If you’ve recently signed up for HubSpot or are considering HubSpot’s services, you've got a big question that needs answering: “Should I host my website with HubSpot?”
If only you could get advice from someone with lots of experience hosting sites with HubSpot and elsewhere so you could know what HubSpot does and doesn't do well.
Hey, that's us!
How to Host a Website with HubSpot
Hosting a website with HubSpot can be a bit tricky or a bit too easy, depending on your specific expertise. While HubSpot is absolutely a CRM (customer relationship management tool), it’s also a CMS (content management system). However, in the HubSpot portal, it’s referred to as a COS (content optimization system).
Subdomains and Partial Hosting
Without going to into the standard specifics associated with hosting a website in any environment, such as changing the DNS settings, the first thing to note is that most users either transition their entire site or portions of their site. To start with a portion of a website, most users set up a subdomain. This is pretty standard and HubSpot makes it pretty simple, in my opinion. So if you’re looking for a fast and snappy way to just get to the good stuff – inbound marketing – then setting up a blog area hosted with HubSpot is probably the best way to go.
Drawback: No FTP Access
Now if you’re going for a whole new look and plan to start with a whole new site on the HubSpot CMS, this is where your experience might differ from mine. HubSpot’s CMS is mostly visual. For a developer, this usually represents a too restrictive environment. Developers do not like to work an environment without direct access (commonly referred to as FTP or hosting access.) And HubSpot is pretty much a stickler for this. Therefore, depending on who you are and who your team is comprised of, this may thrill you or frustrate your website manager. I’ll admit, it took a little getting used to and sometimes I still have my moments.
Drawback: Expect Some Issues and Longer Lead Times
In Hubspot, you compile your page templates in a drag and drop environment. Not just the page itself, but the actual template. In most other CMS environments, a template is what displays your pages or blogs using pre-written responsive code. The process is much more rigid as coding a new template is takes time and specific expertise. In HubSpot, users are not forced to work within those constraints.
For the most part, this is a fantastic way to manage templates. But the buck stops there. In HubSpot, themes are few and far between because the HubL language is a bit tricky and uploading and pulling in scripts is difficult. So creating a stunning page template that blows a user away is difficult and getting there still requires a web developer’s skills, which can still be a bummer for the everyday marketer since your lead times aren’t going to decrease. In fact, they might get a touch longer.
Remember how I mentioned that developers love FTP access? This is one reason why. Having direct access to the hosting server, a developer can more easily upload and replace files. HubSpot’s directory and file management system are specifically scripted to better allow for visual building and disallows direct server access. In short, we developers can’t mess with that or we’ll likely be a buzzkill for the rest of the COS party.
The Positives of Hosting Your Website with HubSpot
So you're probably asking now – "Why should I use HubSpot?" Despite the wrenches that HubSpot throws in the traditional web development process, there are several positives that we can't neglect to mention. Personalization and channel integration with a website is not done nearly as well on any other current platform. Persona segmentation? HubSpot can help with that and easily. What about SEO? HubSpot has that perfected to a near checklist-like format. (Hence why they call it a “content optimization system”.) Does HubSpot work with analytics and display reporting all in the same spot? It sure does. How else can Hubspot enhance your website? No other CMS can really boast the level of integration that HubSpot can. The cherry on top if you go all-in? It constantly informs your CRM side of the platform.
Thinking about pulling the trigger on HubSpot?
It's a huge decision.
HubSpot is by no means perfect. Nothing will be. But the platform's ability to unify your CMS, CRM, marketing, website, social, and now even your sales – makes it a massively powerful tool for some.
But there's a catch and we'd love to tell you about it. Let's get together for a quick 30-minute meeting to talk about how to know if HubSpot is right for you, or if it would be a huge mistake that we can help you avoid.