We use cookies to make your viewing experience better. By accepting you consent, you agree to our Cookie policy

Improve your Craft CMS skills

Craft CMS Vs Hubspot - Which Is Better?

10 min read
Craft CMS Vs Hubspot

Choosing the right CMS is crucial for any business looking to build an online presence. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide between established giants like HubSpot or newer, more flexible alternatives like Craft CMS. This article compares the two platforms across key factors like features, ease of use, and pricing to help you determine which solution best fits your needs and budget. Discover honest insights to make an informed decision for your business goals.

For most small businesses, HubSpot CMS is the better option with its lower startup costs, faster launch time, superior built-in marketing tools, and easier use for non-technical users. Craft CMS excels for developers building advanced custom sites but requires more budget, time, and technical expertise.

Craft CMS Background and Capabilities

History of Craft CMS

Craft CMS was founded in 2013 by Pixel & Tonic, a web design agency based in Champaign, Illinois. It is Creation built on the Yii PHP framework and optimized specifically for building custom web and mobile applications.

The founders of Pixel & Tonic, Brandon Kelly and Jake Kelly, wanted to create a CMS that offered the flexibility of a custom-built site with the convenience of a turnkey system. After years of building sites on different platforms like WordPress and Drupal, they found limitations in creating truly custom experiences.

So they set out to build Craft CMS from the ground up as a new, developer-focused and design-centric CMS. The goal was to give web developers complete control over front-end markup and site architecture while still being user-friendly for clients to manage content.

Since its launch, Craft has quickly gained popularity for its versatile approach to managing content. It has been adopted by agencies, publishers, ecommerce brands and more across the UK and worldwide.

Key Features and Benefits of Craft CMS

Some of the standout features and benefits of using Craft CMS include:

  • Flexible Content Modeling: Craft allows you to create custom content types, fields and matrices to model your content. This is far more flexible than post types in WordPress. You can tailor the CMS around your site rather than vice versa.

  • Live Preview Editing: When editing entries and pages in Craft, you can see changes in real-time before publishing. This streamlines the editing process for non-technical users.

  • Modular Plugin Ecosystem: Craft offers a robust selection of plugins to add advanced features. And since each plugin is decoupled, you can pick and choose only what you need.

  • Native Multi-Site Support: Manage multiple sites with built-in multisite capabilities from a single Craft CMS install. This removes the need for separate networks.

  • JSON Support: Craft has native support for outputting content as JSON. This makes it easy to leverage content across different platforms.

  • Front-end Flexibility: Developers have complete control over templates, architecture and front-end code. You're not limited by rigid templating systems.

The combination of a user-friendly interface and back-end developer control is what makes Craft CMS so versatile. It brings together the best of both worlds in a single, cohesive platform.

Example Websites Built on Craft CMS

Here are a few examples of popular UK websites built with Craft CMS:

  • Sketch Studios - Workplace design agency based in London, UK have their custom website built in Craft CMS.

  • MadeByShape - A Manchester based Web Design Agency who solely use Craft CMS for all their projects, of course they built their own website in Craft CMS. They had too : )

  • Hono Restos - A super cool website built in Craft CMS.

From media publishers to airlines, Craft CMS powers a diverse range of sites. Its flexibility enables it to adapt to almost any industry or use case.

HubSpot Products and Features

History and Founding of HubSpot

HubSpot was founded in 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, who were lecturers at MIT in Boston. They wanted to help small businesses grow through inbound marketing techniques.

At the time, outbound marketing like cold calling and email spam were still dominant. Halligan and Shah saw an opportunity to empower businesses to attract customers organically using content, SEO and social media.

The term "inbound marketing" was coined by HubSpot's founders when they launched the company. Their mission was to pioneer this new methodology and software to simplify online marketing for businesses.

Since those early days, HubSpot has grown rapidly and led the way in inbound marketing. It's now one of the world's leading marketing platforms.

Overview of HubSpot's Core Software Products

HubSpot now offers a suite of core software solutions:

  • Marketing Hub - This all-in-one marketing software has tools for email, social media, SEO, content, analytics and more. It's aimed at attracting and engaging customers.

  • Sales Hub - Provides a CRM platform plus tools like email sequencing, contact management and reporting to help sales teams close deals.

  • Service Hub - Offers ticketing, knowledge base, live chat, email management and bot features to improve customer service.

  • CMS Hub - Gives users a flexible content management system to build websites and blogs that engage visitors.

Each software solution has a wide range of features tailored for its specific purpose, while integrating seamlessly with the rest of HubSpot's products.

HubSpot Pricing Tiers and Packages

HubSpot offers both free and paid packages across its software solutions:

  • Free - HubSpot's free CRM and some marketing features are available at no cost. Limited to 1 million contacts.

  • Starter - The basic paid tier starts at £45/month. Includes core software features but more limited compared to higher tiers.

  • Professional - Unlocks additional features like smart content, Salesforce sync and meeting scheduling. Pricing starts at £315/month.

  • Enterprise - Top-tier pricing model tailored for larger or global businesses. Unlimited contacts and seats. Price on request.

