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Using HubSpot CMS For Building Your Website: an Honest Review

Nov 15, 20217 min read

Dawid Karczewski

Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.

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HubSpot's low code development platform is known for its CRM functionality way more than for its CMS. However, the latter works perfectly fine too and offers a rich set of features. There are numerous reasons why you should host your website on HubSpot, from the easier development process to better business management. 

 

We can confirm this from our own experience. Our website was previously built with Nunjacks and had a WordPress blog. Such a structure wasn’t allowing much flexibility, as team members with little tech knowledge couldn’t make modifications to it by themselves. So, we decided to move the website to HubSpot CMS and after a year, we are very satisfied with that decision. 

 

HubSpot CMS has a wide variety of pre-made modules to use, however in order to unleash HubSpot’s full potential our dedicated development team has created multiple custom-made modules to fully meet all of our needs.

In this honest HubSpot CMS review, we want to share our experience of using CMS Hub and tell you about all the advantages and disadvantages that we have noticed on our way. 

What is HubSpot CMS?

HubSpot CMS is a no-code (or in some cases: low-code) tool that helps to create, design, customize, and maintain the website without or with little knowledge of web development and coding. 

 

It works as a drag-and-drop. You have hundreds of pre-made modules and templates that you change with a few clicks to correspond to your brand’s identity: add logos, use corporate colors and fonts, etc. You can also use app integrations to add more functionality to your website – they work like plugins in WordPress. 

If you want to publish new content, you do not need any special skills as well. The interface of the content publishing tool looks and works like those of text processors (Google Docs, Microsoft Words, etc.).

 

Such a CMS is a great solution for those who want to create their website but have no front-end knowledge and no opportunity to hire web developers and software consultants

 

If you can afford front-end developers but want to add content and maintain the website on your own, HubSpot CMS is the perfect tool as well. HubSpot automatically updates the website, integrates security tools (web application firewall, SSL, HSTS Max Age Directives, anomaly detection), and makes interactive elements implementations easy (forms and popups specifically). 

 

As we have mentioned in the beginning, HubSpot is also a customer relationship management solution. It means that you can not only create and manage your website but also power it with marketing automation tools. HubSpot offers the following features:

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As a result, you get an all-in-one platform. You do not need to use any other analytics, SEO, email, and social media tools: manage all aspects of your online presence within one tool. 

Why Did We Choose It Over Other Systems?

Last year our company underwent a significant change in our business and hiring models. In order to meet the ever-changing market needs, we wanted to enable our marketing, sales, communication, and hiring teams to make changes to the website by themselves. So we were looking for a CMS that will:

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We have analyzed the existing systems and assessed our previous experience with both WordPress and HubSpot to make the final decision. HubSpot met all our business needs perfectly so we decided to go for it. Even though we knew about certain limitations of the system from the very beginning and HubSpot CMS pricing, it was still the best solution on the market. With some help from back-end developers, we created lots of custom modules not to be limited with the default HubSpot features.

 

In our HubSpot CMS review, we want to highlight the benefits of HubSpot CMS for all our teams and clients:

Benefits for Our Development Team

The process was easy due to flexible themes, low code development, and our previous experience with HubSpot development. 

 

Our main aim was to reduce tech team involvement in the website’s management. And we achieved it! We were able to cut time and effort spent on content and website updates. In fact, the communication teams can do everything on their own now: they add new landing pages and edit old ones without our interference, the security updates and website updates are run automatically by HubSpot too. It turned out to be way more effort- and cost-efficient than self-host 

Benefits for Our Marketing Team

The marketing team can finally do all they need as soon as they need it. They do not have to wait for tech team availability. Now they create lead generation, recruitment, paid campaigns, and other kinds of landing pages and actually enjoy the process because it is that easy. The marketing and communication teams also implement A/B tests, forms, CTAs, automation, and workflows on their own. 

The other big benefit they have noticed is a unified environment. We hosted our blog on WordPress, self-hosted our main website, and used HubSpot and other tools for marketing. After we moved to CMS Hub, we could do everything in one place. 

Benefits for Our Customers

Customers can enjoy a seamless digital experience because we finally got to use HubSpot CRM tools to their fullest. We’ve utilized the power of the Smart Content feature in order to provide website visitors with content that is tailored to their needs. We also took advantage of the HubSpot analytics to draw meaningful insights from the analysis of user behavior. 

Why Did We Switch From WordPress When It Comes to Managing Our Blog?

As we have mentioned, our website was previously developed with Nunjacks and had a WordPress blog. WordPress is the most popular solution for blogs out there since it is free and open-source. Yet, we decided to move the blog to HubSpot CMS as well. 

 

It was really difficult to switch between website and blog management and analyze how both influenced each other. We also were limited in HubSpot CRM tools on WordPress because the official plugin does not integrate all necessary features. 

After we moved the blog to HubSpot, we also noticed the following HubSpot advantages compared to WordPress:

 

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As for the development, we have noticed that you will need help from professional developers in both website and blog development if you want to have an advanced final result.

