One of the most common questions we get from prospects is “Should we build our website on HubSpot or WordPress?” Maybe we're biased, as a Diamond-tier HubSpot agency partner and a WPEngine Partner Agency, but we think there's room for both.
HubSpot and WordPress can usually be leveraged as complementary, not competing, platforms. While integrations between the two have existed for years (we’ve built hundreds of workflows and custom systems ourselves) HubSpot and WPEngine recently announced an official partnership, through which users of both platforms will now have easier access to the HubSpot plugin and tools on certain templates.
Before we go any further, let me clarify: WordPress and WPEngine are sometimes referred to interchangeably, but they are in fact very different. WordPress is a CMS, or content management system, and WPEngine is a hosting provider. For the sake of this post, we’re referring to WordPress websites that also use WPEngine as their hosting provider.
If our website is already on WordPress, why would we need to add HubSpot into the mix?
Imagine you’re opening up a new restaurant. You spend months finalizing every detail of the menu and the design of the restaurant interior. It’s going to look great and have incredibly delicious food.
Grand opening week comes and the restaurant is packed. Things are looking great! Then week two rolls around and you discover that revenue has dropped significantly because you have less than half the patrons than you did the first week. You have no idea where they went or how to get them back because you haven’t implemented any systems to capture and store customer information.
In the same way, if you have an ultra modern website with sleek graphics but no way to attract and retain visitors and leads, then all you have is a good-looking site taking up real estate on the internet.
If your website is using WordPress as a CMS, then HubSpot is the perfect pairing as a powerful CRM, or customer relationship management platform. Here are some examples of how we can help you integrate HubSpot with your WordPress site:
- Embed HubSpot forms to capture leads and add them to segmented lists.
- Implement automated email marketing to engage with leads after they submit a form.
- Add live chat or chatbots to score leads, close deals, and provide faster, tailored answers to your customers’ questions.
- Track visitors and conversion rates to constantly update or refine content for improved performance.
The beauty of this integration is that you can keep updating your site on the same WordPress dashboard you’re used to - all you’re doing is leveling up your marketing, sales, and customer service/support capabilities.
We’re using HubSpot for our CMS and CRM. What do we need WPEngine for?
From a technical standpoint, we get a lot of questions about whether HubSpot can be used as an all-in-one CMS, CRM, and hosting provider. Technically yes, you can build a site, host it on HubSpot, and run your marketing and sales through one platform. However, there are restrictions to building on HubSpot. Activities that require running server-side code are impossible to do on HubSpot.
Let’s say you wanted to build a customer forum on your site, and the functionality you’re looking for includes upvoting, commenting, or creating new posts. That would basically require a fully custom database, which HubSpot doesn’t allow for. The closest thing to an editable database within HubSpot would be HubDB, which more closely resembles an Excel spreadsheet.
We recently built a customer forum for a client who was concerned about security. We chose to build it on WordPress with WPEngine as the hosting provider. In addition to the security that WPEngine provides, building it on WordPress allowed users to create accounts. If you’re not looking to host an element that is completely built from scratch, there are many plugins on WordPress customer forums that you can use. In this particular case, the client’s main marketing website was built on HubSpot, while their customer forum was built on WordPress under a subdomain.
Another example of a project where we chose to build on WordPress was a site that included a property search with advanced filtering and the ability to create a user account to save certain results. Two features that were incredibly useful during this project were WPEngine’s staging environment and the backup system.
A staging environment is basically a copy of your live site, a sandbox to play around with new changes and features. Changes to the staging site won’t affect the live site, but once you’ve finalized those changes on staging, all it takes is the click of a button to copy the staging site over to the live site.
In any instance where you accidentally copy staging over to live before the changes are ready, you can always revert back to a previous version because of WPEngine’s automatic backup feature.
Even if you already use HubSpot, you can build on WPEngine if you want to create something more complicated while continuing to capture leads to send to HubSpot.
So what does this new partnership between HubSpot and WPEngine mean for you? It means that instead of wondering whether you should choose HubSpot or WordPress, you can choose both!