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May 15, 2023
Martech
Darren Stewart

HubSpot CMS vs Webflow: I've used both

Looking to build a new website and trying to pick between HubSpot CMS & Webflow? I give my opinion.

Webflow vs HubSpot CMS

If you’re considering using either Webflow or HubSpot for your new marketing website then i’ll outline in this article the pro’s and con’s (in my opinion) of the two platforms and you can make your mind up which one might suit you best.

As way of setting the context, i've built and managed websites for B2B companies using WordPress, HubSpot CMS & Webflow. This website is built on Webflow and there are pros and cons of using HubSpot CMS and Webflow and i'll give my thoughts below, but, first of all a bit of an introduction into both the Webflow and HubSpot CMS.

Webflow

Webflow was founded in February 2013. The company was created to address the challenges and complexities of web design and development. The founders, Vlad Magdalin, Sergie Magdalin, and Bryant Chou, recognized the need for a more intuitive and efficient way to build websites.

At the time, traditional web design required technical coding skills, making it difficult for non-technical users to create and manage their websites. Webflow aimed to democratize the web design process by providing a visual, code-free platform that allows users to design, build, and launch professional websites.

The founders wanted to empower individuals, businesses, and designers by enabling them to create custom websites without the need for extensive coding knowledge. By combining design tools with a powerful content management system (CMS) and hosting capabilities, Webflow simplified the web development process and made it accessible to a wider audience.

Webflow's drag-and-drop interface and visual editor allow users to design and customize websites visually, while also providing the ability to fine-tune and modify the underlying code if desired. This hybrid approach appealed to both beginners and advanced users, offering flexibility and control over the design and functionality of websites.

HubSpot CMS

HubSpot CMS (Content Management System) was created in 2014. HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing and sales platform, developed the CMS to complement its existing suite of marketing and sales tools.

HubSpot recognized the importance of an integrated approach to inbound marketing, where content plays a crucial role in attracting, engaging, and converting leads. They observed that many businesses struggled with managing and optimizing their website content effectively.

The primary goal of HubSpot CMS was to provide a user-friendly and powerful platform that enables marketers and website administrators to easily create, manage, and optimize content-rich websites. By integrating CMS capabilities into their platform, HubSpot aimed to offer a seamless experience for users to create and optimize content while leveraging HubSpot's other marketing and sales tools.

HubSpot CMS was designed with inbound marketing principles in mind, focusing on creating a personalized and engaging user experience. It provides features such as responsive design templates, drag-and-drop editing, SEO optimization, blogging capabilities, and integration with other HubSpot tools like marketing automation, CRM, and analytics.

By developing their own CMS, HubSpot aimed to offer a comprehensive solution that aligns marketing, sales, and customer service efforts, allowing businesses to attract, convert, and delight customers throughout their entire buyer's journey.

Since its launch, HubSpot CMS has gained popularity among marketers and businesses looking for an integrated platform that combines content management with inbound marketing capabilities.

Comparing Webflow & HubSpot CMS

Webflow specialized in Web Design

Unlike HubSpot, Webflow specializes in web-design. This is good and bad. Good is that its development focus is purely on building a website design tool whereas HubSpot’s is spread across many tools. Bad, potentially because it doesn't integrate as well with other tools like HubSpot marketing automation tools.

HubSpot CMS integrates easily

One of the benefits of the HubSpot CMS is that it will easily integrate with your CRM and marketing automation tools. Usually this is because you are already using HubSpot for these things. I would recommend using HubSpot for everything if you are wanting to use the HubSpot CMS so you can get the most out of it. If you use something like Salesforce instead of HubSpot then I would definitely recommend Webflow because you get less bloat and duplication of functionality.

Webflow is a no-code designer

Webflow provides savvy marketers with a no-code approach to web-design. This gives you more flexibility and freedom to create your own bespoke website. HubSpot on the other hand requires developer knowledge to build anything custom. If you don’t have the budget for a developer and use HubSpot you will most likely ending up using a template which can be fairly restrictive, this usually means your website looking like somebody elses. The no-code approach to web-design is definately the direction webdesign is going in anyway so i would say HubSpot are behind the curve here.

Webflow requires time to learn

Although Webflow is a no-code solution, it still requires time to learn it. It also helps if you have some previous experience in HTML & CSS as you can understand the principles of what you are doing. It is definitely not as easy as a Wix or SquareSpace but you can build more complex and powerful websites if you want to. One thing i would add here is that the knowledge base and help articles are really good on Webflow so if you are stuck there is lots of information to hand.

Webflow Integrations are weak

HubSpot has lots of plug-and-play integrations that can easily be installed with a click of a button. Webflow on the other hand doesn’t have many ‘out of the box’ integrations. You can however install Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager etc easily enough. If you use HubSpot as your CRM you can plug in all your other tools here and then just have Webflow plugged into HubSpot too using HubSpot embedded forms.

HubSpot Forms are much better than Webflow forms

The forms on Webflow are pretty basic. We would recommend using some other tool like HubSpot for your forms and embedding them on the website. You can also use the HTML form function in HubSpot to pick up the forms on your Webflow site if you have the tracking code installed.

Webflow is much cheaper

You can sign-up for a Webflow website for around $30 per month. The HubSpot CMS on the other hand comes as part of the Marketing Professional package and costs $300+ a month. Eseentially HubSpot want you to group all of your tools under their umbrella. You can start HubSpot CMS for free but they lock you out of all the useful bits so it is still worth using Webflow.

Webflow Collections are powerful

One of the cool features about Webflow are ‘Collections’ which are basically like mini databases you can create to store information like blogs, authors, products etc. Being able to create your own collections and configure them how you want without having to code is a really cool feature and gives you a lot o power, you can read more about them here.

Webflow has an ‘inline editor’

AS you can tell by now I'm leaning towards the Webflow route :). The last thing i like about Webflow over HubSpot for content editing is that you can log in and edit the website inline without having to go to a backend view where it can get confusing for people.

My Recommendation: Webflow integrated with HubSpot

My recommendation is to use Webflow for your website and HubSpot as the marketing automation and CRM tool integrated with it. This means you get all of the flexibility of the Webflow platform for your website development integrated with the power of HubSpot’s marketing automation tools like the forms and workflows.

At the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to personal preference, just like with any software solution. I like Webflow because I know a bit of front-end coding and I like visual design so it gives me the flexibility to create websites quickly. HubSpot, although powerful, requires a more classic development approach and therefore is less flexible.

From my time using Webflow I can also say that they are constantly evolving the product and as a SaaS solution they are always improving so it only gets better and better. This website is built on website FYI!

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