An Agnostic No More: Confessions From a True (HubSpot) Believer
As a long-time agnostic, I always prided myself in saying that everyone was entitled to have their own view, but I was largely undecided and somewhat impartial to one side of the argument or another. I've since come to realize that sometimes there IS one "right" answer, and to ignore it, or to fail to embrace that truth is just, well... foolishness. I stand (or sit) here today as a changed man. And I'm not (in this particular case) talking about my Christian faith, but my changed views on content management systems.
For almost two decades, we've had a proprietary content management system that we produced and have helped our clients implement. We continued to upgrade it through the years, largely because many of the other choices were just too "techy" for our clients to use themselves, and ours—by comparison—was much simpler to learn and use. But through those same years, as products like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal began to dominate the landscape, we became more and more impartial, and typically told our clients that we, being agnostic, were happy to use any tool of their liking. Well, we've been using HubSpot's CMS for the better part of a decade now, and simply stated, I'm a convert.
Content management tools, much like programming environments, computer operating systems, and website browsers, have become fodder for religious debate. Led by users who are passionate about their product of choice, Drupal loyalists will virtually go to blows defending their platform against heretics that try to convince them that WordPress or Joomla is better.
Unfortunately, most of the time, those who are most devout are not the website owners, but developers who have invested much in learning one CMS platform or another (and rarely becoming proficient at more than one). As a company that has implemented websites under a plethora of content management systems (including our own), I can state unequivocally that HubSpot is "the bomb."
Building a Better CMS
I will also confess that when we first looked at HubSpot as a marketing automation platform two or three years ago, one of the stumbling blocks to going with it was their integrated CMS. Even the HubSpot representatives downplayed the effectiveness of the product, indicating that is wasn't as robust as other products on the market, and that we might want to continue to use our CMS of choice, and utilize HubSpot for marketing automation. A year or so later though, their CMS had gone through a significant overhaul, and we decided to give it a shot.
Since that time, we developed our own website and the website of many of our clients under the HubSpot CMS. Impartial performance tests have shown HubSpot's CMS (they've called it COS for Content Optimization System) to produce websites that load amazingly fast—something that not all platforms can claim. But the real advantages of the CMS are in the usability of the product. Unlike some of the other systems, you actually create "pages" when you want to create a website page. And you create "landing pages" when you want to create landing pages. And you create "blogs" when you want to write and publish a blog. Uh... is it just me, or does that sound pretty intuitive?
Oh, and guess where you'll find all of these options. That would be the "Content" menu. I'm sorry, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal authors and loyalists, but HubSpot's common sense organization and labeling of things is a huge part of what sets it apart, and makes it the most usable of all of the platforms we've used.
Best of all, should the (included) marketplace of existing templates not suffice, the tool gives techies the tools with which to implement designers' completely customized designs. All templates can be easily modified (even by less technical folks like me), and the UI is amazingly simple to use. Now, it's not perfect, but I have no doubt that with the path HubSpot developers are on, it will continue toward that end. In the meantime, however, users have enormous benefit in using the tool.
The Leader in Lead Generation
HubSpot is THE platform if lead generation is something that you care about (and if you don’t, what are you thinking??). HubSpot’s marketing automation platform is seamlessly integrated with their CMS, so you literally can’t tell where the CMS leaves off and the marketing automation components pick up. We’ve spoken countless times about the merits of marketing automation, so I won’t restate it all here, but there are things that make the CMS the rock star of content management that we haven’t really touched on before, including the following:
- Multiple pricing levels with appropriate differences in functionality
- Monthly or annual payment options
- Amazingly intuitive user interface that allows designers and content writers to make changes to layouts and easily manage content
- Full integration of all website components, including: web pages, landing pages, blogs, email, CRM, and analytics, in smartly-organized and labeled menus
- Content personalization though components like:
- Smart Content that allows for custom page content based upon who the user is and what their previous interactions with the website were
- Smart CTAs that change the call-to-action based upon previous specific user activity
- Smart Forms that allow for reduced customer aggravation (you don’t have to ask a customer to give information again that they’ve previously provided)
- Unlike other CMS platforms, there is no need to find, buy, download, and update plugins
- Ability to manage multiple domains from a single login
- (Recently added) native SSL encryption
- Complete, secure, robust hosting service through a dynamic content distribution network (CDN), which includes automatic backups of your entire system
- Excellent online resources
- Excellent technical support
- Automatic free upgrades
"Free" Products Rarely Are
Okay, so I certainly understand that some folks will balk because HubSpot is not "free" like some of the other aforementioned platforms. But really, none of them are truly free, and, of course, the old adage of "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to CMS platforms. With other platforms, at a minimum you have costs associated with hosting and plugins, and typically, you also have to pay big bucks for technical support for things you tell yourself you could do yourself. With HubSpot's CMS, those additional costs go away, and most importantly, you also have a powerhouse of marketing genius to go along with it!
If we've given you pause to consider a HubSpot implementation for your organization, please give us a shout. We’d love to give you a demonstration of this amazing tool!