What We Like and Dislike About Using HubSpot CMS?

We can not claim that HubSpot is a flawless solution. There won’t be other products on the market if the perfect one would have already excited. However, we do find that HubSpot CMS turned out to be the most beneficial option for our business needs. 

 

Here is the list of what we like and dislike about the system to give you a fuller HubSpot CMS review. 

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Speed of Development

When you are creating a fully custom, self-hosted website, it takes a lot of time to design, code, integrate different tools and features, and make everything work. With HubSpot CMS, you have many pre-made customizable themes and modules and integrate tools easily. We were able to skip repetitive code for the same features, make many pages without coding efforts, etc. It significantly reduced the development time and helped the website to be up and running in no time. 

All-In-One Platform

After we moved to CMS Hub, we were able to manage everything in one platform. We did not need to use any other external analytics, lead gen, email marketing tools, etc. When we had to use other services with self-host, we always had to deal with difficulties of integration: tools did not work to their fullest and sometimes showed unrealistic data. It was also troublesome to switch between all the applications. 

 

As for now, we do everything within HubSpot, both website- and marketing-wise. It created more room for team collaborations, eliminated any errors driven by multi-platform business management, and drove more accurate analytics. 

Analytics

The analytics capabilities of HubSpot go beyond any imagination. We market on many platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, paid search, etc. It was difficult to understand how all of these channels work together and influence user decisions. HubSpot helps to track everything on one platform, helping to analyze what channel drives the most conversions and to track every step of the customer journey. We were able to optimize our channels, identify our best-performing pages on the website and find out what made them so popular.

Experimenting

Real-time analytics and easy-to-implement A/B testing functionality of HubSpot allowed us to experiment with landing pages, CTAs, contact forms, homepage, and marketing emails. In such a way, we discovered valuable insights into visitor’s preferences and behavior. We are able to make informed decisions about our design and functionality that improved our time on the website and conversion rate significantly. 

Multiple Landing Pages Publishing

Before we converted into a tech talent marketplace, we had around twenty landing pages. We then had to create a hundred more. Normally, our developers had to do all of that following the instructions of the marketing team. Now our marketing team is in full charge of landing page creation: they decide on the structure, embed forms and popups, add images, videos, and texts, run tests, etc.

 

Global content makes the process way easier and faster too: some elements (logos, copyright date, menu, website heads, etc.) are automatically added to the page during the creation stage. So all pages are visually consistent and require as little effort as possible. 

 

Moreover, our marketing team can also publish multiple pages at once which drastically reduces the website update and development process. Speed and no tech skills involved were our main business needs and we did get them. 

Smart Content

Smart Content is probably our favorite feature in the system. Basically, an individual user sees the particular landing page based on their location, device type, referral source, preferred language. If you already have the contact of the person, you can show them even more personalized content. 

 

It requires zero effort on our side, works perfectly in CMS Hub native environment, and skyrocketed our conversion rates.

What We Do Not Like About HubSpot CMS

Limits in Customization

We have high design, UX/UI, and functionality expectations and wanted to make the website as custom as possible. It meant that we had to write a lot of custom code since the CMS Hub options are a bit limited. 

 

We were also not really satisfied with native popups – they look unpleasant in the end, which drives away potential customers. We created a custom design and tried to implement it on the platform as well. 

 

However, we later discovered that it is not so easy to add customizations, especially in lead forms. We had to find a way to work around the said differences: our developers wrote custom modules in JavaScript that we later uploaded through HubSpot’s CLI. 

Performance

If you do not need a website that is too advanced, you are unlikely to run into this issue: HubSpot CMS actually takes pride in the speed of its website. 

However, we wrote a lot of custom JavaScript code to create custom modules which have negatively influenced the website performance. We had to optimize the entire code once again but were not able to get rid of all redundant parts. 

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Conclusion 

After a year from the release, we are more sure than ever that Hubspot CMS was a perfect choice for our needs. 

 

The migration to Hubspot CMS visibly improved our key metrics and led to over 100% traffic increase in compassion with the previous period, 33% increase of the average time spent on the website, and a doubled conversion rate. 

 

Compared to our previous experience with a self-hosted website built with Nunjacks and blog set on WordPress, we would rate HubSpot CMS solid nine out of ten. It has minor inconveniences with customization but you would barely notice them if you have a less advanced website. We enjoy speedy development, amazing marketing, and analytics tools, and options for non-tech marketing team members. 

 

The CMS Hub is perfect for businesses that rely heavily on content marketing and SEO. If you want to combine your marketing, sales, and website management efforts in one tool, this solution is a savior. However, if it is a small business with little customization needs and content marketing dependence, you will probably like free solutions on the CMS market. 

 

If after reading this HubSpot CMS review you still have some questions left about the HubSpot itself or our experience with it, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to answer all of your questions in detail.

 

In case you’ve already decided that HubSpot CMS is exactly what you need, our Hubspot Developers could profoundly analyze your unique case and offer the best-fitting technical solution.

Dawid Karczewski

Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.

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