WordPress is one of the best known and most popular software applications for website development today. I fact, it has a fanatical following. It’s popularity is bolstered by the plethora of plugins and free or cheap themes available. Because of those assets, WordPress remains as a top contender to the many other CMS (Content Management Systems) from which to choose.
While popularity is something, it isn’t everything. WordPress is open-source freeware. Free can be nice but free may not always be good. And while WordPress continues to be popular, many are calling into question it's continued viability as a web design platform.
Hubspot's CMS website platform is newer. It was introduced in 2013. Hubspot is rapidly taking market share in the business world. By 2016, Hubspot's software ranked 7th in overall popularity.
We wanted to answer our most popular inquiry: "Which should I get and why should I get it?" So we created our own study comparing Hubspot vs. WordPress website platforms. Why? Like you, we want the best. As an agency, if we can’t provide solutions our customers want, we’re in trouble, so we need to partner with software vendors who can supply solutions that will work for our customers. Before you go out and get either platform, it might help you to educate yourself and compare WordPress vs. Hubspot side by side.
What Should I Get? The Short Answer:
- If your main goal is to display your branding and talk up your company for very little budget, the ever popular WordPress platform probably will work for you.
- You insist on the lowest price. You can't beat WordPress. It's free.
- You need a gazillion fancy features, like a forum, or interactive calendar for example. Wordpress will do that for you, sometimes for free.
- Your main goal is to grow your company, get leads, get more sales, but also to promote your branding. Hubspot would be the way to go. It's the only true marketing-centric website platform in existence. Let me reiterate: It is the only one, as amazing at that may seem in our era.
- You want every conceivable website, SEO, and marketing feature, including metrics, built-in. Again, Hubspot is not just a website in the historical sense, it's a marketing platform.
The 25 Things to Consider When Comparing WordPress vs. Hubspot
First came the HTML websites of the 90’s. Then in the mid-2000’s, “Web 2.0” was born. With it came WordPress, Dupal, and Joomla, with WordPress being the most popular. Web 2.0 was revolutionary in its day.
Web 2.0 boasted features like user logons, giving users the ability to edit their own content. Prior to that, the “Webmaster” (I still love that title) was the only one who could do it. To update a conventional website, you had to download an HTML page file via FTP, mod it, and re-upload. That was beyond most users' capabilities.
Wordpress is a website platform.
WordPress is venerable; it's been around for over 10 years. But that's 10-year-old technology. The platform has been upgraded, but still is old tech, and many programmers actually hate it. Nevertheless, venerability also can be a good thing. How many software companies only last a year or so?
Hubspot is a marketing-centric website platform.
The Hubspot CMS (Content Management System) was introduced in 2013. It’s main distinction from WordPress is that it’s both a web design and marketing platform all in one. While WordPress is free, Hubspot is not. WordPress is software, whereas Hubspot is a subscription.
Some fear if you quit your Hubspot subscription, you’d lose all your data. True, but you can export and save a backup anywhere with both WordPress and with Hubspot. Others object saying, "What if Hubspot goes out of business?" What if WordPress goes out of business, or Microsoft, or Apple...?
2) Hacking Issues
Illicit people want to gain access to your website to inject code for banner ads, send spam email, or steal information.
Want to hack WordPress? Here's how to do it: https://hackertarget.com/attacking-wordpress. From time to time you'll get WordPress hacking alerts as we do. Get used to seeing email alerts like this one:
Note that if your site gets hacked, since WordPress is self-hosted software, fixing the site is on you.
Hubspot wins here. Because it’s not self-hosted software, you don’t have to worry about software updates, hacking, server speed, database failures, or a host of other frustrating or costly issues.
3) Hosting and Pricing
WordPress is self-hosted software. You download it and install it on a hosting platform (a server). That means you or your developer needs to buy hosting. Cheap hosting is slow, nevertheless, it’s cheap. But slow loading can impact search ranking and worse, annoy visitors. Since you have a choice, you can host on a fast server (see #4 below), but you'll pay a lot more.
You don’t have control over hosting with Hubspot. Like Gmail, Facebook, etc., you depend on the vendor to host all your data. You do have control over content, however. You can download or export your content if you ever thought you’d change providers.
Hubspot hosts with a proprietary CDN (Content Delivery Network). It’s very robust with tech specs like concurrent connections. Concurrent connections refer to the number of people doing something on your website at the same time, like downloading something. Just a few people can crash a site with meager concurrent connections specs.
You can host WordPress on a shared server for about $25 / month. Or you can host on a dedicated server for perhaps $200 / month. WordPress really does not come with a landing page tool, so if you need landers for PPC ads, etc., you'll need 3rd party software like ClickFunnels.
WP shared hosting + ClickFunnels = $25 + $97 / month.
WP dedicated hosting + ClickFunnels = $200 + $97 / month.
Hubspot CMS, includes landers, forms, popups, CRM, etc = $300 / month.
4) Page Load Speed
You can speed up WordPress by avoiding cheap hosting and host on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This is basically hosting “in the cloud.” On a CDN your pages will load at about the same speed from anywhere on the planet. You’ll pay a lot for this (see pricing above). And please, do not install “cache plugins" or any plugin that promises to speed up your website. Just don't do it.
