Here at Salted Stone we're confronted with this question on a weekly basis. On what platform should I build my website? Is the cost of HubSpot truly worth the investment? Does it really make a difference?
As an agency we can and do build creative engaging websites on both platforms so this evaluation is made strictly on the merits of WordPress and HubSpot. The only bias I have is related to what will deliver measurable results for our clients.
Today's websites need to be more than just a placeholder or an online brochure. If you want to get the attention of search engines and potential customers, you need to provide valuable content and engagement.
Websites need to be optimized for user experience, search engines, lead generation and conversions. In essence, you need to have a viable inbound marketing program. This starts with building an optimized website and then executing an ongoing strategy to build your brand and capture leads.
Both WordPress and HubSpot can be used for inbound marketing, however, only HubSpot was truly designed for that purpose.
HubSpot vs. WordPress
WordPress is simply a basic blogging and website content management system (CMS). Its ease of use and low cost of entry makes it seem a viable platform for building your website.
However, those are its only advantages. It is not meant to be a robust marketing system. If you want to jury-rig it for that purpose you need to cobble together additional third party tools. This means you will need third party tools to provide:
- landing pages
- social media
- contact lists
- email capabilities
- mobile optimization
- and the list goes on...
For many of these functions you will need different third party tools that do not share information. It is cumbersome and inefficient.
HubSpot was designed to be a fully integrated robust marketing automation platform and when the company introduced its Content Optimization System (COS) in 2014, it was a game changer. HubSpot was designed from the ground up to be an inbound marketing platform.
The HubSpot COS enables you to do many things including, but not limited to, the creation and management of Demand Generation Campaigns, Content Marketing, and Marketing Automation, that can be targeted and customized for different buyer personas and different stages of the sales process.
The HubSpot COS provides a website that is automatically responsive to all screen sizes. It has a drag-and-drop template builder and WYSIWYG for those who desire simplicity. It also accommodates virtually whatever functionality and vision your designers and developers might have for your website.
It has fully integrated SEO, Social Sharing, Analytics, Landing Pages, Contact List, Email and Workflows into a powerful platform. It also seamlessly integrates into the most popular CRMs including Salesforce.
For those who do not need all the bells and whistles that come with Salesforce, HubSpot has developed their own CRM that both aligns with the marketing process and allows for the tracking and automation of many sales processes.
Imagine having a website that transitions to be unique for each buyer persona at each stage of the buyer's journey. Each time someone visits your site they see new, fresh information that directly relates to their concerns and interest.
HubSpot's Contextual Marketing and Personalization abilities allow you to have a conversation with your website visitors. Each vertical you serve and every different buyer persona has unique pain points and concerns.
So after you identify where a visitor fits, your site can morph to show them the information most relevant to them. Even the same individual will have different concerns and interests as they navigate from awareness to consideration and finally onto a buying stage. With HubSpot your site can be setup to show different information as they navigate this buyer's journey. Your website is now having a conversation with each visitor.
Still on the fence as whether to build your site on the HubSpot COS or WordPress?
For clients who want results, the choice is easy. However, I still find my clients cite five reasons for considering WordPress over HubSpot. I am about to challenge those beliefs.
Open Source Architecture
The most prevalent justification people use for selecting WordPress is its open source architecture. This means that you are not tied to any individual hosting company. If you do not like the service, you can move your site with very little, if any, cost.
The fact is that being open source has become one of the biggest weaknesses of WordPress. The open source architecture has made it increasingly more susceptible to hackers and security issues. For companies in the SaaS, medical, or technology sectors, this vulnerability can be extremely costly.
Cost of Hosting
The next reason that WordPress may be chosen over HubSpot is the cost of hosting and the cost to rebuild the site should you decide to quit HubSpot. If you are planning to use WordPress and sync it to HubSpot for marketing, the cost of the COS should not be the overriding factor.
If you are operating a business you need a hosting service that is reliable and secure (e.g .WPEngine). The hosting cost using a reliable and secure platform for WordPress is virtually the same as placing your site on the HubSpot COS if you are already planning on using the marketing automation tools.
Cost to Rebuild the Site
Another concern is what happens if you decide to leave HubSpot.
It's been my experience that when clients implement an inbound marketing program that meets best practices, they never consider leaving the HubSpot platform because the ROI is there.
However, gone are the days where you build your website and leave it alone for years. To have an effective digital presence, your website should be optimized continuously to reflect best practices. This investment in your web presence is now simply part of doing business.
Look at all the Widgets
WordPress is renowned for having a slew of widgets that can do virtually anything. However, the dirty little secret is that they often break when updates roll through and if the errors aren't caught, they can make your website and brand look very unprofessional.
HubSpot is a fully integrated platform that has all the necessary marketing tools you could need. And if you need something that isn't currently offered, one of HubSpot's partner agencies can implement a custom solution.
You do not need to worry about any one aspect of your site breaking because it is built on one platform, not an amalgamation of widgets.
Cost of HubSpot
Many clients cite the cost of the HubSpot platform as a critical factor. However, I like to have clients consider instead the cost of failure? The cost of missing out on potential sales because you have chosen a marketing system cobbled together of the least expensive alternatives.
I tell my clients that I choose to compete on results, not price. If you deliver to your company a steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are contacting you for more information and looking for engagement, no one will be concerned if HubSpot costs more. If you deliver meager results, they won't question the platform either, they will question the person responsible for delivering the leads.
HubSpot is a marketing automation platform that integrates all the elements you need to attract, nurture, convert, close and of course delight your new customers. And if you're serious about achieving marketing success, you need to have an inbound marketing program that delivers what each buyer persona needs to see at each stage of the buyer's journey.
With something as important as the future success of your company and your career at stake, it makes sense to at least consider the marketing capabilities of the HubSpot COS.
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