Websites should grow as your business does and we've often shared our thoughts on the growth-driven design approach. It helps with ensuring that your design efforts sync up with sales and marketing efforts at your business/organisation. As you bring in more traffic and increase your customer base, we want to design a website that facilitates evolution. So it's not always about fancy website design, it's about creating an entire experience that you'd want to focus on.
As you consider the new way of working from anywhere, it's more likely that people will be typing search terms in to Google, to find what they are looking for and chances are that they will land on your website. Whether you are a B2B or B2C isn't that important anymore as the current situation has made us look at our digital presence even more than we have in the past.
At Connect Labs, we've worked with companies with different needs - from startups to enterprise organisations. We're not IT or development only so we don't start with hosting and other technical aspects, we start with the business and the people in it. This means that our focus is steered toward running a content-first approach so we can provide context to people when they need it or come looking for it.
Choosing a Content Management System (CMS) is a very important step when thinking of a launching or redesigning a website.
As HubSpot partners and also fans of the simple-to-use and made-for-humans interface, we provide two options for our potential clients to consider:
- Option 1 : Build your website on HubSpot’s CMS
- Option 2: Build your website on Wordpress and integrate with HubSpot
If budget is your main concern and it’s tight, Wordpress can be your better option as the initial outlay is lower. However, if you’re able to, there are numerous factors to consider, like your team’s time, additional and hidden costs over time, the level of customisation you’d like to achieve - and an important one: your happiness using the platform. When you are able to consider these other variables, then we tend to recommend the HubSpot CMS.
When your budget is a primary consideration it's important not to forget about hidden/opportunity costs.
To give you a better sense of what we mean, we’ve outlined the budget to expect for both Wordpress and HubSpot as well as those special considerations you should truly think about when choosing the best CMS for your new website, based on three relatable stages of business development - startup, SMB and enterprise organisation.
Scenario #1: For Startups or Small Business Owners
Initial Time Investment from Team
With a Wordpress site, you can expect your team whether internal or external, to spend roughly 100 - 150 hours building your website. This includes everything from purchasing the domain and hosting service to choosing and installing a theme to building/developing your pages to finding the right plugins (there are over 53,000 on Wordpress.org). For simplicity sake, let’s say, your employee salary breaks down to $50/hour - that’s $5,000 - $7,500 extra to add to the above total. With HubSpot, you are looking at more like 25-50 hours of your team’s time. For that same employee, this rounds out to $1,250 - $2,500 additional cost.
As a new business, you need your website to speak on your behalf and win people over. If the site is slow to load, isn’t responsive on all devices or is hard to navigate, the user experience is going to be poor and people are going to explore other options (i.e. your competitors), meaning lost potential revenue. HubSpot’s CMS takes care of these elements for you; with Wordpress, you’ll want to explore plugins or developers for assistance.
"The first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time." (Portent, 2019)
Maintenance & Updates
Especially as a startup, you will likely want to be able to make changes to your website quickly. If these changes are text-based, you shouldn’t have too many issues, but if the changes are any more complex, you’ll likely need to lean on a developer or additional plugins. I’ll give you an example. Just yesterday, I needed to make a few minor updates to one of our client’s websites, which lives on Wordpress. One update in particular was that I needed to make a set of links open in a new tab instead of within the same tab. This is something you can do easily in HubSpot and it’s not hard to figure out. Not the case with Wordpress. Ultimately, after spending 10 or so minutes trying to figure out how to do it, I ended up punting over to our team of developers to handle (along with a few other items for the sake of transparency). This is fine for our team as we work closely together, but not likely something you want to deal with as a startup.
Your website should not only be your salesperson, but your investigator, helping you learn about your leads and customers. Behavioural analytics is captured within HubSpot, and luckily, HubSpot integrates well with Wordpress, allowing you to manage your contacts in the HubSpot CRM, use HS forms, pop-ups and live chats on your WP site and leverage HubSpot’s built-in analytics. However, keep in mind that not all WP templates integrate with the plugins you might want to leverage on your website, so that is something you should do your research on when selecting a design theme.
Scenario #2: For Medium-Sized Businesses
As an SMB, you’re probably in that tricky position where you don’t need a full-time developer dedicated to maintaining your website and you outsource when you need assistance. With HubSpot, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Once the site is built, it’s relatively easy to clone templates and create new pages, drag and drop modules to customise those pages, create new forms, make edits, add images and CTAs, etc. - all with little to no coding. With Wordpress, you’ll likely need to lean on a developer to make these types of changes, so you’ll likely be investing more in developer expertise over time.
