Whether you’re planning a website makeover or want to create something from scratch, the first question that comes to mind is inevitable: “where should I build my website”?
It may seem easy, but with more than 50 content management system software available, your research can quickly become an avalanche of questions that only generate more questions. Daunting and not the bottleneck you want so soon in your journey to a new website.
Before you think about themes and templates, designer fonts, or color palettes, you must choose your CMS (Content Management System) .
With this blog post, we want to save you some hassle. We’re comparing two of the most popular solutions for content management, Webflow and WordPress, and the HubSpot CMS, so you don’t have to go through hours of research and spreadsheets. We want to show you everything you need to know: Webflow vs. WordPress vs. Hubspot — with their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, this analysis will help you pick the right one for your business. Watch them duke it out!
WordPress has been the most popular content management tool for the last decade, becoming what many consider the industry standard. As a result, almost half (43%) of all the websites on the internet live on WordPress. To better understand how large its market share is, the second most popular website builder is Shopify, which only hosts 3.9% of the total websites.
Some of the world’s top websites are powered by WordPress. The Walt Disney Company, Sony Music, The PlayStation Blog, Snoop Dogg, or The Obama Foundation are just some of the top global brands that chose WordPress for their websites.
This unmatched popularity resulted in an incredible ecosystem: over 8,000 themes, 58,000+ plugins, tens of web hosts that focus on hosting WordPress, and countless businesses and people who make a living off this platform.
WordPress uses “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editors, enabling users to see changes as they are configured. Most free and paid themes leverage this feature, making it relatively easy to build your website just the way you like it.
What we still like about it — WordPress advantages
- It’s extremely common, making it easy to find people to help you create and maintain your website for affordable fees.
- Thanks to the diversity of themes and plugins available, you can shape your website with minimum effort.
- Once your website is up and running, you can easily optimize your content for SEO, thanks to the right plugin.
- Most developers consider WordPress relatively easy to work with. Plus, the right themes and plugins can make it easy for non-technical users, too.
- WordPress has one-click updates for a top-of-the-class user experience
Why we don’t usually recommend it — WordPress disadvantages
- WordPress websites require hosting — ideally, specific WordPress hosting plans for a streamlined experience.
- WordPress is free, but hosting your website is not. Web hosting costs are usually affordable but quickly increase depending on your traffic and security needs.
- WordPress websites break without regular maintenance. Regular maintenance tasks are required, from updating passwords to fixing 404 errors and broken links to reviewing security logs.
- Your website can be hacked if you don’t set up the themes and plugins correctly.
- If you’re building a custom website that must look just the way you want, the process takes significantly longer than with simple themes. Moreover, WordPress’s requirement for plugins can result in complicated code.
When to choose WordPress
Go for WordPress if you can rely on a team of developers who can code your dreams into a reality. Or, when you want a cookie-cutter website with many pages, done fast and for a relatively low cost.
Basic publishing, such as adding new blog posts, will be straightforward once you learn the steps. Updating images, editing texts, adding new landing pages, and keeping up with updates might require coding, so having a developer around might be helpful.
If at any point you decide to move your website from WordPress to another provider, migration is usually straightforward. Expect to move everything without significant issues as long as you plan thoroughly and pay attention to detail.
“WordPress is pretty meh for anything creative. Some of the plugins rock, but with the security issues, complicated design process, and the risk of your site randomly exploding, it would be my last choice to build a new site with.”
– Ben Schkade, Art Czar
Webflow is the new kid on the block, being recognized as a capable “no-code” website builder and content management system. This cloud-based tool is still in its infancy, and less the 1% of worldwide websites use it. What’s super-interesting to note, though, is that Webflow sites will often attract higher traffic on average than websites built on CMS solutions like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, or even WordPress.
Webflow is what some developers would name “the ultimate customization tool” thanks to its limitless customization options with no need for advanced coding skills. With Webflow, you’re as close as possible to a WYSIWYG editor for your entire website. Instead of dealing with the hassle of databases and CSS tables, you can directly edit your website with live prototyping.
Darla Maestas, our web and security expert, says..
“In terms of customization, WebFlow is the true MVP (most valuable player) because you can work off of your own wireframe.”
This feature closes the gap between mockups and the fully developed version of the website, so whoever approves the content knows what they are signing for.
As Webflow continues to evolve, the number of websites created on the platform continues to grow. The CMS seems to be the top choice for tech companies, young brands, and startups. Brands like gtechna, BankMobile, Bonsai, and Lattice chose Webflow for their websites.
Why we’re so enthusiastic about it — Webflow advantages
- Webflow provides secure hosting services and encryption and doesn’t rely on potentially vulnerable plugins, so website owners benefit from increased security without effort.
- You get AWS Hosting for prices that start at $16/month — $36/month for business customers.
- Thanks to its intuitive editor and drag-and-drop page builder functionality, you can speed up website development.
- Webflow websites have a client-facing CMS, so team members can update or add new blog posts without editing the site’s structure or logging in as a developer.
- Overall, websites built on Webflow require minimal maintenance, as all updates happen automatically.
- Limitless customization makes it easy for designers to be creative and meet the client’s vision.
“WebFlow is highly intuitive, and I can easily customize and update the style elements there. Also, it does not limit layout possibilities like Hubspot or WordPress. It uses flexbox and CSS grid tools, so I can easily create interesting state-of-the-art website layouts.”