The pricing tiers available depend on the specific software product. Higher tiers include more features, seats, contacts and customisation abilities.

HubSpot uses this tiered approach to make its software accessible to businesses both small and large. The free and starter tiers allow smaller companies to use the core tools while enterprise caters to large corporations.

Comparing Content Management

Ease of Use and Learning Curve

HubSpot CMS offers a much simpler, beginner-friendly user experience compared to Craft CMS. The intuitive drag-and-drop editor makes it easy for non-technical users to create and edit content. Minimal training is required to start publishing pages.

Craft CMS has a steeper learning curve. It gives developers granular control over templates and structure. This level of customization comes at the cost of approachability for content editors without technical expertise. New users will need thorough training to utilize Craft CMS effectively.

So HubSpot CMS prioritizes usability while Craft CMS focuses more on customizability. HubSpot is better suited for marketers managing sites themselves while Craft empowers developers to build fully custom experiences.

Flexible Content Modeling and Structures

A key difference between the platforms is flexibility in content modelling and structures.

HubSpot CMS uses fixed content templates with standardized fields. While users can create new templates, the content types and fields within each one are predefined. This simplifies the editing process but limits customization.

In contrast, Craft CMS provides extremely flexible content modelling. Developers can create fully custom field types, fields, structures and more to tailor to the project. For example, adding custom matrices, rich text fields, related entry selections and so on.

This means Craft CMS can model content in virtually any way needed, far beyond the post and page paradigm. The trade-off is added complexity for content editors.

Templating Languages and Customization

For templating and customization, Craft CMS uses the Twig language while HubSpot uses its own drag-and-drop editor.

Twig is powerful and gives developers granular control over frontend markup and logic. But it has a steep learning curve compared to HubSpot's editor.

HubSpot uses an intuitive, WYSIWYG editor for designing themes. This allows easy drag-and-drop creation of templates and styles without coding. However, developers lose fine-grained control.

So Craft provides much deeper customization for developers via Twig. HubSpot prioritizes ease of use for non-coders.

In terms of extensibility, Craft's modular plugin architecture enables almost endless customization. Developers can build plugins to integrate any feature needed. HubSpot however relies solely on its closed ecosystem of proprietary tools and integrations.

Marketing Feature Comparison

Email Marketing Automation

For email marketing and automation, HubSpot has a significant edge over Craft CMS. Its Marketing Hub includes a powerful built-in email designer, segmentation tools, workflows and more.

Users can easily create and send email campaigns, set up triggered or scheduled emails and track performance - no plugins needed. Automation tools allow sending emails in response to user behaviour like signing up, making a purchase and so on.

In Craft CMS, email and automation rely entirely on integrating third-party providers via plugins. Developers must install, configure and maintain plugin integrations to enable these capabilities. Out of the box, Craft lacks its own native tools in these areas.

So for non-technical users needing to self-manage email and automation, HubSpot will be the far simpler choice requiring no coding.

Landing Pages and Lead Generation

HubSpot also shines when it comes to landing pages and lead generation compared to Craft. Its Marketing Hub provides everything required natively:

  • Drag-and-drop landing page editor

  • Custom form and survey builders

  • Lead capture tools

  • Smart lead routing and scoring

Marketers can easily create conversion-optimized pages to capture leads without touching code. Automated workflows can then nurture and convert leads based on behaviour.

For Craft CMS, developers would need to install plugins like Landing Pages and Webforms to gain similar functionality. This adds the complexity of integrating and maintaining plugins compared to HubSpot's out-of-the-box tools.

Again, HubSpot simplifies lead generation for non-coders while Craft offers flexibility but requires more technical expertise.

Integrated Analytics and Reporting

In terms of analytics and reporting, HubSpot Analytics provides users robust data on site traffic, conversions, campaigns and more right within the platform.

Craft CMS lacks built-in analytics. Users rely on integrating third-party tools like Google Analytics via plugins and pulling data into the CMS.

This gives HubSpot a significant advantage for measuring site performance. Marketers get actionable data and insights without having to export analytics or learn other tools.

So when it comes to marketing capabilities like automation, landing pages and analytics, HubSpot CMS has a clear edge for non-technical marketing users who don't want to manage complex developer integrations.

Comparing SEO Capabilities

Customization and Control Over Markup

For developers, Craft CMS provides superior SEO capabilities through its fine-grained control over markup and templates.

The Twig templating language enables full control over HTML output. Developers can optimize semantic markup, metadata, technical SEO factors and more during the build process.

HubSpot's template editor has far less flexibility for customizing output HTML. There are limited SEO controls like adding meta descriptions. But in general, developers lose optimization control.

So Craft CMS gives developers complete front-end SEO power while HubSpot CMS limits customization.

Built-In SEO Features and Tools

While it lacks developer customization, HubSpot CMS does provide decent built-in SEO tools for marketers.

Features include:

  • Auto-generated page titles and meta descriptions

  • Custom URL slugs for pages

  • Image alt text generation

  • XML sitemaps

  • Basic meta tags

These enable marketers to optimize on-page SEO without coding knowledge. There's enough customization for good titles, descriptions, URLs and more.

