You’re a smart entrepreneur; you know that your online marketing strategy can help you grow your business-- if you use the right platform, that is. You want your marketing tasks to be easier, you want your website platform to meet your current needs, and allow for growth so that your website can scale alongside your company.
And, like me, you want your website to be ideal for all of your inbound strategies.
There are two platforms that really meet this description: HubSpot and WordPress. Choosing the right platform then is just a matter of comparing the two. So how do you decide? Here’s my ultimate, all-in-one comparison guide.
Content Creation & Blogging
Here’s where you’ll notice the first major difference between HubSpot and WordPress: In creating your content and building your blog. In my opinion, knowing how you create content in HubSpot is the deciding factor; people either love it or hate it.
Here’s how things happen in HubSpot: HubSpot has a unique "real time" preview module right on the content creation screen. As you type, add images, change fonts and align things, you actually see exactly how the post will look like to the actual visitor in real time. Some people love this feature-- it helps them visualize how their work will appear on the actual website. Others find it distracting.
Here’s what I’ve found to be true about HubSpot:
- The Pros: See changes as they happen for complete control of how a website looks. Examine each page in real time without having to preview or publish the page elsewhere.
- The Cons: Unless you have a great connection with minimal lag, the real-time preview will actually slow you down. Do you really need to know exactly how the post looks live every time you type a new letter? It's a cool bonus if you can, but if it means waiting around, it will just annoy you.
With WordPress, you add different blocks of content to each page, the way you add plates to a printing press. Some of these “plates” take up physical space on the page (like photos, headers, and blocks of copy), and others, like sound files, are more like layers that exist in the background. But each one is a building block, added to the page, and then you see the final result once you’ve created the page. You add each element to your page the same way publishers used to add articles, titles, and photos to a newspaper press.
How do you decide which platform is better for creating your pages? I think the best way is to test them both. WordPress is free to use. And HubSpot allows you to sign up for a free 30-day trial and see for yourself how you feel about the real-time module. Take both platforms for a test drive and see which fits your needs the best.
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You truly can’t beat the simplicity of a HubSpot landing page. It’s so easy to create and implement a landing page in HubSpot because landing pages are at the core of what HubSpot does best: inbound marketing and inbound CMS (content management system).
And with HubSpot you can create smart landing pages, based on which stage of the sales funnel your visitor is currently in. HubSpot really excels at these smart landing pages. There’s all kinds of content available to use smart content to personalize these landing pages.
Yes, you can do this same thing in WordPress and achieve similar results, but it’s way more challenging to do so. But if you’re on a budget, you can still create these landing pages, it just requires more moxie. Landing pages in WordPress means coding, plugins, and a lot of time and effort to accomplish the same thing HubSpot can do in a flash.
If you have a little more flexibility in your budget, HubSpot is really the way to go in terms of creating the best landing pages-- ones that work “right out of the box.”
Designing your blog using HubSpot is easy-- if you happen to like the templates that are included with the service. The templates are responsive and all work with every device (a feature that cannot be undersold), and are coded to support every advanced HubSpot feature. Not a fan of the available templates? You can create your own professional, unique look to suit your brand, but you’ll have to build a custom-coded template.
With WordPress, things are a little different. There are a lot more free templates available for WordPress. However, none of them come with a guarantee of working right. Some pages may be incompatible with external plugins and features that you need to use for marketing.
These WordPress themes may clash with a landing-page plugin, or cause an issue with how your sign-up forms appear on a mobile phone or tablet-- or one of a hundred other incompatibilities. And if you want to install a HubSpot plugin? Some of them may not play nicely with the template you’ve chosen.
Also, some of these plugins may not be fully optimized or secure. This can slow down your page’s loading time (and loading time is vital in keeping visitors on your page). It can also make your blog a desirable target for hackers.
You’re just as likely to encounter these issues when you use the premium, paid WordPress themes. Yes, they look impressive in demos, but none of them come with a guarantee that they will play nicely with the marketing plugins you want to use.
One upside to using WordPress though? You can get a quality custom WordPress theme that fits your brand and integrates your marketing (which can be pricey). You can even build one yourself-- without any code.
HubSpot has made huge strides with their content optimization system (COS). HubSpot’s COS is their own take on the content management system (CMS) that many platforms have. The main difference with HubSpot’s COS is that HubSpot offers an all-in-one solution for marketing in addition to the content management capabilities you’ll find in a CMS.
You can track the whole life cycle of a customer; recording events from the first conversion, contextualizing contacts with buyer personas. You also have access to a complete analytics report-- including analytics of your CTAs, landing pages, and site pages.
