We are often asked about the main differences between HubSpot and Wordpress. In essence, there is no point of comparing the two. Attempting to compare these tools would be like comparing cars to tomcat jet fighters: they have a completely different set of capabilities. The only thing in common is that they can take someone from one place to another.
HubSpot is a complete set of inbound marketing tools that allows you to manage pretty much all of your inbound marketing. For WordPress, on the other hand, you're required to buy at least 4 pieces of software.
We won't explore the marketing tools built into HubSpot. This article only seeks to compare the CMS of HubSpot to that of WordPress for marketers who are trying to decide on the best CMS to build their website with.
So, if you already have made the decision that Inbound Marketing is the marketing model of your choice and all that is left is for you to decide which CMS to use to build your website, here are some specific points that you should know.
1. Everyday Website Content Management
A. CMS Functionality
i. Ease of use to add, remove pages, modify sitemap structure
To keep your website fresh, you will likely need to add or remove pages from your site. This is easier to do in the HubSpot CMS than in Wordpress. HubSpot has a simple tree-like structure that allows you to drag & drop pages, duplicate an existing page, or delete one you no longer need. Once you have created a page, a simple checkbox allows you to indicate to the CMS whether you want the page to show in the menu or not.
HubSpot tree-structured page manager.
In Wordpress, pages are placed in a directory-like listing, making it less intuitive to figure out how to move that page to another area in the site. In addition, depending on the type of setup you have in a Wordpress CMS, changing the navigation menu can be a cumbersome process.
Screenshot to add a new page Wordpress.
Wordpress page listing.
Wordpress menu management.
Also, making changes to your sitemap and URL structure requires you to keep good track of the old vs. new URLs so that you can do 301 redirects to drive all gained traffic from the old pages to the new ones. This process is a breeze using the HubSpot CMS. If you are using Wordpress, make sure you take note of all of your URL changes as you will need to ask your webmaster to make those 301 redirects for you. If you don’t, all those old URLs which search engines have indexed, will throw 404 error pages instead, and your rankings will suffer.
ii. Update copy in a given page
Both CMS provide WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors to change content. Although it would be a bit trickier for you to get around the CMS and find the place where you need to make the edit if you are using Wordpress.
Hubspot WYSIWYG editor.
Wordpress WYSIWYG editor.
B. Blog Functionality
i. Add a blog post
Posting a blog is very similar to adding content to a website page, and therefore HubSpot also ranks better in the ease of use arena. If you have some basic knowledge of HTML you might think that Wordpress is a better tool, but for the average user, the HubSpot CMS is a bit easier to deal with.
ii. Optimize a Blog post
Although both CMS’s allow you to edit all of your relevant SEO parameters (url, page title, H1’s, alt texts), optimizing a blog post for the right keywords is an area where HubSpot stands out. It not only allows you to easily update those parameters, but also it indicates if they are sub-optimal. It helps you figure out things like: missing to optimize for a desired keyword, or if your blog copy is too short, for example. See a screenshot of this blog article as it was being written.
HubSpot screen indicating missing areas to optimize a blog post for better SEO impact.
2. Mobile Compatibility
Mobile web is a huge topic and experts have many views on how to go about it. Both the HubSpot CMS and Wordpress offer ways to go mobile. In essence there are 3 ways to make a website mobile friendly: a. Make a new dumbed-down version of your website just for mobile, b. Device-specific HTML, which is a way to code a website so that it shows a different layout when it is accessed on a mobile device. and c. Responsive Web Design, which enables your website pages to “adapt” depending on the size of the window through which it is accessed.
As of the time when this blog post was written, HubSpot only had the ability to enable Device-Specific HTML with just the click of a button in the settings of the CMS. The mobile version of the site typically requires some fine tuning but it’s acceptable. Responsive web design was not possible in the HubSpot CMS (actually it was possible but your developer had to pretty much override the entire CSS to make it happen, i.e. override some of the core functions of the CMS).