Your Team’s Time
As an SMB, the team managing your website and marketing is likely on the smaller side - roughly one to five people. That team has a lot on its plate - from creating a strategy to making sure the website is attracting the right leads and converting as well as blogging, social media, email marketing, paid ads, potentially running events, working with partners and so on. You want your team to be able to edit, update and add elements to your website swiftly without having to spend hours navigating how to do so or bringing in a developer. Think of it this scenario. Your company has developed a new service and it’s time to add it to your website. Your marketing team has drafted up the copy, knows what information it wants to collect from potential leads and has a go-to market strategy. Now you just have to build the landing page for the service and add it to your homepage. With HubSpot, you can do this in about 1-2 hours. With Wordpress, depending on how customised your site is, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to make the page the way you want it on your own, so you’ll have to call in a developer. Expect this to take more time, like 4-5 hours, potentially over a couple of days. That’s considerable more time and effort to build one new page.
Chances are if you’re a SMB, your business has reached a certain level of success and you’ve started to employ or are already using other platforms to make your life easier - think Pandadoc, Xero, Zendesk, Slack, Stripe. You want these platforms to integrate seamlessly with your website and CRM so you don’t have to jump between tools or update information in two places. With HubSpot, it is easy to integrate numerous apps, including the ones already mentioned. With Wordpress, you’ll need to find a plug-in to facilitate these connections. The problem is the more plugins you have, generally the slower your site runs, so as you grow and need more plugins, you want to be weary of affecting your website’s speed. Additionally, plugins don’t always work in the way you want, which means you might need to bring in developers to tweak or create customised code.
"Message Personalisation is the number one tactic used by email marketers to improve performance." (HubSpot, 2020)
When you’re a startup business, your website mainly needs to help people learn about you and help you learn about them. Once you’ve reached SMB level, your customers are going to start to expect that you know them and your leads will want to find information that truly speaks to them. To do this, you need to be pulling in solid analytics tied with your buyer personas and work to use smart content, which is content that adjusts based on a contact’s behaviour with your website. With the HubSpot CRM and CMS, you can do this quite seamlessly. With Wordpress, this will require plugins - not a huge issue if you have time, but it’s a matter of whether that’s how you want to be spending your time.
InteractivityPeople want to hear from you quickly, even if it’s to say that you appreciate them contacting you and will get back to them. Enter live chats and chat bots. Depending on the size of your team, you might have someone dedicated to customer service who could manage the live chat - or customer service is one of someone’s many jobs where a chatbot might make more sense. Regardless, this type of instant interactivity is important. HubSpot offers live chat and conversational bot features within the platform. With Wordpress, this can be achieved by integrating a plug-in, like HubSpot for instance.
Scenario #3: For Large Organisations
How well multiple teams can optimise the website
As a larger company, you need a website that can accommodate the various teams that it needs to work for. With HubSpot’s CMS Pro, you can easily organise your landing pages and emails with folders, so teams don’t have to sift through or search for their content. Or with HubSpot’s CMS Enterprise, you have a ‘partitioning’ functionality which allows you to give permissions to specific roles and teams for your blog posts, site pages, etc. so people can see only the blogs, pages, etc that apply to them.
Training & Simplicity of Use
When selecting software for a larger company, you should always think through how easy they are to onboard and advance with. If a new tool gets introduced or new hires have to learn the system, you want to consider how long it takes someone to understand how to use it. With HubSpot, because the majority of the functionality that would be used is within the platform, there’s less of a learning curve. Once you learn one part of the platform, everything is quite easy to pick up. With Wordpress, you need to train on not only the platform, but the assortment of plugins, and as has been mentioned, often you need developer knowledge to truly optimise your use of Wordpress.
This is even more crucial as a larger business as your customers will expect you to cater to them. By this stage, you will know who your customers are, may have several personas and need to have a website that caters to all of them. As noted, with HubSpot, you can use smart content to adjust what different contacts see and continuously learn about them with how they interact with your website and other marketing content. You can accomplish this Wordpress extensions, but you run the risk of teams opting for different tools and this could be a bit of a nightmare for your IT team.
As a large business, you likely have reached a point where you have keen brand loyalists that you need to continue to keep happy. A great way to do this is with exclusive content. HubSpot offers password-protected pages with its CMS that allow you to do this. With Wordpress, you can accomplish this with customised development or plugins.
Ultimately, Wordpress and HubSpot are both excellent platforms, but there is a lot to consider when deciding which is right for you. Cost is a big factor but it’s not the only factor. You want to contemplate maintenance, security, functionality over time and of course, your team’s time and happiness. With your website, it’s like buying a house - you want to invest your money in something that works for you and grows with you.
If you could use help deciding which CMS is right for you and/or redesigning your website, please feel free to get in touch. Our team would love to help!