Lately, I've been talking with business owners who are wanting to understand the difference between a WordPress Content Management System (CMS) and the HubSpot software solution. Both can be categorized as a CMS. But there are differences in set up, features and usability to consder. This post will address the set up characteristics between the platforms.
From a user perspective, I run both types. ZephyrMarketing.net is built on a self-hosted WordPress application utilizing the Headway Theme (more about themes later), and B2BInbound.com (this blog and website) runs on the HubSpot Small Business solution. So, I have experience with both platforms and would like to share some key differences that may help you decide which is best for you.
WordPress Setup Considerations
If you have the time and technical ability you can set up a self-hosted WordPress application yourself. Or, for a fee, you could hire someone to do it for you. Find a hosting company that offers the auto-installation wizard such as Fantastico that makes it relatively a snap to install the application to get you up and running. I prefer HostGator for my WordPress sites. They also have terrific support, so if you get stuck they can help you out.
Once you have the application up and running you'll need to apply a design skin or "Theme" to it. Make sure to choose an SEO-friendly theme such as Thesis or Headway. These themes also make it easier for the novice to customize the look and feel of the site with little to no knowledge of coding or customization needed. ZephyrMarketing.net runs on the Headway theme.
WordPress is open source software and there's no cost to install and utilize it for your website. Most plug-ins are free, and there are many free Themes, but I recommend spending some money to purchase a quality, premium theme.
For DIY'ers, to get started, up and running with WordPress you could expect to spend around a minimum $200 in hard costs for the first year. That includes hosting and a premium theme. You should also consider the cost of your time. A professional could do the initial set up in a couple of hours. Configuring the design, setting up plug-ins and optimizing the configurations could take another 6 to 10 hours (or more). Creating a more custom design could take considerably longer, and then it needs to be integrated or implemented with your chosen theme. A novice DIY'er should expect to double or triple these estimates.
I also highly recommend investing in the copywriting optimization and SEO plug-in called, "Scribe SEO." It's a subscription based software service that helps you optimize your blog posts and content pages for keywords and SEO best practices. It will run you between $17 to $97 per month. This type of optimization service is included in all HubSpot products (in the form of Keyword Grader, Page Grader and Blog Optimizer) at no addtional charge.
HubSpot Setup Considerations
There's a couple of ways to get started with HubSpot. One way is to start a trial without having to make any changes to your current website. A proof of concept trial will help you understand how the integrated tools of HubSpot work. You'll also be able to quickly run some "trial experiments" to see what the HubSpot solution can do for you. A Certified HubSpot Partner (such as this one) can help you get started with a trial.
The second way, of course, is to sign up directly or choose a Certified HubSpot Partner to get you up and running. The advantage of using a HubSpot Official Partner is they know the software and how to effectivley set everything up in the shortest amount of time. You can check out B2B Inbound's HubSpot set up and migration services to get an idea of what's involved.
With regards to pricing, the Small Business solution for example is $750 the first month and $250 thereafter. $500 of the first month's investment goes towards on-boarding and your quick-start program. Partners also offer this service.
With HubSpot there's no need to install a theme. You can easily upload a logo or banner image and customize the fonts and colors to suit your tastes. HubSpot is a Software as a Services (SaaS) platform so everything you need for SEO, analytics, features and functionality is self-contained within the application. There's no need to find and install modules, widgets or plug-ins as there is with WordPress to customize it to your requirements.
One of the key differences you'll find between the two applications is in the area of support. HubSpot as a service is vested in your successful setup and use of their software and inbound marketing methodology. HubSpot's Success portal has numerous self-help articles, a guided tour, customer forums, customer webinars (live and recorded) and both telephone and email based support. With WordPress, you may find some help through the WordPress.org site where you'll find Docs a news Blog and user Forum. But you're pretty much on your own to figure things out. There's no phone or email support as there is with HubSpot.
Furthermore, when WordPress issues a software revision you'll be notified of it, but you are required to perform the upgrade yourself, or have your webmaster do it. Same is true with the themes. With HubSpot, automatic upgrades and enhancements to the application is provided without any additional cost. HubSpot is continually enhancing the functionality and adding features and marketing tools to the software as can be seen by their product updates.
So, those are some differences and things to think about when deciding between a WordPress or HubSpot website. You'll also want to consider what features and functionality you need and what you want out of your software in terms of marketing and lead generation. I'll cover these aspects in future posts.
What questions or comments about the set up of WordPress or HubSpot do you have?