website for your business, always consider the possibility of additional expenses.

 

10. Strengths and Weaknesses

To sum up, let’s have a final comparison based on the pros and cons we already discussed during this review.

👍 CMS Hub Advantages:
  • Smart content targeting specific groups of people amongst your audience.
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • CMS Hub is the first in the rankings in terms of speed
  • SEO Coaching
  • Powerful analytics
  • User-friendly
  • Built for marketers
👎 CMS Hub Disadvantages:
  • The platform uses HubL, meaning developers need to learn a new templating language.
  • HubSpot uses Google search instead of a built-in search function.
  • The platform utilizes its own database which means you can’t pull information from a database into your website
  • Not open-source
  • No FTP access
👍 WordPress Advantages:
  • Free to use.
  • Full control over the code.
  • Thousands of plugins to expand the functionality of your website.
  • Thousands of integrations available for WordPress
  • Huge variety of content management options.
👎 WordPress Disadvantages:
  • Complete customization requires coding skills/ or hiring a developer
  • You need to source the hosting, security and domain name yourself, as well as take care of the maintenance.
  • No direct customer support ( but you can always rely on the community).
  • Using too many WordPress plugins can lead to many conflicts, site speed issues, and high maintenance costs.

 

Still can’t decide?

Already have a project in mind but can’t decide which platform is the best fit?



We’d love to start a conversation with you and discuss your vision. Let’s see if we’ll be a good match.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, both HubSpot and WordPress are impressive and powerful solutions for your online business offering enough flexibility and options to build any website you need and make it visible online.

HubSpot was specially designed with a marketing angle in mind. It’s an ideal choice for capturing leads, websites aimed at huge traffic, and detailed reporting, thanks to its powerful built-in marketing tools for SEO, analytics, and A/B testing.

WordPress, on the other hand, is the best choice for building unconventional websites. The platform offers unrivaled flexibility, a level of control, and limitless customization and functionality options in the form of plugins. With that being said, however, relying on so many extensions can become an issue in the long run, when it comes to keeping your code clean, so getting some help from a developer may become necessary in the future.

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