10 Reasons Why Start-Ups Should Choose WordPress over HubSpot

As with any industry, in the world of online marketing there are myriad ways to spend your money – some of which are more effective than others. For example, if you’re a start-up company and need to get a jump on your new industry, you can immediately start finding companies and causes eager to take the money you haven’t yet earned with the promise of returning a greater income as a result. From cost-per-click advertising to e-books to consultancy to marketing firms and beyond, you can easily find your new company deep underwater before you’ve even brought in your first customer.

Startups - photo: BRW Magazine

Possibly one of the worst offenders of this is marketing automation super-giant HubSpot. If you’re not yet familiar with the company, basically they charge companies of varying sizes to provide them a large range of marketing and content management services. If you’re like most budding entrepreneurs, you’re either thinking:

  1. Why would I pay for that when I can use WordPress? or
  2. Sounds great! Sign me up!

Before you consider blowing thousands on CMS software, let’s run down your choices a bit.

1. Cost/Value

Let’s start with what most of us already are thinking: HubSpot is expensive and WordPress is free. The rest of this list will primarily break down the value of HubSpot as a paid alternative to WordPress, but let’s get specific so you know where they stand financially.

HubSpot’s pricing system starts at a mere $200/month for basic users. For the lucky start-ups out there, that may not sound like much, but it’s just the start. From there, you pay $.10 per email list contact you’ll bring plus annually generated new leads, to be paid per thousand contacts. So you’re starting small and that’s still not a big expense, right?

Next up is the required “Inbound Success Training,” for which you’ll doll out another $2,000. And if that’s not too much for you yet, your monthly charge is compiled annually for your convenience, so your $200/month plan will rack up a minimum of $4,400 in one fell swoop.

Compare that with WordPress: zero dollars and you get your website running immediately. If you want learning materials, Google can get you all the success training you might need.

2. HubSpot Is the Devil

Building off of the idea of pricing, one of the major draws of WordPress isn’t just that it doesn’t cost anything, but that it’s free – subtle, but important distinction. HubSpot is a product of capitalistic enterprise, aiming to profit from creating a paid answer to problems that can be solved for free on the internet; they have merely consolidated the answers/services.

WordPress is a an open-source system, meaning that we all have equal rights to it and we’re all trying to help each other use it more effectively. People are constantly solving problems by developing new plug-ins and contributing to forums, so whatever your WP problem might be, someone is working to help out whether you know it or not. To promote it and contribute to it is to contribute to a community of users in the same situation you are in as opposed to closing yourself off through a paid private service like HubSpot. This may not be an important value for you as an entrepreneur, but it’s an important value to the vast online business community that’s growing daily.

3. Utilizing Your Resources

If you’re just starting out with your online business, you need to economize as much as possible. There is, to be sure, a certain value to being able to allocate the tedium like web development, marketing and online presence as much as possible so you can focus on building your company, but can you really swing thousands of dollars from the start?

HubSpot has “tools” available to help in your SEO ventures and basic marketing strategies, but they don’t equip you for things like branding and cornering a niche. These are the real basics that you should be focusing on first as you develop your site and online presence, and the freedom (and free-ness) of WordPress is far more suited to allowing for that.

4. HTML Freedom

Most entrepreneurs are not very adept at HTML or web development, but if you are one of those with HTML knowledge and specific web development preferences, HubSpot is not going to work for you.

HubSpot is geared toward the basics of site development through templates and general structuring and allows very little freedom for HTML. So even if you’re not web-savvy but you plan to hire a developer, a HubSpot site will do little but frustrate him/her and waste your money with an hourly contractor.

WordPress, on the other hand, is ideal CMS for HTML and custom site building.

5. Mobile Site Freedom

Another major problem with HubSpot is that it doesn’t cater well enough to the growing trend of mobile marketing. In the spirit of irony, let’s refer to a HubSpot blog, which states that by 2014 mobile internet use will eclipse desktop internet use.

That said, the need for a powerful, effective mobile site is implicit. Unfortunately, HubSpot only allows for device-specific HTML, leading to mediocre and occasionally ineffective mobile sites. WordPress, however, allows for both device-specific and responsive web design, allowing more dynamic implementation of a mobile site.

6. HubSpot May Require Site Migration

Most people looking into HS will likely want the cheapest option; unfortunately, that option requires that you migrate or create your website to/through their CMS.

For basic users, that’s potentially not so bad, and is maybe even a draw. But for those who still want to implement WordPress as their main CMS, that’s not going to happen. At this point it just comes back to the question of what you need provided for you and what sort of freedom you want to have in building your site.

7. How Much Support Do You Really Need?

The reason HubSpot exists is to provide users with “everything they need” so they can get their site/business running. But do you really need their analytics tools, keyword searching software, email marketing, e-books, tips etcetera?

The beauty of the internet is its vast pool of resources; part of the beauty of Google is its vast pool of free resources. There’s really no reason not to continue using Google for keywords and analytics and scouring the internet for unbiased forums, e-books, blogs, experts etcetera since it’s all free. Or, you can pay “$200/month” to let HS compile it all for you.

8. If You Really Want to Spend Money with WP, You Still Can

Maybe you just really, really want to spend money on your CMS, web development and marketing. That’s perfectly fine, and you can still do that with a WordPress site – you’ll just spend less of it.

WordPress itself comes with premium plugins that can help you make your site do great things, but at a much lower cost and with much more dynamism than HS allows. And WP aside, you can always contract freelance developers, consultants, designers, bloggers, marketers or whatever if you’re feeling overwhelmed. The internet is loaded with skilled freelancers looking to help small businesses at reasonable rates to make your site exactly what you want it to be.

9. Widgets, Widgets, and More Widgets

One of the best things about WordPress is its plethora of widgets to help you optimise your site. WP offers tons of these to help you easily develop your site into an intuitive, simple-to-use tool to convert your site visitors and help them navigate for information easily.

10. Live Editing

An important feature that HS lacks and WP thrives on is live page editing. One of the biggest complaints of HS users is that editing a page is more time-consuming and difficult than what it seems it should be, and really it shouldn’t be all that difficult.

With WordPress, making minor tweaks to your site pages is quick and simple and can be done to live pages in a matter of seconds. Got an update to a page or see a typo? Maybe you’ve noticed that one of your links on the page is broken or that an added widget could really help move traffic. Just log in and make your tweak, hit Update and your new page is instantly live.

In Conclusion

What it really comes down to is getting what you pay for. Do you need all the things that HubSpot is proposing that you need? Can you afford to pay that when there are far cheaper alternatives (i.e. free)?

Where you may not get what you pay for with HubSpot, you’re guaranteed to get more than you pay for with WordPress.

3 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Sorry, unrelated to this post… But when is your new automated marketing solution coming out??? I need it now!! 🙂

  2. Chris Mack says:

    Yes!

    Totally agree. And if you combine WordPress with getspokal.com you get the majority of Hubspot’s features (+some they don’t have) for a fraction of the cost. WordPress is just so much more flexible.

  3. Matt Fenn says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    Interesting article, and refreshing to see someone not proclaiming HubSpot to be awesome.

    I think it’s important to remember that what HubSpot does is a process, that can be achieved in different ways, not necessarily at the same cost level. There is of course generally a premium for that convenience.

    If you get a chance it would be worth taking a look at Jumplead > Jumplead.com

    It’s designed to deliver much of what HubSpot does, in one place, at a reasonable cost (from $15)

    We believe the techniques used by HubSpot should be available to everyone, and that budget shouldn’t provide a competitive advantage.

    For the sake of transparency, Jumplead is our product 🙂

    Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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