HubSpot vs WordPress: Which CMS is Correct for Your Business?
by Michael O'Mara, on Jul 14, 2021 3:11:57 PM
HubSpot and WordPress. Both help you build websites that delight customers, drive sales, and grow your business. Which one is right for you?
HubSpot and WordPress are two great CMS options to consider. Both offer great features and services for any business. But there are key things to consider before signing up for a plan, buying a domain, and investing in website development.
We know that you need a website that works for you and your customers. To do that you need a content management system (CMS) you and your team can use to build, manage, and apply continuous updates to your business’s website.
Believe us, we know how many variables are worth considering. It can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we researched and gathered the important details and differences between HubSpot and WordPress so you can make an informed decision about which CMS is right for you.
So, let’s go over what to expect in this blog:
- An explanation of CMS
- Three reasons to choose HubSpot
- Three reasons to choose WordPress
- Our recommendation
What is a CMS?
A content management system, or CMS, is a software solution for building, managing, and improving a website. Some CMS options offer different tools and services that offer unique value to businesses. The right CMS provides a solid foundation, structure, and tools to make the modifications and renovations you need.
There’s a lot to learn about CMS and websites. That’s why we wrote a blog all about it! Click here to read How To Choose The Best CMS For Your Business. The blog covers general information, as well as specifics about what to look for in a CMS.
What is HubSpot?
HubSpot is a Software as a Service, or SaaS, that offers all-in-one software solutions to grow your business better. From website building to communication, HubSpot’s tool suite has everything you need to start up and keep going.
What is WordPress?
WordPress began as a blog and expanded into the #1 most popular open-source website platform we know today. Developers understand it, designers enjoy it, and customers love it. Because WordPress is open-source, knowledgeable developers and designers have unparalleled design and customization opportunities to make a website the best it can be.
WordPress must be installed and configured on your own servers or by relying on a 3rd party host. Like HubSpot, WordPress has everything you need out of the box to create and distribute content.
At this point, it almost sounds like which CMS you choose is down to personal preference. That’s not always the case. Sure, WordPress is the most popular CMS on the market. It began as a text-based blogging software solution in the early days of consumer internet adoption. Eventually, it transitioned into the juggernaut we know today. HubSpot, on the other hand, began with an idea: to grow better, delight customers, and build smarter.
There is a lot to cover. Let’s get started!
Three reasons to choose HubSpot
1. You get what you pay for
Dollar to dollar, HubSpot offers more value and features out of the box compared to WordPress. The result? An extremely powerful CMS that is worth every penny. As of publishing, these are the prices for HubSpot CMS:
- Professional: $300 per month, billed annually
- Enterprise: $900 per month, billed annually
What’s the reason for the higher costs than WordPress? Simple: the most advanced tech stack any sized business can leverage to generate leads, drive revenue, and grow. We’ll talk more about WordPress’s pricing and features in a later section, but for now, here are a few of the premium services HubSpot offers:
- Optimized Content Delivery Network- Servers that load your site faster so your customers can engage quicker.
- Content Search: HubSpot’s internal search is like Super Google but right there on your website. It’s functional, simple, and much more effective than competing content search options.
- File Manager: A shared, internal file management system for media and assets across content and users. It’s a souped-up photos app available with a tap.
- Developer Sandbox: Full access to HubSpot’s entire suite of developer tools and features. Master code and scale projects within HubSpot’s intuitive native environment
- Serverless Functions: APIs are call and response connections into the sites and services we use every day. Serverless functions enable users to write server-side code that uses APIs to engage with 3rd party integrations and services. Simple and customizable.
- HubSpot APIs: Secure access to the backend of CMS that allows you to integrate and create a fast and functional application.
- SEO Recommendations: HubSpot scans your site pages and offers practical solutions to optimize your ranking.
If you add everything you need for WordPress to have the same features and tech stack, you’d be paying a similar monthly bill. Interested in learning more about HubSpot’s CMS features? HubSpot offers comprehensive tutorials, guides, and information about its services so you can make a smart decision about your next CMS.
As we’ve said before, HubSpot is a SaaS. That means for a monthly or annual recurring cost, you get access to HubSpot’s content tools, hosting, security, regular updates, priority client support via live chat, phone, and email. It’s the complete package right from the start, so you can focus on growing your business.