Your WordPress is only able to showcase basic metrics, and even then it involves using plugins. There is no way to get anything comparable to the COS in WordPress, unless you have a huge web development budget (the budget of a multinational corporation's web team). It's just not possible to achieve a hubspot COS substitute through plugins.
The Social Inbox feature in HubSpot measures social reach, traffic, leads, and sales. It is exceptionally productive for businesses that are driven from their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hubspot has a smart social publishing feature you can use to schedule posts and let more people know about your business. HubSpot understands the major importance of social media marketing, and how it should play into your website.
WordPress has no built-in social media features whatsover. It can only interact with social media via plugins. Just like with other features that come "built-in" with HubSpot, here too you can save money by using WordPress. You will have to spend more time testing and researching your site, though. You can still auto-publish new posts to social media. Again, it takes plugins, but it can be done.
So, when comparing HubSpot and WordPress’s social media capabilities, it’s a choice of "hassle-free but more expensive" versus "more budget friendly, but more hassle.”
Search Engine Optimization
How can you grow your business without the strong basis of SEO? It’s one of the main principles of inbound marketing. Your business needs a strong foundation of SEO. Search engine optimization is one of the things I’m most passionate about in the land of inbound marketing.
You can avoid resorting to additional plugins by using the HubSpot platform and using its native SEO tools. HubSpot excels at SEO. It’s one of their primary focuses. Even if you are not an "SEO expert", you can still take advantage of these tools, as they are very user friendly. You can analyze the ranking progress and receive tips on how to improve it in the future. And all of this can be done right from HubSpot’s SEO dashboard- it’s that easy.
WordPress needs specific plugins for SEO that you have to add to the platform- and again, there’s no guarantee that they will work with your template. The good ones cost money. You'll need some time to do your research and find the best plugins. Most of them also assume you're an SEO expert, so there is a steep learning curve as well.
HubSpot lets you personalize every detail when it comes to emails-- because HubSpot sees the value of email marketing campaigns. You can send targeted emails by segmenting your list and customizing every letter to be unique and relevant to the reader. Also, it's not necessary to perform any additional email analysis since HubSpot's marketing analytics will do it for you.
WordPress requires the installation of email plugins (HubSpot has created a list of some of the best ones here) and often involves buying additional services to relay the email for you. It involves some additional investments and learning. You don’t get the built-in analytics that come standard with HubSpot’s emailing capabilities.
HubSpot does offer email to WordPress users via their plugin, so there’s an opportunity to combine the two platforms here. It’s all done using WordPress’s drag-and-drop interface, and automatically adds leads collected on your WordPress site to your HubSpot email list.
Mobile Optimization and Integration
Smartphones will surpass 90% of all mobile data traffic by 2022. Is your website platform game able to keep up?
Since mobile traffic is becoming increasingly important, HubSpot has worked hard to optimize its designs for mobile devices. The responsive design is part of all of its templates and makes this platform adjustable to literally any device your visitor might be using.
Once again, WordPress doesn’t have a built-in feature for responsive sites and requires a plugin. There are many free plugins that could do the trick, such as WPtouch, iThemes Mobile, and Mobile Smart. Mobile-friendly or responsive sites just don’t come standard with WordPress. It takes some work to make WordPress sites responsive.
HubSpot vs WordPress support
HubSpot’s support system offers help from a support engineer and a dedicated technician (exclusive to your account). After submitting your questions, you will receive a phone call from an engineer who will guide you to the answer. You can also pay extra for a dedicated engineer who will be familiar with your blog and provide solutions whenever you need them.
Also, there’s an entire community at your disposal when you work with HubSpot. Answers to questions are published on community boards, many with answers from HubSpot professionals themselves.
WordPress is free open-source software and offers community-run support forums, documentation and resourceful articles with FAQ to help you find a solution by yourself. When you use WordPress, Google is often your best substitute for "support.” There is a Support page you can consult as well for troubleshooting, from website creation to ongoing assistance.
The good news is that there are so many people using WordPress, that there are likely thousands of people who have experienced your exact problem, and written about it. Google will help you find their experiences. The bad news is that a lot of the solutions you find will require you to learn coding and other technical skills.
How do you choose: HubSpot VS WordPress?
In the end, the main advantage I continue to see in using HubSpot is that it is hassle-free. Everything you need to do your marketing is included, and works flawlessly out of the box. But it will cost you some money. In fact HubSpot starts at $200 a month. WordPress on the other hand is free, at least to begin with.
In my experience, clients who use HubSpot for their websites don't have the same level of features and customization, but they also have zero headaches when it comes to hosting and maintenance issues. The main work needed is on the content, which is how it should be.
I help business owners and marketing professionals build powerful, automated content systems, which increase sales and boost customer happiness. Here’s how it works.