Since 2008, we’ve worked with a number of different CMS platforms to design and develop websites for our clients. Two of our favorites are WordPress and HubSpot, and we moved our own website to the HubSpot CMS several years ago. Back then, I was thrilled with the results, but my development team didn’t share my enthusiasm… until now.
It’s hard to make marketers, developers, and your IT team happy, but that was obviously HubSpot’s goal with the recent launch of the newest version of their CMS — a.k.a. the CMS Hub. Although there are many things I love about HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and service tools, these are my top five as it relates to their new CMS Hub.
1) It's More Than Just a CMS
HubSpot’s CMS is more than just a platform for developing and managing your website and SEO, it comes loaded with lots of other goodies baked right in! When your website is powered by HubSpot, you’ll also enjoy a wide set of other amazing tools.
Yes, indeed, HubSpot’s CMS comes with HubSpot’s CRM fully integrated. That means you have one central place that you and your team can manage your website as well as your leads, customers, and sales pipeline.
You can see what marketing efforts drove first visits, what pages are being viewed, what elements are driving conversions, which activities help close sales, and what delights your customers as you nurture them. All of this valuable information can be used to create personalized and tailored messaging that’s more timely, relevant, and interesting to your audience.
Email Marketing Tools
With HubSpot’s CMS, you’ll also get access to a lighter version of the tools that come with HubSpot’s Marketing Hub. You’ll enjoy creating marketing emails with the drag-and-drop editor and custom-tailoring your messages with personalization tokens and segmented lists. The email editor also includes tools to optimize your email delivery and results, including testing for different types of devices and inboxes.
Live Chat, Chatbots, & More!
HubSpot’s Conversations platform includes live chat, an easy-to-use chatbot builder, Facebook Messenger integration, and a team email inbox. All of these messaging tools are linked with HubSpot’s CRM to allow you to have contextual and personalized conversations with your leads and customers at scale.
Conversations Inbox: This is a centralized inbox your whole team can access for managing one-to-one communications from live chats and Facebook messages to incoming shared team emails (like support@ or sales@).
Live Chat: You can create welcome messages customized to specific website pages and customize your chat welcome messages based on specific visitor behaviors — like pages visited, device type, forms submitted, list memberships, country, and a number of other options.
Chatbots: You can build chatbots with custom branching logic to gather initial information from your visitors before one of your team members takes over. Bots are great for things like lead qualification, booking meetings, and creating support tickets.
Facebook Messenger Integration: With your Facebook Messenger account connected to HubSpot, you can respond to incoming messages with an instant reply and continue the conversation directly within HubSpot’s Conversations inbox.
Website Traffic & Page Performance Reports
I’m a data nerd, and I love having all my page traffic and performance reports handy in the same place that I manage and monitor the rest of my marketing. You can analyze website traffic site-wide and on individual pages or posts. You’ll know which pages are performing best to attract and convert visitors and which ones may be ready for a little TLC!
Reporting Dashboards + Custom Reports
In addition to the website traffic and page performance reports, you’ll enjoy other reporting dashboards that display marketing, sales, and service performance data. These metrics help you keep tabs on how you’re doing now and where you need to improve performance. On top of that, the CMS Hub comes with the ability to build additional custom reports that fit your specific business needs.
This feature allows you to create rules-based scoring criteria for the contacts in your database. You can set up scoring criteria and assign scores to contacts based on specific website behaviors and other important triggers. Contact scores are another way to segment your CRM and better focus your marketing, sales, and service outreach.
2) It Has Built-in SEO Tools
With many other CMS platforms, you have to add special plugins and buy separate software to fully monitor the state of your search engine optimization (SEO). With the CMS Hub, you’ll have several SEO tools built right in.
As you create posts and pages, the CMS Hub will scan your content and make recommendations on how you can optimize it for the search engines. There’s an “optimize” tab in the page editor that checks everything from your metadata to the number of words included in your content. As you run down the lists of checks, you’ll see tips and insights on SEO best practices.
The CMS also has an SEO homepage that provides a list of recommendations for all the pages and posts throughout your site. You’ll see what’s been flagged as an SEO error, how many pages are impacted, and what changes are needed for further optimization.
Content Strategy Tool
In addition to the SEO recommendations tab, the SEO tool has a “topics” tab to help you plan your content strategy, monitor pillar and subtopic page relationships, and view results over time. The tools let you research topics and keywords, organize your content in a way that’s more optimized for the search engines, see in a visual layout how everything is connected, and see the traffic influenced by your content topics.
Google Search Console Integration
HubSpot's integration with Google Search Console allows you to pull the data from Google searches directly into the SEO tool. With this integration enabled, you’ll be able to see valuable metrics for each of the topics you’ve mapped out as well as page-by-page details of the search queries driving traffic. Google Search Console data available for display in HubSpot includes total impressions, average position, and average click-through rate for specific search terms.
The CMS Hub includes a URL redirect tool so that you can redirect traffic from blog posts or pages as you update or change URLs. Using this tool allows you to maintain the authority of your content and previous search history as you make changes to your site over time.
3) It Makes Marketers Happy
Everything’s in One Centralized Place
Marketers are busy and we wear many hats, so anything that helps us save time and get better results is a no-brainer! Having all the tools you need to execute, manage, and monitor your website and marketing in one centralized place is one of my favorite things about using HubSpot (we enjoy using several other HubSpot tools in addition to the CMS).
