Welcome to round 3 of our “HubSpot vs WordPress” series! We took a week off, but are back with our third and final installment: “Integration.”
In addition to examining how well the two platforms integrate with other applications, in today’s post, we will explore whether the best answer to the HubSpot vs WordPress question is an integrated solution that leverages the strengths of both.
The simplest integrations are ones that can be implemented with the click of a button. These no-plug-and-play integrations bring functionality once only available to developers, or those with the resources to hire one, to the masses.
HubSpot lists over 50 pre-built integrations on their website. Of those, some are ‘native,’ meaning they’re built right into the platform, while others require some type of installation.
Native offerings include big names like SalesForce and Google Drive, as well as smaller providers like UberConference. And plug-in options range from AdRoll to ZenDesk.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a Zapier plugin that allows non-coders to build their own integrations using the popular service that acts as a connector between two or more applications, thus expanding the no-code possibilities beyond the 50 or so on offer.
WordPress boasts nearly 50,000 publically available plugins. While only a fraction of them are solely for integration, chances are, there’s either a plugin that ties your favorite application in with WordPress, or there’s a plugin like Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms that offers it’s own integrations with third-party applications. And just like HubSpot, there’s a WordPress plugin for Zapier that adds even more possibilities.
Quantity vs Quality
While WordPress offers more possibilities than HubSpot, it’s worth mentioning that bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Where HubSpot has far fewer no-code integrations than WordPress, every option in their directory has been been vetted by HubSpot itself, whereas the third-party plugin you download for WordPress may or may not function properly, be sufficiently secure or provide adequate support.
Indeed, whether you’re evaluating HubSpot vs WordPress on the basis of security, support, or integration, which one you choose often comes down to whether you want endless options that are generally lower quality or fewer higher quality option.
In the event there isn’t a ready-made integration to suits your needs, you can roll your own or hire someone to do it for you. But in either case, you or the person hired to build the integration will use one or more of either platform’s APIs to connect to external applications.
As an application that does just about everything under the digital marketing sun, HubSpot offers more than 30 (and growing) well-documented RESTful APIs that cover everything from xml sitemap generation to transactional emails.
Because a base WordPress install doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that HubSpot does, it has about 10 fewer APIs, and documentation is pretty thorough, but because it’s written by the developer community that supports it, it can be inconsistent.
If you choose to hire a developer, HubSpot offers a directory of certified partners with demonstrated experience in building custom integrations. When it comes to WordPress, you will have many more developers and agencies to choose from, but there isn’t a single authority that can certify their capabilities, leaving you with your gut, recommendations and ratings to guide your decision.
Integrating HubSpot and WordPress
Just when you thought you had chosen one platform over the other, another option appears, and I can tell you from experience, it’s a pretty good one.
When we launched the first Mindtap website, we opted to build the more static elements of the ‘main site’ in WordPress and used HubSpot for the blog.
That alone isn’t an integration as much as it is merely managing two parts of the site in different platforms, but we did use HubSpot’s WordPress plugin, which has since been replaced, to imbed HubSpot subscription and contact forms, and social follow buttons, as well as place HubSpot tracking code, in the WordPress side of the site.
We would have happily managed the entire site in HubSpot’s CMS, which they call ‘COS’ for Content Optimization System, but found the $200-a-month cost of the COS website module – in addition to the $800-a-month we were already paying for HubSpot core Pro offering – to be prohibitive.
When we launched the site you’re on now, we opted to build the entire site in WordPress and use the new HubSpot tracking code WordPress plugin and form embed capabilities as well as using the RSS output of the WordPress blog to power subscriptions using HubSpot’s email marketing capabilities.
Our main reasons for moving away from publishing any part of our site with HubSpot were:
- enabling SSL on a HubSpot blog when you’re not using the full site CMS costs a ridiculous $100-a-month
- we had experienced considerable challenges when implementing SSL for a client who was using both the site and blog COS
- using WordPress and HubSpot means twice the work when you make global changes to the site (e.g. header, footer, nav, etc.)
- in order to use HubSpot’s blog COS on the same domain as content that doesn’t use the COS, we had to use a subdomain (e.g. blog.mindtapmarketing.com) rather than a subdirectory (e.g. mindtapmarketing.com/blog) and most SEO experts agree that the latter results in improved rankings (though the difference is supposedly negligable).
Having explained that, the good news is that HubSpot and WordPress do indeed play quite nicely together. In fact, we have never had a technical issue related to the integration (knock on wood).
Of course, any of the solutions we have discussed above or in the other posts in the series, may be better for your particular situation. It all comes down to knowing what your needs are and comparing those needs to the strengths and weaknesses of the possibilities before you.