2. Ready to go from day one
Compared to WordPress, HubSpot is more robust out of the box. Sign up, build a simple website that works, and hit the ground growing.
While WordPress offers unparalleled customizability (more on that later), HubSpot excels at scaling automatically. Here’s an example:
Because HubSpot’s CMS is directly integrated into their CRM—click here to learn more about HubSpot’s CRM—you can build scalable lists of contacts who visit specific pages on your site, download content offers, or interact with your live chat functionality. As more information becomes available, you’ll get access to advanced reporting tools to make data-driven, actionable growth decisions.
Because HubSpot is a SaaS, everything you need to build, create, and report is simplified and streamlined for your internal team. From marketing to sales, HubSpot is equipped to help you grow. In short, HubSpot is a seamless and stable digital experience that your customers and team will love.
Attacks happen. HubSpot is ready for them. The CMS Hub comes standard with an SSL certificate, web applications firewall, and 24/7 threat monitoring. Never worry about your website security, including customer data, ever again.
Here are several ways HubSpot guarantees your security:
- Protections against Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS
- Replicated and backed up data in multiple storage areas across time zones and regions
- Align security practices with NIST SP 800-53 and ISO 27001
- SDLC security from HubSpot includes static code analysis tools and human review processes to verify security
- Recurring vulnerability assessments and 3rd party penetration testing
It’s always a hassle updating software security. Not with HubSpot. Any and all continuous improvements are server-side. Your business and customer data is always up to date and monitored in real-time to protect your data against malicious attacks.
For more information about HubSpot’s commitment to security, read an exhaustive security overview document here or visit a high-level overview of security information on their website. Both resources offer context and explanation of any and all security features HubSpot offers.
Three reasons to choose WordPress
1. Plugins and customizability
HubSpot is the buffet of CMS options. You have access to a diverse range of tech and tools to do the job and then some.
WordPress is a bit different. Instead of a buffet, WordPress is à la carte and guarantees you only pay for what you want. That level of choice offers unparalleled customizability through a capable library of plugins topping 58,000—and counting. The only thing limiting your website’s features and functionality is imagination and budget. Click here to read the best 24 plugins available for WordPress users.
Keep in mind: most plugins on the market offer free and paid versions. Usually, paid versions are tiered and offer a wider range of services the more you invest. The more plugins you pay for, the more you’ll spend per month. More plugins mean more to juggle, more to pay for, and segmented data silos. If you have the team and working knowledge to manage WordPress, then it’s absolutely worth considering.
Plugins are perfect for the tinkerers who want full control over every aspect of website building and function. Speaking of full control…
Open-source means WordPress isn’t a singular software owned, licensed, and distributed by a company. It means it’s community-built and community-driven. There are no barriers whatsoever to making an account and building a basic website that does what you need it to do. That’s why developers and designers love WordPress. It’s a creative sandbox to do almost anything you want. There are only two catches: you need to know what you’re doing and you need to prepare for eventual updates or issues with a set operations budget. No knowledge and budget could result in significant issues.
WordPress requires an internal or 3rd party team for routine maintenance and upkeep. Unlike HubSpot, which handles that server-side, a WordPress website requires you to handle it yourself or pay someone or a service to do it. This can get expensive pretty quickly. If budget is a factor, keep this in mind as you determine whether WordPress is right for you.
Some argue the open-source nature of WordPress means it’s more secure and stable than trusting a server-side SaaS to write code and maintain security. You can see anything you’re working on to ensure the code in your website is stable and functioning properly. That’s a pretty powerful point in WordPress’s favor. Ask yourself this: Does your team have the knowledge and time to handle website issues or do you have other priorities to focus on?
WordPress websites can be whatever you want them to be. There are minor limitations here and there, like themes and hosting costs, but the main point is this: If you know what you’re doing when it comes to website development, design, and upkeep, WordPress is an incredibly compelling option for your business.
3. You get what you pay for
To be clear: WordPress.org is open source and free to sign up and download for anyone. WordPress.com is a hosted version of open-source WordPress. It’s confusing, we know. You want WordPress.org to build a website, not .com. We’ll discuss the pricing differences and reasoning between the two later in this blog.
As we’ve mentioned previously, there are no barriers to building a website with WordPress. That includes the cost. Yes, because WordPress.org is open-source, it is free to sign up and free to build.
