There's always been debate about the virtues and shortcomings of using the HubSpot COS or WordPress as a website's primary CMS. One that has SEOs, marketers and designers battling it out over which has faster loading speeds, is more intuitive, delivers the best SEO benefits...the list goes on and on.
But all of that hubbub is founded upon the idea that it's an either-or scenario.
At Firesnap, we discovered a unique situation in which it makes sense to combine HubSpot and WordPress together to produce one triumphant experience for users and the website owner alike. It's not the only use case for combining the two CMS solutions into a single web design, it just happens to be a successful one.
Let's take a look...
Enter HubSpot COS: The Knight in Shining Armor (Well, Somewhat)
One of Firesnap's clients is a unique organization by HubSpot standards. They're a large organization funded by taxpayers and could care less about ROI.
What, what, what?!
The juice for them was in HubSpot's ability to improve their online agility—monitoring and responding to public sentiment, swiftly mobilizing members for causes and maximizing their community engagement in a methodical, automated fashion.
Now, everyone touts HubSpot as a leading tool to measure and quantify the ROI of inbound marketing efforts, and they're right. But in this case, we found that HubSpot proved to be an awesome, centralized resource for this organization to ultimately manage, measure and engage...not sell. HubSpot was our digital knight in shining armor.
There was still one seriously debilitating flaw. A flaw that didn't rear it's ugly head until our client later decided that they wanted a secure, members only area that provided members access to sensitive information using unique login credentials. Something HubSpot does not offer. Wa waaaaa.
Fear not, HubSpot, I still love you and your ability to password protect individual pages. But for organizations requiring more sophisticated, personalized membership capabilities, you get no high fives from this guy.
Enter WordPress: HubSpot's Unexpectedly Trusty Steed
So what the hell is an agency to do when HubSpot, in all its glory, is missing such a critical feature that isn't even in beta yet?
Fortunately, I drink a LOT of coffee. I consulted with our team, hit up the network of other professional marketers and even called other CMS and hosting providers to develop a reasonable workaround.
WordPress with a simple membership plugin. (Here are a few of the better plugins.)
Yes, WordPress has unexpectedly come to the rescue as a glorious, open sourced steed! The same CMS we've historically transitioned clients away from has triumphantly come to HubSpot's rescue!
The Tools & Process
By creating a custom branded WordPress site using a subdomain hosted on Pressable (one of our favorite WordPress hosting providers) with a membership plugin, we were able to solve this dilemma and grant our client's members and leadership team the experience they wanted.
Additionally, we used HubSpot tracking codes on those external pages to monitor their performance as well.
The biggest downside to this approach is that there's no centralized management of all pages within the HubSpot COS (to be expected when using two separate CMS). Still, at the end of the day we got the functionality we needed without settling on the less secure, single password per page capability that HubSpot provides.
P.S. We won. You can view our client's case study here.
The Path to HubSpot & WordPress Victory
HubSpot COS and WordPress are both awesome, but each one still presents certain limitations.
As digital marketing professionals, we all need to keep our eyes and minds open to other alternative or supplemental software solutions that solve business problems and requirements. Ideally, it's best to identify these problems and requirements before implementing HubSpot, WordPress or any other solution.
Leadership teams and clients could care less about the technical inner workings and often care more about the end result. They want a triumphant experience and it's our job to provide that experience.
Have you come up with great ways to combine the HubSpot COS and WordPress?
I want to know! Please add your comments below.