Front-end Developer, 15+ Years of Web Development on HubSpot and Various CMSs
January 21st, 2019
WordPress is by far the world’s most utilized content management system, currently powering around 25% of the internet. It started out primarily as a blogging platform, but its open-source nature provided a way to extend its out-of-the-box capabilities into the powerhouse it is today.
HubSpot is an end-to-end MAP and COS ( Marketing Automation Platform and Content Organization System, respectively) that provides the consummate solution for companies that have embraced, live and breathe an inbound marketing philosophy.
Both WordPress and HubSpot embrace inbound practices by making it easy for marketers to continually add content to their websites without having to rely on a developer, but HubSpot takes the prize when it comes to marketing automation -- empowering marketers to communicate with their target audience at the perfect time, then track their efforts -- seamlessly.
I mean, what good is a marketing website, if it isn’t set up in a way that helps you to nail your marketing goals and communicate to your audience throughout their buying journey?
Still, for companies that are only beginning to practice inbound, and have established websites that are built on WordPress, there are some concerns that seem to be universal.
Common concerns we’ve encountered from customers when proposing a move from WordPress to HubSpot
1. Lack of server-side programming
This was a hiccup I experienced myself. As a web developer of 15+ years (I’ve probably hit the 20 year mark by now, but I don’t want to feel too old), I’ve developed over 150 websites using WordPress. It’s been my go-to throughout most of my career and I’m intimately familiar with its capabilities and benefits.
A little over six months ago, I began working at IMPACT, where we primarily develop websites on HubSpot. At the time I joined the team, I had never worked with HubSpot so, at first, I was a little apprehensive when I learned that its website platform does not include server-side access or programming.
I thought to myself, “How can we develop websites that provide the best experience for users, both backend and frontend, without access to server side programming? How can we make websites extensible and smart?”
After a very short while working with HubSpot, I realized that HubSpot, coupled with IMPACT’s proprietary web development process, is at the forefront of inbound marketing and customer experience. For the vast majority of marketing websites, it’s quite possible ( even easy ) to develop smart websites that are hyper marketing focused -- all without the need for server access.
In addition, HubSpot’s website platform makes it easy for developers to create template frameworks that are future-proof and can accommodate the vast majority of your content needs.
Yeah, I was impressed.
Looking back, there are a ton of websites I developed in the past that would have truly benefited from the marketing automation at HubSpot’s core. Plus, as a developer, I would have enjoyed so many of its built-in conveniences. We’ll come back to those shortly.
2. Creative limitations
After working with HubSpot for the last six months, I have not encountered a single occasion where a design could not be accomplished on the platform.
The only limitations we’ve encountered have been regarding external APIs that require authentication. For websites that cannot find an alternative solution for this, HubSpot’s COS probably isn’t the tool to use.
3. Not open source
Being open source sounds very beneficial because open source communities are passionate and subscribe to the idea that it’s good to help one another achieve a common goal.
While this is true for the vast majority of developers, there are some that use this to their advantage. Since all open source code is readily available on the internet, malicious coders can exploit vulnerabilities within that code for nefarious reasons -- from stealing your customers’ personal information to hosting files for an illegal operation -- all unbeknownst to you until it’s too late. To keep an open source website secure, one has to be on top of it all the time.
4. Afraid of scalability/lack of control
WordPress and other content management systems (CMS) like Joomla and Drupal are known for their scalability, extensibility and control. Well, HubSpot affords tremendous control and scalability on what’s important -- your content. The rest of the control needed depends on what your site’s features, functionality and needs really are. With control over things like servers and the like, comes great responsibility, too. This can prove costly. If your website is not contributing to the bottom line because your marketing goals aren’t aligned, then what good is control?
Conveniences and features available on HubSpot that our customers don’t even know about when they’re coming from WordPress
1. Update / Upgrade Free Zone
When you use WordPress as a standalone CMS, there are so many inherent processes that one needs to follow to ensure your site performs at its very best. There are server, hardware and software considerations along with their subsequent updates and upgrades, WordPress upgrades, theme updates, plugin updates -- each one having the potential to break your website, thus requiring a developer be involved to continually ensure zero downtime.
All of the updates I’ve described above are taken care of by HubSpot inside their closed system. Servers, hosting, software, etc. are maintained and updated on the backend -- leaving you to focus on marketing to your customers.
2. A Built-In CDN ( Content Delivery Network )
CDNs allow you to take your static resources ( images, video and resource files ) and make them available across a worldwide network of servers. This makes delivery of those resources super fast depending on the originating request.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. A similar principle applies to network latency. When your images come from the nearest possible server based on your current connection to the internet, they load faster. This kind of optimization is built-in to HubSpot and, among other reasons, is responsible for making websites load much faster for your end-user. As we’ve covered in other articles, page load speed is one huge factor affecting customer experience when visiting websites.
Among many of the automation tools available within HubSpot is its workflow capabilities. You can pre-determine ways to communicate with different audience(s) inside a visual interface, making it stupid simple to send emails, set up webhooks, score leads, rotate leads to sales, and easily manage your data in bulk by updating properties, copying values, and more.
A WordPress developer’s take on all of this...
There are many reasons your company may actually need to be on WordPress. You may need specialized eCommerce functionality, have a need for specific post types or you may have to integrate your website with an API that requires authentication, etc.
Believe me, I get it. WordPress provides the backbone for 25% of the web for a reason, but there is a huge part of that market that would do much better on HubSpot.