In contrast, Craft CMS has no native SEO features. Developers must manually code all optimization into templates and entries. So HubSpot simplifies SEO for non-developers.

Hosting, Crawling and Indexing

An important SEO difference relates to hosting and crawling.

With HubSpot, sites are hosted on HubSpot's cloud infrastructure. This ensures proper crawling, indexing and page speed without extra configuration.

For Craft CMS, developers must host sites themselves and optimize servers for search engine accessibility. Additional steps are required like XML sitemaps, crawling rules and indexing directives.

So HubSpot's managed hosting gives SEO advantages related to infrastructure. Craft provides control over servers but requires more hands-on optimization.

In summary, Craft CMS provides superior semantic SEO capabilities through template customization. But HubSpot CMS offers decent built-in SEO tools for non-developers plus hosting and crawling advantages.

Pricing and Support Comparison

Breakdown of HubSpot Pricing Tiers

HubSpot offers 4 pricing tiers:

  • Free - Includes basic CRM, landing pages, forms and marketing automation. Limited to 1,000 contacts. Ideal for startups.

  • Starter - £45/month. Improves features like live chat, email marketing and workflows. Support for 5,000 contacts.

  • Professional - £315/month. Additional tools for in-depth reporting, personalized marketing, and Salesforce integration. Supports 15,000 contacts.

  • Enterprise - Custom pricing on request. Full suite of products with unlimited contacts and seats. Dedicated support and training. Ideal for global enterprises.

Higher tiers unlock more advanced functionality, greater usage limits and account services. All include full documentation and customer support.

Craft CMS Pricing Model

Craft CMS pricing employs a different pricing model based on:

  • Lifetime License Purchase - A one-time fee starting from £299 for unlimited sites and editors. Covers core CMS features.

  • Additional Module Fees - Extra for add-ons like Commerce (£299+), multi-site (£99) and redactor (£99).

  • Cloud Hosting - If using Craft Cloud, add hosting fees starting from £29/month.

  • Premium Support - Paid support plans (£299/year minimum) for handling technical issues and updates.

So Craft monetizes through large upfront license fees plus add-on module and support costs. Hosting varies based on the provider.

Support and Resources Included

HubSpot tiers include extensive documentation, email support, live chat and 24/7 phone assistance. Resources improve at higher tiers.

Craft CMS solely provides self-help documentation. Developers rely on paid support plans, Discord community and Stack Exchange for help.

Both benefit from active user communities to find answers and discuss best practices. But HubSpot offers much more thorough official support baked into its pricing.

In summary, HubSpot tiers bundle robust support while Craft follows an à la carte model. HubSpot simplifies pricing while Craft offers flexibility but potential hidden costs.

Use Case Recommendations

When to Choose HubSpot CMS

HubSpot CMS is ideal for:

  • Marketing sites and blogs - The built-in tools for email, landing pages, forms and analytics make HubSpot a great fit for content sites focused on lead generation.

  • Sites where non-technical users will manage content - The intuitive editor allows marketers and non-coders to optimize and edit sites without development help.

  • Organizations that want marketing automation - HubSpot's native workflows, email sequencing, and CRM integration provide robust automation for marketing and sales.

  • Companies already using HubSpot - The seamless integration with other HubSpot tools like Analytics and Marketing Hub provides advantages for users within the ecosystem.

So for blogs, simple marketing sites, and companies that prioritize built-in marketing tools, HubSpot CMS is likely the better choice.

When Craft CMS is the Right Fit

Craft CMS works well for:

  • Custom web applications - Craft's flexible content modelling allows developers to go beyond the traditional CMS structure and create custom entities and schemas tailored to the project.

  • Complex content sites - For sites with complex content requirements, Craft provides the flexibility and custom fields needed to model the diverse content types and relationships.

  • Sites where customization is a priority - The open architecture and full front-end code control make Craft ideal for fully customized website experiences.

  • Organizations with technical teams - For developers looking to build truly custom CMS-driven sites, Craft provides the extensibility and back-end power needed.

So Craft excels at powering custom, complex sites where developer control and customization are key priorities.

Key Factors to Consider in Decision

When deciding between the two platforms, consider factors like:

  • Budget - Craft has higher startup costs but lower monthly fees while HubSpot offers tiered subscription plans.

  • Timeline - Craft can require more development time versus the faster launch with HubSpot.

  • Technical capabilities - HubSpot if non-technical users will manage the site, Craft if developers are available.

  • Content and marketing needs - HubSpot for heavy marketing focus, Craft for complex content structures.

Ultimately there is no universal “better” option. Evaluate your specific budget, resources, timeline and site needs when choosing between HubSpot and Craft CMS.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Andy Golpys
- Author

Andy has scaled multiple businesses and is a big believer in Craft CMS as a tool that benefits both Designer, Developer and Client. 

Show us some love
Email Us
We usually reply within 72 hours
Agency Directory
Submit your agency
Affiliate Partners
Let's chat