– Kamilia Kulinova, Designated Design Aficionado
Why it’s not for everyone — Webflow disadvantages
- Webflow is more expensive than WordPress, as this isn’t a free, open-source tool.
- Being new on the market, it has fewer templates and themes than WordPress, so you might have to build everything from scratch.
- Webflow has a bit of a learning curve and requires a developer to change most things you don’t like about your website anymore.
- The platform still does not accept optimized images, like webp files.
- Advanced features such as SSL headers require the Enterprise plan, which might become expensive.
- Applying proxy services, performance enhancements, and security through programs like Cloudflare is limited.
When to choose Webflow
Go for Webflow when building or planning to expand your website to reach medium-to-high complexity and advanced features, including pop-ups, integrations, motion, and interactivity. Even if you start small and plan for fancy features in the next year or two, consider developing it directly on this platform.
Webflow is also an excellent option for highly-visual brands for which traditional themes and templates aren’t enough to communicate with their target audiences.
Updating your content or adding new pages is intuitive thanks to the easy-to-use page editor, so you’ll be able to make small changes without needing a developer.
HubSpot CMS Hub
HubSpot CMS is a top platform for producing and hosting content, but it’s less known than most other CMS solutions out there due to the brand’s reputation as CRM software. In fact, only 0.3% of websites are built using HubSpot’s CMS Hub.
The platform is a SaaS product, not open-source. It has a monthly recurring cost that gives you access to multiple HubSpot tools, including premium hosting & security, regular maintenance and updates, and stellar 24/7 customer support.
“If you’re a HubSpot user or plan to use it for marketing and sales purposes, having your website built on the CMS Hub makes perfect sense. This way, you get all your marketing efforts hosted on a single platform, from your website to email to social media.”
With a growing list of available themes , HubSpot websites are becoming more common. Some brands with HubSpot websites are Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, C2A, BioStrata, and The Spicy Shark.
With the right theme, you can build a site relatively quickly and have all your marketing assets in one place.
Why we like it - HubSpot CMS Hub advantages
- For HubSpot users, it brings all marketing efforts in one place, making reporting and attribution easier than ever.
- HubSpot has a top-of-the-class knowledge base and provides excellent customer support.
- Developers always add new themes, making it easy for anyone to build the website they want without needing advanced coding skills.
- HubSpot’s SEO tool makes optimization fast and easy for website owners.
- HubSpot CMS Hub is one of the best-in-class tools when it comes to security, monitoring, and support.
- It has excellent blogging abilities for brands that want to keep things simple and functional. You can easily add social sharing buttons and visual CTAs to all your blog posts.
“While I enjoy the customization options that come with WordPress and Webflow, HubSpot makes things simple for non-technical people to make something that looks highly professional and polished without the technological complexities of the other platforms. It’s also nice to be able to track the results from all of the content campaigns in one consolidated platform to get insight into what’s working for our clients and ourselves.”
– Katherine Dixon, Content and Brand Composer
What to watch out for - HubSpot CMS Hub disadvantages
- If you’re building a custom website on HubSpot CMS, expect more extended deadlines than with the more established website builders.
- Many developers need to learn a few tips and tricks to understand the HubSpot ecosystem and leverage its features.
- Despite new additions, the number of themes available is still significantly lower than what you can find on other tools.
- The design system is a bit dated, sometimes complicated, and overall inflexible, so you need excellent coding skills if you want to add advanced features.
- It’s not the top choice for e-commerce. The platform continues to add features to improve the buyer experience, but there’s still work to be done in this area.
When to choose HubSpot CMS Hub
The HubSpot CMS Hub should be your first pick if you need a simple website with a powerful blog intended to draw in new clients. It’s also great if you know you’ll constantly build new landing pages to generate leads because it’s one of the most intuitive platforms for content marketing.
From delivering targeted email campaigns to hosting blog posts, HubSpot makes it easy for anyone–regardless of their technology experience–to provide great content. HubSpot may be your best option if your business isn’t focused on web development or graphic design.
Moreover, HubSpot CMS makes blog management and optimization a breeze. Expect to work with a developer for structural changes and custom integrations. Otherwise, most daily tasks will usually be easy to manage in-house — probably with support from your HubSpot admin/manager.
“Having a set wireframe and standard can make the overall design and development experience much faster. With HubSpot, I can develop custom modules, sections, templates, and even entire themes with a set wireframe in mind but allow anyone to drag/drop or customize the styling of the assets to their heart’s desire. If you want to constantly update/maintain your website yourself (without needing a developer), HubSpot is the winner in my mind.”
– Darla Maestas, Web and Security Empress
Here’s the thing. No perfect website builder or CMS exists because no tool can meet everyone’s needs. And that’s for the best. Instead of looking for the perfect tool, choose the software that best suits your business’s needs and can keep up with your expansion plans.
To be blunt, about 80% of the time, we recommend switching to Webflow. We get to build the website faster, the design process is intuitive, and our web developer thank us for choosing this route.
Although we work with WordPress sites daily (and our website is built on it), we no longer recommend building a site from scratch here. Many clients have faced hacking issues and maintenance problems. Its legacy technology has its place, but moving to new, more intuitive tools has advantages that are hard to ignore.
What about HubSpot CMS Hub? It’s our top choice for simple websites, as everything works great every time on this platform. The consolidated nature of a HubSpot site is notable, especially when you use it in combination with the Marketing Hub.
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