Deciding which Content Management System (CMS) is the right one to build a website for marketing your B2B focused business isn’t easy. If you ask 10 people you could get 10 answers. That’s because there are a lot of great choices and deciding which is the right one for you is a decision that’s often based on your experience, your objectives, and sometimes your budget.
There’s no definitive best choice for a CMS – but there’s a long list of pros and cons to help you decide which is the right CMS for you. Because there are so many options, we’re going to focus this review on two of the most often used platforms WordPress and HubSpot CMS.
Whether you’re measuring qualitatively or quantitatively, WordPress and HubSpot will be at, or near the top of any list. Builtwith Trends reports that WordPress and HubSpot are in the top 10 on their list of the most used content management systems from 2017 to 2019.
WordPress is an open-source CMS platform and is the most popular content management system (CMS), it powers nearly 25% of the websites across the entire internet and 49% of the top one million sites. HubSpot just breaks into the top 10, powering about 6,000 of the top one million sites, but is showing an incredible 400% growth trend.
Qualitatively, users on G2 Crowd have rated WordPress and HubSpot impressively, giving them an overall satisfaction rating of 99% and 98% respectively raking them at the top of their Web Content Management Software list.
We’re going to evaluate these two platforms using six key competencies that are critically important when determining which CMS is right for your B2B site: Content Authoring & Management, Search Engine Optimization, Page Speed, Personalization & Dynamic Content, Security & Maintenance, and Hosting & Cost.
|General Capabilities||WordPress – WordPress can be used to build relatively simple to extremely complex websites. You’ll see everything from a basic blog to a sophisticated ecommerce site built on the platform.||HubSpot – HubSpot is best for blogs and basic websites that do not require advanced functionality like custom web applications or user authentication.|
|Content Authoring||WordPress – The WordPress CMS can be architected in a way that makes creating and managing content easy while keeping access to foundational styling and layouts locked down and out of the reach of content authors.||HubSpot – The HubSpot interface is very user-friendly for creating content quickly and allows end users to tweak their content and designs without knowing how to code. Though we have found that this can make it difficult to control the quality of the end result.|
Our Recommendation for General Capabilities – WordPress is the swiss army knife and gets our vote for most impressive capabilities. If you’re looking for a solid platform that can be used for almost anything, it won’t disappoint.
Our Recommendation for Content Authoring – At the expense of giving end users ultimate creative freedom, WordPress gets our nod as the most practical and sustainable content authoring platform. Keep your content authors focused on creating content, and enjoy the consistency and stability of not having everyone manage design and styling decisions for each blog post or web page independently.
|SEO||WordPress – WordPress is built for SEO and when you add the popular plugin, Yoast SEO, it excels at helping you focus on getting your pages ranked. Offering users the ability to manage metadata on a page by page basis or using sophisticated templates to manage content globally, WordPress and Yoast give users an amazing array of tools and reporting metrics to maximize search engine optimization.||HubSpot – HubSpot is also designed with SEO in mind, though its implementation is not as robust nor as complete as the WordPress/Yoast offering. While HubSpot does provide a nice checklist to help you make sure to optimize all key page elements (meta, alt tags for images, including keywords in your URL, etc. it does not include the capability to manage metadata globally across your site, setting default formulas for titles and meta descriptions like you can with Yoast for WordPress.|
Our Recommendation for SEO – This is a coin flip, but in the end, we give a slight edge to HubSpot for most business websites. The ability to set a formulaic default title or meta description may prove useful for larger sites where content changes frequently, but be careful. It’s easy to trade missing metadata for poor quality duplicitous metadata.
|Page speed||WordPress – With Google continuing to value mobile experiences as an increasingly important metric for getting ranked highly, you need to choose a CMS and hosting option that is customized to maximize your page speed performance. We recommend and use WP Engine for hosting and TinyPNG for image compression as well as following all of the best practices outlined by Google’s Page Speed Insights. Doing so is easy and helps you to optimize your site for fast loading.||HubSpot – As a fully contained solution, HubSpot’s speed optimization is automatically managed for users on their platform. This managed approach removes much of the burden for end users but does present some challenges. For instance, our testing shows that mobile page speed for sites on the HubSpot CMS is not as good as it could be because of render-blocking resources which you can not change.|
|AMP||WordPress – The Official AMP Plugin for WordPress supports fully integrated AMP publishing including both blog posts and site pages. That said, getting custom field (ACF) content to show on AMP pages will require custom development.||HubSpot – HubSpot has built-in settings to create AMP pages for blog posts. Though at this time HubSpot does not support AMP for landing pages or website pages.|
Our Recommendation for Page Speed – Geek alert. We’re going to give the slight edge to WordPress because we like being able to tinker and tune things.
Our Recommendation for AMP – WordPress’ out of the box capabilities put it ahead of HubSpot for AMP support.
|Experiments||WordPress – WordPress will require a 3rd party solution for experiments. We recommend using Google Optimize to test variations of your pages.||HubSpot – HubSpot has built-in A/B testing for pages created in HubSpot.|
Our Recommendation for Content Personalization – HubSpot is the clear winner.
Our Recommendation for Experiments – HubSpot’s out of the box functionality gives it an edge for testing and optimizing pages based on performance.
*HubSpot Dynamic content requires Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise.
|Security||WordPress – WordPress is an open source solution which means that each user is responsible for the security and maintenance of their site. You will have to regularly update and fix any features that may break over time. SmartAcre has a WP Security package for this.||HubSpot – HubSpot is a hosted solution and maintains the entire platform for you. With HubSpot you will not have to worry about security or updating and maintaining your site.|
Our Recommendation for Security – You’re paying for it, but HubSpot’s SaaS approach is tough to argue against. No time spent patching security vulnerabilities means more time developing B2B leads.
|Hosting||WordPress – WordPress is open source so it’s free. That said, for a commercial site you’ll want a professional hosting solution. Setup, configuration and maintenance will add to total cost of ownership, but remember you didn’t pay a cent for the software. SmartAcre has a hosting package for this.||HubSpot – HubSpot is a hosted solution so if you’ve bought the software, you’ve also bought your hosting solution. Cost starts at $300/mo for the Starter plan with the CMS add-on.|
|Staging Site||WordPress – WP Engine hosting includes a staging site and makes it very easy to manage copying your site from staging to live and vice versa. This makes content reviews and approvals, site updates, or product launches a breeze.||HubSpot – HubSpot is a hosted solution and maintains the entire platform for you. With HubSpot you will not have to worry about security or updating and maintaining your site.|
Our Recommendation for Hosting – Because there is such a wide variety of hosting options available and only you know which hosting plan (and its associated costs) are right for you we’re going to punt on this one. You crunch the numbers and figure out which is right.
Our Recommendation for Staging Site – Well, you’re paying for this too, but for our money, a hosting provider like WP Engine offering complete staging capabilities gives you optimal control.
Very often, we don’t choose to use either WordPress or HubSpot, but rather we use both WordPress and HubSpot. For the main website, we’ll often leverage the SmartAcre Design and Development teams’ experience building WordPress websites to deliver a complex site where advanced capabilities are required. For these situations, the highly customizable framework that WordPress offers is unsurpassed. But, as a B2B marketing agency focused on demand generation for our clients we also rely on the proven marketing automation tools from HubSpot when developing Landing Pages, blogs or other resources where content personalization and testing for conversion rate optimization are critical.
If you are still undecided or have more questions about the differences between WordPress and HubSpot please contact us. We’d be happy to get you the help you need to choose the right CMS.