Desktop and mobile versions of a website hosted in HubSpot, displaying with device-specific HTML.
In Wordpress, on the other hand, the mobile version of the site can either be Device-Specific HTML, or Responsive Web Design, depending on the theme that you choose. Some of the new Composer plugins allow for Responsive Web Design, still their implementation can be tricky and there is plenty of testing to do to make sure your content displays correctly on any given window size, across devices and browsers.
Check out this theme and try resizing the screen.
In the end, both the HubSpot CMS and Wordpress offer you ways to optimize the display of your website for mobile devices. Of course, this is only one component of a mobile strategy. In any case, true mobile website optimization should be preceded by a solid mobile strategy to make sure that your mobile site offers your users exactly what they are looking for. So chances are, no matter which of the 2 CMS’s you use, both out-of-the-box mobile display optimization options will likely require a fair amount of tweaking.
Winner: Tied, or Perhaps Wordpress depending on the theme you choose, but both will require a fair amount of tweaking.
3. Advanced Website Design Features
A. Advanced Page Layouts
When it comes to creating more advanced page layouts or custom HTML for more advanced designs than plain content pouring, Wordpress has the lead... by far. In sum, in Wordpress it is possible to build pretty complex layouts with simple drag & drop plugins, without the need to do any coding.
With plugins such as the Visual Composer for Wordpress, you can easily create a complex page by splitting different areas into full width, 2, 3, or 4 columns, allowing you to make very dynamic and fun pages, using nothing but drag & drop and point & click functions.
In contrast, in the HubSpot CMS you set only the global page layout and then stick with it.
B. Custom HTML Functionalities
Wordpress allows you to edit the HTML of the page from its standard WYSIWYG editor, which is a little more reliable than the HubSpot version (HubSpot can use some improvements here). In the end both of them should give you a similar output, however the Wordpress editor has more functions in it.
Widgets are primarily stylistic in nature and do not play a critical role in converting visitors into leads. However, because Wordpress is open source and so widespread, there are literally thousands of widgets out there available at your fingertips. Some of them are good, some of them not so good, but there are probably thousands to choose from.
4. Fitness to Different Types of Websites
A. Informational - Lead Generation Websites
If your company provides a product or service that requires personalized interaction in order to close the deal, then the purpose of your website probably stops at lead generation. Hence your website is likely on the informational side: pages are a combination of copy and images that explain different issues, opportunities and features of your service.
B. Product Oriented Websites
If your company sells specific products for which you need to have a special page layout, that is always the same then it would be great if you can have a type of page with a predetermined layout. Wordpress can be setup for this purpose, only enabling the areas of a page that are needed to make sure that the product layout is as consistent as possible.
C. Transactional Websites
If you need to actually transact through the website without human interaction on your side, basically an e-commerce site of some level, then you need a different platform. However you can have informational pages hosted on either HubSpot or Wordpress, and have all your shopping area in an e-commerce platform of your choice.
Conclusion - HubSpot vs. Wordpress
For your everyday content editing, the HubSpot CMS is an easier tool to deal with; Wordpress is trickier to use in general. A web designer can do a lot more in Wordpress than in the HubSpot CMS, but for the regular everyday user Wordpress is more confusing to use and difficult to get around than the HubSpot CMS.
If your website is primarily informational, there is no way to go wrong with the HubSpot CMS. It is simple, easy to use and pretty intuitive, plus you have all kinds of optimization tools that remind you not to forget your SEO parameters. The HubSpot CMS is a great fit for most B2B websites where honestly, the most - and most times, the only - complex page is the homepage.
Here is an example of the homepage of a website we recently built on the HubSpot CMS:
However it should be noted that the HubSpot CMS is somewhat temperamental. If your website is on the large side and you will need to set pre-determined layouts to show large amounts of products, or require large sophisticated photo galleries,then Wordpress is probably a better fit.