November 3, 2015

6 Common Enterprise-Level HubSpot CMS Misconceptions Debunked


We're often approached by marketing leaders who are preparing to undertake a website-redesign project and trying to decide on the right CMS for their businesses. More often than not, the choice comes down to the HubSpot CMS (our preferred platform), Drupal or WordPress. In many cases, the fear of choosing HubSpot's CMS is that it's not flexible enough for high growth, mid-market and enterprise applications, and that its closed ecosystem will be too limiting for future growth. I'm here to alleviate that fear.

Today's post will look at some of the key misconceptions that many potential buyers have about the capabilities and functionality of the HubSpot CMS.

Common HubSpot CMS Misconceptions

We were an open-source CMS shop for a long time. I’m not going to lie: If you want the most sophisticated, complex, open-ended CMS platform there is, Drupal is the hands-down winner. There’s really not much you can’t do in Drupal. But if the main goal for the website is generating leads, then HubSpot is the best platform. The CMS is built from the ground up to integrate with your entire marketing suite. HubSpot chose to focus on these features rather than having the most flexible CMS possible.

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Misconception 1: The HubSpot CMS cannot make dynamic content updates for content that is tied to an external database

While site pages in HubSpot do serve a purpose, we’re increasingly finding that its blog platform accounts for the majority of a website. By repurposing the blog system for non-blog content you get a dynamic, filterable, content kit with custom fields. We use the HubSpot “blog” system for all sorts of things. Case studies, resource libraries, news, team pages, events, products and more. Here’s a simple example of a repurposed blog.

Misconception 2: The HubSpot CMS doesn't have custom content types or modules

It's true that Drupal and WordPress both have have modules and plugins and they can be installed to extend website functionality. Since launching the CMS, HubSpot has created its own version of this called "custom modules." You can write HTML, JavaScript, CSS and Hubl (HubSpot's server side language) and create reusable modules that extend the functionality of HubSpot, the same way the modules can in Drupal.

Misconception 3: The CMS can't support localized or international content

In the enterprise version of HubSpot you are allowed to attach multiple domains for use with site pages, landing pages and blogs. It’s possible to have international versions of a site, each with their own domains running from a single portal with HubSpot. Beyond this, the smart content system in HubSpot allows you to serve country-specific content or redirects on a single page based on GeoIP. Finally HubSpot has recently added an integration with Smartling, which allows you to translate content more rapidly (more on this here).

Misconception 4: The CMS is a "closed system" and not one that can scale or leverage a broader developer community

Though the CMS is proprietary, the technologies used for the majority of front-end development are HTML, CSS, and JS, which are independent of the server-side technology anyway. That said, HubSpot does include a server-side template language called HubL which is very similar to Django and Jinja in syntax but based in Java, not Python, for performance reasons. Because the syntax closely resembles Python-based templating systems, many developers will feel at home. It’s documented here if you’re curious to learn more.

Misconception 5: The CMS is limited in its ability to bring best-in-breed solution integrations.

HubSpot’s official integration list is growing a lot lately, but beyond that the API is robust and well-documented. Leveraging HubSpot’s blog API to pull in content from outside sources is going to be key to its future in the enterprise space.

One common use case we've seen in enterprise B2B companies is the ability to have a database behind the website to maintain content dynamically. Take a channel-partner program for example. You have information on all these companies in Salesforce, but need it to be displayed on your website. By using the blog-post API to look at the Salesforce database, you can then create a new HubSpot blog post, map the fields to the Salesforce database information and create a new website page. This could be updated periodically to edit, add or delete posts. It’s also worth mentioning that HubSpot comes with a free Zapier account, which works great for simple integrations.

Misconception 6: HubSpot has a limited partner ecosystem vs. Drupal's large, dynamic partner ecosystem.

It’s true that Drupal’s community is older and larger. However HubSpot’s partner base is rapidly growing and its tier system makes it easier to find qualified resources in the enterprise space. Also finding talent capable of developing using the the core front-end languages HTML, CSS, JS is independent of the platform itself. HubSpot does a great job of educating people on its product and provides a free design course and certification for front-end developers who want to get started. The design forum on (which is really taking off lately) is my go-to resource for doing anything advanced on the CMS.

Selecting your website CMS

Now all this doesn't necessarily mean that the HubSpot CMS is the right CMS for your business. There are certainly some enterprise use cases that the HubSpot CMS isn't quite ready to handle (yet), but these are the five most common misconceptions that we see surrounding the platform and in each of these cases we've been able to help customers overcome these challenges to create sales-ready websites on the CMS that will better integrate with their marketing initiatives and position their companies for growth.

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Christopher Mathieu

Christopher Mathieu is the Chief Services Officer at New Breed, an Elite HubSpot Partner based in Burlington, VT, which helps customers implement the right technology and strategies to unlock meaningful growth. With a background in design, technology, and demand generation, his over two decades of experience allow...


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