Hubspot hosting is on a proprietary CDN (Content Delivery Network). You simply get top-end hosting by default.
There is no "1-800-HELPMEWITHWORDPRESS" support number. To get support yourself, you Google for answers or post on some official forum. Good luck with that. Better, call your favorite techie web design company.
Hubspot wins this round hands down. Here's their support number, often with as little a one minute wait time: 1 888-482-7768 x3.
6) Dashboard / UI
WP's dashboard and UI (user interface) are confusing enough to prompt many of our support calls even for simple things. Users do get used to WP, but the overall UI (user-interface) has changed little since the very first iteration of WordPress.
While you can hack the dashboard and make it look much better, you'll need another plugin for that.
And with every fresh Wordpress install, you (still) get the Hello Dolly plugin, included. We are at a loss about this and so is about everyone else. Our very first step is setting up a WP site is to delete that plugin as no client ever has wanted it, or thinks we're idiots for even asking about it.
Hubspot wins this one too. Since Hubspot is also is a marketing platform, their Dashboard is loaded with nice looking charts and graphs, telling you about blog performance, email delivery, and marketing performance. If you don’t know what to click on or what does what, just click on it, call your agency, or call support.
WYSIWYG="What You See Is What You Get." WordPress has "What You See Is almost What You Get." Meaning, you logon to edit something and have to hit "preview" to see your results.
Or you download a front-end loader (plugin) to help. Or you get a front-end loader theme, like Divi. But even with Divi, you'll still get, "What You See Is almost What You Get." And you'll wonder what everyone else sees since there are over 1mm WP Divi themes on the Internet.
This feature is a hallmark feature of Hubspot. Editing in real time. You also easily can preview what your site is going to look like an a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
8) Open Source vs. SaaS
WordPress is open source software. As such, it's often is heralded as the single most viable reason to get WordPress—mainly because it's free. Open source sounds great, democratic and all that.
Open source is software that’s developed by a consortium of programmers. Open source development can work well for smaller applications that often are developed by a single team.
Larger applications of open source have found a niche with programmers and development teams (consider Linux web server software or the Firefox development browser), but not so much with the average user.
Because of inter-team disconnects, open source can suffer from reliability, support, or security issues.
Open source development can lag behind current technology, always trying to play catch up, simply because it can be hard to monetize it. Open source is free: sometimes you get what you pay for.
Hubspot is SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS is everywhere. Gmail and Google Apps are SaaS. So are all the social networks. Hosting with SaaS is robust and you don’t have to worry about anything, like hacking, backups, or down time.
SaaS companies often have a visionary chain of command at the top, have thorough R&D departments, and schedule seamless improvements over time. They can do all these things because they directly monetize their software.
9) Free Themes
WordPress wins this one. WP's free themes are touted as another top reason to get WP—again, because they're free. Most of the free themes, however, are broken, and most developers hate them. They're also not always fully responsive, often are bloatware, and can't be customized easily.
Hubspot has only one "theme." To change design, someone needs to build or buy a template. Templates are not free, nor are they cheap. Buying a stock Hubspot template to get a design can be as costly as having a design custom created.
10) Custom Themes
Fixes the WordPress free themes issues but you have to pay for custom programming.
Be careful here. Every website on the planet has two themes: One the world sees, and the backend that only you see. If you have a custom theme developed, it may have a slick front-end theme (what everyone on the Internet sees), but may be horrible to edit, change photos, widgets, etc. Make sure you have a discussion on the backend theme with your developer.
Everything in Hubspot is custom. Please see the next section.
11) Theme Structure
With WP, designs depend on the theme. Many commercial themes are bloatware, slowing your website down as they load every back end feature, most of which you're not using. Many lack mobile-ready features. Many paid themes are dirt cheap, $50 or so. You tend to get what you pay for. With WordPress, better to get a custom theme and save headaches down the road.
Note: If you get a bloated WP theme and buy cheap hosting, expect page load times to hang somewhere in the 6-10 second range. This will absolutely kill your mobile SEO. Sorry for the bad news.
Each template can have one or more pages associated with it. You can mod templates without breaking your site, and every Hubspot site comes with its own "sandbox" so you can live test pages before you publish them.
12) Drag and Drop
To change the design on WordPress, you change the theme, change plugins, or program something in php, etc.
With Hubspot, you drag and drop template modules. Many fancy things do need to be programmed in Hubspot. While you many not have to spend a lot of money, you will need the programming.
Yet another massive selling feature with WordPress -- over 50K plugins available, but is that overkill? Plugins also can cause a lot if issues. Go find one that does exactly what you want, is easy to use, and doesn't break your website. Ever download a smart phone app that didn't work? It's important to download plugins from highly rated developers, or get one custom built for your specific purpose.
Hubspot has no plugins but it does come with some "modules," including a slide show, posts widgets, and more. Hubspot also comes with a “module creator,” but you’ll need programming skills to use it. Other customizations require special programming.