That does not mean there aren’t associated costs with the design, utility, and overall upkeep of your website. Generally, to cover the basics of the basics, WordPress.org costs about $11 a month.
Realistically, expect to invest moderately in the services you need to build an effective website. Here is a brief overview of how you should budget a WordPress website.
- Domain name: Most domains cost about $12 a year to essentially rent from a domain provider. However, this fluctuates depending on market share, location, and industry.
- Hosting: A relatively small monthly fee to give your WordPress website a home. No host means your customers do not have a website to visit.
- Pre-made themes: WordPress offers pre-made themes with a fixed fee between $0 and $200 to access and use them. Once you buy, the theme is yours to use and customize as you see fit. Our favorite theme? X pro.
- Plugins: Depending on how many plugins you choose, your monthly or annual subscription cost ranges from just a few dollars to nearly a thousand. Plugins, as much as they add value to your site, also add to cost.
- Security: The absolute cheapest security available is around $50 a month. Don’t skimp on your security. Invest heavily to ensure your data and your consumers’ data is safe.
- Developer and designer fees: Whether you hire a developer, agency, or have an employee build your WordPress website, developer and designer fees vary with the scope and scale of your website.
It’s tough to assign a specific dollar amount to build, design, and maintain a WordPress.org website. That’s why WordPress.com introduced a tiered plan system, but unfortunately, we cannot recommend this version for professional business use, and we’ll explain why.
WordPress.org is open-source and free to sign up and download for anyone. WordPress.com is a hosted version of open-source WordPress. It’s confusing, we know. You want WordPress.org to build a website, not .com. As we said at the beginning of this blog, we’ve covered WordPress.org up to this point. Why? Because it’s easier to build, own, and move your WordPress.org site. WordPress.com changes the fluidity and freedom of WordPress.org in exchange for an annual subscription fee that covers some hidden costs associated with building your WordPress website.
If you choose Wordpress.com, you have access to four separate pricing tiers (prices are accurate as of publishing, July 2021):
- Personal: $4 per month, billed annually
- Premium: $8 per month, billed annually
- Business: $25 per month, billed annually
- eCommerce: $45 per month, billed annually
Each tier available from WordPress.com provides you with the tools and services you need to start your business’s website. It’s similar to HubSpot in some ways. But there are significant key differences that make WordPress.com a bad choice to build a website:
- If you build on Wordpress.com, your site is stuck on Wordpress.com. It’s not moving. What happens when you decide WordPress.com no longer fits the needs of your business? Well, you abandon your site and build a new one from scratch somewhere else. That’s not an effective long-term growth strategy.
- Plugins are not an option with WordPress.com. Besides à la carte budgeting, plugins are the strongest reason to build with WordPress. If you choose a WordPress.com plan, you cannot use Plugins, which basically defeats the purpose.
This is a very common issue that bites smart businesses in the rear. You spend all this time building and developing and loving your website only to find, eventually, you can never leave. Your business, your URL, and your brand are tied to WordPress.com forever.
The short of it: without a full understanding of your goals and objectives we can’t tell you which CMS is best for you and your business. That’s what a connect call with a Growth Guide is for! What we can do here is guide you along and offer some feedback and constructive recommendations for what might work best for you.
If you are on an extremely tight budget and need a simple and basic website with simple and basic upkeep, WordPress.org could be an option. The same applies if budget isn’t a factor and you have a dedicated, internal development and design team that leverages WordPress to its fullest potential. This is the perfect option for a business that handles everything in-house.
If you want your website to be the hub of your business or your website is how you primarily generate revenue and capture leads, HubSpot is the smarter investment. HubSpot allows your internal team to build a fast and effective website that handles all of the hidden costs for you. Your payment? Upfront. Your service? Top-notch. Your business? Growing and thriving.
Sauce Marketing is a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner. That means we understand HubSpot inside and out and can help you build and design a great website for your business with HubSpot’s CMS. That doesn’t mean we aren’t capable and ready to help you through WordPress development and integration as well. We’re in the business of guiding our clients to grow, not fail. If WordPress meets your needs, then that’s what we help with. Like we said at the start: this isn’t about whether HubSpot or WordPress is better. We’re just here to help inform and guide the best choice for your business.
Schedule a call with a certified growth guide today to see which CMS is right for you.