Choosing Between HubSpot CMS and WordPress

By Lauren Inggs - September 01, 2016

It's an undeniable fact: Inbound marketing depends on a website that works. Your website is the foundation on which all other inbound marketing activities base their success. And let's face it, you've either already invested in HubSpot's marketing software, or you're considering signing up, so clearly you're ready to see your marketing deliver the best possible ROI.

That said, developing a website that delivers means taking the time to decide on the right platform for your business – essentially it's about selecting a CMS suitable for your needs. "I'm already using HubSpot's marketing software - shouldn't I just use their CMS?" you might ask, and it's a good question.

Any Owner-manager's guide to Inbound will tell you that HubSpot's CMS isn't the only option available to you. After all HubSpot's marketing software is compatible with many other CMSs, including the ever popular WordPress.

The ‘right answer’ lies in a number of key considerations, which you'll need to factor in before making any decisions. HubSpot has a fantastic CMS, but WordPress can match HubSpot comfortably in many areas. Choosing between them is less about all the bells and whistles, and more about knowing your business's objectives before deciding.

Remember that your website, not unlike a puppy, is a long-term commitment – and not just for Christmas. Any decisions you make in this regard need to factor in not only your projected short-term benefits but also the long-term implications of your potential choice.

HubSpot vs WordPress - Top Areas to Consider When Deciding

Business Objectives and Considerations

1. Financial

When you sign up to use HubSpot's CRM, you're committing to an annual contract, which you can keep renewing as you go. Simple. However, deciding to build your website on HubSpot's CMS is a slightly more binding commitment – it's an "in it for the long haul" decision which has far-reaching financial implications you should consider before going all in.

You’ve heard that WordPress is free. In this instance, “free” is a relative term – and it certainly doesn't mean that WordPress is going to be infinitely cheaper than HubSpot. The difference between HubSpot's CMS versus WordPress from a financial aspect is pretty simple. HubSpot's CMS is a powerful yet holistic solution, one that encompasses multiple functionalities under one roof, for a set price. Can WordPress step up to the plate and deliver in the same way? Sure – but it's not going to be for free.

If you want your WordPress site to perform with the same functionalities as a HubSpot site, you'll need to pay for each of them by purchasing an add-on at a time. Multiple add-ons later, and you'll have a site that compares with an equivalent HubSpot one.

This means that dependent on the functionality you want your website to have, perhaps WordPress can work out slightly cheaper than HubSpot, but really it's marginal. The real consideration here is ultimately whether your business is willing to make a long-term financial commitment to working with HubSpot's CMS or not.

2. Governance and Compliance

For countries in the EU, data protection and storage have become key areas of consideration that need to be factored in when performing a website build. The EU Data Protection Directive has some bearing on your choice between HubSpot or WordPress, largely in relation to the issue of data storage.

At present, HubSpot stores its data on a content distribution network housed in the United States. While this doesn't mean EU or UK-based companies can't comply with the Data Protection Directive if they have HubSpot sites, it does mean jumping through a few more legislative hoops to ensure that they do. That said, if you've been running a WordPress site so far with your data based on US servers, you'd be facing a similar situation.

Understanding the legal issues behind where you are required to store your business's data is important when making a choice between HubSpot and WordPress.

3. Policy

Another question you need to ask yourself is "Who's going to be running my website?" Internal policies regarding who manages your website should definitely be factored in when deciding on a choice of CMS. If your IT department is likely to be doing so, and they don't have a modern relationship with your marketing team, you may face a few struggles down the line.

Technical Considerations

1. Unique Website Functionality

Depending on your business objectives and goals, you may require certain unique functionality from your website. Perhaps you run an eCommerce store, or want to include a booking feature on your home page. It's not uncommon to find features like this available, or easily accessible, in an Open Source CMS like WordPress.

Implementing functionality like this, or at the very least replicating it, can sometimes be a costly, or even a technically impossible task with HubSpot. Sure, there could be workarounds, but these may come with their own challenges. Sometimes it's important to ask yourself if it’s worth ‘re-inventing the wheel’ in your website build, when another CMS might have the existing functionality at its fingertips.

2. Performance

From a top-down perspective, HubSpot and WordPress have similar performance stats. They're both well-equipped to deliver excellent websites – but, as we mentioned before, WordPress's ability to measure up to HubSpot does depend on purchasing the right add-ons to your website to ensure performance and functionality stay on-point.

That said, HubSpot does have some very impressive numbers that highlight just how great a CMS they offer. When measured against other CMSs, HubSpot showcased just how effective their offering is by dominating in speed and lightness.

Median Time to Interact Median Time to Interact

(Images: Yottaa)

Speed and lightness mean faster load times, lower bounce rates and happier website visitors, which is exactly what you want.

Another HubSpot core focus is the personalisation of marketing, or contextual marketing, which translates into a 19% increase in Sales for your business (Source: Monetate/eConsultancy study). Everything HubSpot does is geared towards making personalisation within your marketing a seamless experience.

3. Security

There's an inherently massive gap in security between HubSpot and WordPress. Right out the box, HubSpot offers you:

  • Sessions protected with top end in-transit encryption, advanced TLS (1.0, 1.1, and 1.2) protocols, and 2,048-bit keys. This prevents outside parties from gaining access to your data.
  • Proactive customer notifications, which means you'll always be in the know regarding activity on your portal.
  • Operations teams that monitor platform and application behavior 24x7x365 for baked-in security – consider that HubSpot has achieved uptime of 99.99%, and you can see what a difference this makes.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF) technologies that identify and block attacks before they reach the front door. Essentially this means stopping attacks before they even have a chance to take effect.
  • Site protection through third-party Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) services. A DDoS attack prevents you from accessing your own site – HubSpot prevents this by protecting both your website and access to it.

And that's a few of the steps they take to secure sites built on the HubSpot CMS. That said, it's not impossible to build a secure WordPress site either. It just takes a lot more time and effort, along with an increased long-term cost, to ensure your website stays secure from both a hosting and software perspective.

Final thoughts – HubSpot versus WordPress

If you asked us about our personal choice of CMS, the answer would certainly be HubSpot. And we do use it! We're huge fans of its many features, and as an inbound agency, we've seen the success HubSpot users experience firsthand.

And you don't just have to take our word for it – data backs up the fact that using both HubSpot's CRM and CMS does deliver inbound marketing success and results.

Median Time to Interact


In fact, data shows that customers who go all-in by moving to a HubSpot Website can often see:

  • Visits rise by 39% overall
  • Visits from organic search rise by 70%
  • Landing page submissions increase by 47%

On these metrics, HubSpot Website customers outperform their peers by 10-20%.

Because HubSpot is a holistic solution, an all-in decision to go with HubSpot's CRM and CMS means adopting a full-on inbound mentality, as every activity and feature within HubSpot is designed around the inbound methodology. It's this approach that sees inbound marketing blossom in a business.

All said and done, a hybrid solution combining WordPress CMS with HubSpot's CRM is another perfectly good alternative. It offers something of the best of both worlds, by allowing you to use a non-HubSpot CMS that may better suit your needs while retaining access to the marketing automation and inbound tools that define HubSpot's marketing software.

And at the end of the day, it's about what YOU and your business ultimately need. If you need a little help deciding, why not get in touch? We'd love to help you make the right choice!

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