14) Annoying Update Nags
Guaranteed: Every time you log on to WP, you’ll have to update something. Some plugins will give you a scary warning like the one below:
"...in case anything goes wrong?" The plugin vendor is not joking.
Again, because Hubspot is SaaS, you update nothing. When was the last time you updated your Facebook software?
There is no onboard SEO. You need to install a plugin for SEO—yes, you really do. Don't believe the web jargon writers who promise SEO without a plugin. This is not a huge neg for WordPress, but you still have to install the plugin and configure it. Also, the SEO is less user-friendly on WordPress than on Hubspot.
A hallmark feature of Hubspot. Every on-page SEO feature is included, including an SEO wixard that flags issues and tells you how to fix them.
16) “Contact Us” form
WP doesn't come with one. You'll need to install another plugin. Your contact form may not work with a generic email address, like one from your cable company. Want to fix the email forms issues? Here's a typical WordPress help page. See if you can wade though all this mess. Again, poorly functioning plugins can be a problem.
Hubspot wins here. Because Hubspot is a marketing platform, a robust forms creator is build in. You can build forms for almost anything, send email submission notifications, link to landing pages, and connect all data to your database or CRM.
Works great if you only need one blog. But what if you wanted two, like a "blog" and a "news" page? Or 5 blogs? You'll need a plugin, like a Custom Post Type, again, using a plugin.
Another win: Hubspot is a multi-blogging platform. You can create a new blog in your portal in about 60 seconds.
18) Spam Issues
There are a number of solutions. For one, Just turn off "Comments" in WP's Dashboard, and install another plugin.
Since Hubspot is SaaS, the spam issue is not on you. Basically, there are no spam issues.
Yes, you can set up a store on Wordpress. WooCommerce probably is the most popular e-comm add-on for WP. It's a free plugin. WordPress owns it. It's free but you'll rack up costs with add-ons if you need them. This free plugin makes WordPress the most cost-effective e-comm platform out there. You have to trust the WP database to house all the data from your sales and be sure to backup that database daily. Some users are concerned about that.
There is no e-comm plugin. Our solution is to do a cloned site on a good SaaS e-comm provider like Shopify to give you a seamless and robust cart platform and an easy to use backend to process orders.
20) Landing Pages
WordPress is a web platform so there are no built-in landing pages and no other marketing features. You can "hack" the landing pages issue by using a 3rd party landing pages tool.
Or you can keep your WordPress website and buy the Hubspot add-on and connect it to WordPress using *guess what,* a plugin.
With Hubspot, it's all there under one roof: Website pages, landing pages, calls-to-actions, email marketing, blog creation, PPC management, and easy to understand metrics and charts.
21) CTA Buttons
You create a CTA (call-to-action) manually by programming CSS or using a pair of graphic images (so you can get a hover effect). There are plenty of web resources out there, like this CSS button creator.
This is another marketing feature. Their CTA creator will build buttons or graphic-driven calls-to-actions (CTAs).
This is an SEO feature. I've written a lot about using keywords. Keywords enable your website to be found by visitors searching for your products or services.
You use an outboard program like Google Analytics and connect it to your WordPress dashboard using a plugin.
Hubspot comes with a powerful SEO tool that integrates with the rest of the marketing features, such as blog post editor, campaign tool, and website pages and last but not least, Google Search Console.
23) Marketing Analytics
This is somewhat of a manual process. You'll need to rely on some outboard service such as Google Analytics. After you get all the data though, what are you going to do with it? Unless that data is tied to your CRM, there's really no way you can reengage your customer base. Sure, you can do remarketing with Adwords or Facebook, but unless someone clicks and converts, you're going to have a lot of data that may be difficult to digest.
Again, Hubspot is a marketing platform and reporting is a hallmark feature. You get data and reports galore, on-board connections to Google, and simple tutorials on what to do with them.
I'm departing from web design and touching upon the biggest marketing issue of our time: Databases. Integrating a website database with sales and marketing is something most companies want to do.
You choose a CRM from some 3rd party company and connect it to WordPress using a plugin.
Has a very nice CRM. Hubspot's CRM, is ranked at 2nd place, behind the #1 contender, SalesForce, and against nearly 400 other CRM platforms. Hubspot's CRM is free.
25) Site Security
It's on you unless you have a hosting provider with an iron-clad guarantee against data loss. You should use a good backup plugin. If you want an SSL certificate for a more secure site, you usually can get one for an annual fee from your hosting provider.
Security is on Hubspot. You also get an SSL certificate with every website, so your URL looks like: https://www.mywebsite.com. SSL also yields an SEO ranking advantage so it's a nice add-on to have.
If you’ve read this post to this point, you probably know your company's website is outdated and you’re looking for solutions to go forward.
Since digital marketing is a long game, to move forward you need to be thinking of building your brand out to 2020, 2025 and beyond.
A website is just one facet of growing your business in the digital age. You need to also focus on aligning sales with marketing, feeding all data in and out of one database, and getting the metrics delivered to your desk to prove what's working and find out what's not.
Talk to us. We'll audit all your digital assets including your PPC campaigns as well, and work with you to find the best solutions.