Website Page Creation & Management Tools
The CMS was designed to be easy for marketers to use. You can easily create new pages and update existing pages using a drag-and-drop editor. Your developers can create custom themes or tweak existing themes for use by you and your team. This gives marketers the power to make both small and large-scale changes without having to know CSS or constantly call upon developers for help. The website page editor is also tied directly in with other key tools in HubSpot that often come into play as you’re creating and updating pages. It’s easy to insert trackable CTAs, forms, images, video, and content personalization options.
Personalization Tokens & Smart Content
Personalization tokens and smart content are powerful features that let you create a more contextual and personalized experience for your website visitors and CRM contacts. Smart content gives you the ability to dynamically change your site pages using rules to show different content to different audiences based on things like device type, referral source, country, preferred language, lifecycle stage, and list membership.
Personalization tokens use HubSpot CRM data to personalize the content on your website, landing pages, and email. By using one or more personalization tokens within your content, you can display contact-specific data to each visitor from their name, company, or industry to a wide range of other options.
Dynamic Content with HubDB
With HubDB, marketers have the ability to build pages that access data tables and are dynamically generated. This is especially useful for things that may need frequent changes like product catalogs, event calendars, resource libraries, employee listings, and portfolio pages. When changes are needed, you can easily update the data table and reflect that change on one or more pages (wherever the table is referenced). Want to see HubDB in action? Check out our Team and Portfolio pages!
HubSpot’s blogging tools include everything you need to create and disseminate search engine optimized blog posts for your audience. The blog post creation and editing tools are packed with features specifically for blogging. You can create posts in either a draft or inline-editing mode and associate different posts with different blog authors. You can add tags to group posts by topic, allow commenting, set your “read more” section, schedule publishing (now or later), and set up blog subscription options.
When it comes to SEO, the blog editor has an optimize tab that allows you to set your target topic and subtopic keyword(s) and provides suggestions for related topics you may want to consider including in your content. You’ll also be able to check your post against a list of SEO best practices for your title, page content, mobile-friendliness, meta description, links, images, and header. Last, but not least, you’ll be able to verify that you’ve linked from within your post to the pillar content page it’s intended to support.
Google AMP Blog posts
With HubSpot’s forms tool, you can create various types of forms to convert visitors into leads and gather details from your contacts. HubSpot forms can be inserted into your HubSpot landing pages, posts, or website pages. They can also be embedded on external websites or stand alone.
Using the drag-and-drop editor you can create new forms from scratch or select from a list of pre-made examples. The forms editor lets you set required or hidden fields, include placeholder and/or help text, add rich text areas above or between fields, customize your submit button, define who should be notified about form submissions, and where to send the visitor after they’ve submitted the form.
Landing Pages & CTAsHubSpot’s CMS includes tools for building special lead-converting Landing Pages and their associated Thank You pages. Landing Pages typically are used to present content offers, include a form, and are tied to Calls-to-Action (CTAs). Within HubSpot’s reports, Landing Pages have special reporting options so that marketers can track CTA clicks to form submission rates.
With HubSpot's CTA tool, you can build trackable and personalized Calls-To-Action buttons, links, or images that guide your visitors toward key conversion points on your website. You can optimize your CTAs with A/B testing, add smart personalization, and track visitor actions across multiple pages.
With the pop-up forms tool, you can create engaging lead capture forms that act sort of like a CTA, Landing Page, and form rolled all into one. You can target specific pages where you want pop-ups to appear and choose how you’d like them to be displayed — as a drop-down banner, left or right slide-in box, or an in-page pop-up box.
To start nurturing leads and converting them into sales, the CMS Hub includes the option to send up to three automated emails after a visitor has submitted a pop-up or embedded form.
With the CMS Hub, you can test two versions of a website page URL for A/B testing, half of your visitors will see one version of your page, and the other half with see the test variation. You'll be able to see how each version of your page performs by comparing conversion rate, bounce rate, and click rate, and then choose the winning option based on performance.
Advanced Menus (Navigation)
HubSpot makes it easy for marketers to create and update one or more site navigation menus. Within seconds, you can implement menu changes across your entire site without having to call in a developer for help.
Video Hosting & Management
You can host and manage video files directly inside the CMS Hub, and embed those videos into website pages and blog posts with one click. You’ll be able to update the metadata for each of your videos so that it's easy for search engines to discover your content and insert CTAs and forms into videos to capture more leads. You can also track the performance of your videos within your HubSpot page reports.
Multi-Language Content Management
Using HubSpot’s CMS, you can easily manage and optimize a multi-language site. Language variations are grouped with their primary language page for SEO benefits and conveniently managed within the tool. This feature is compatible with the A/B testing so that any language version of a page can be tested in order to improve page performance goals.
4) It Makes Developers and IT Teams Happy
24/7 Security & Threat Monitoring: HubSpot is a proprietary versus open-source software and they have an entire team dedicated to ensuring the security of your content. Using both automated and manual checks, they monitor HubSpot's CMS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for attacks, potential abuse, or other anomalies.
Standard SSL: Security is a standard for HubSpot. Every site hosted on HubSpot's CMS is automatically provisioned with a standard SSL certificate which creates greater trust with your visitors and helps your ranking within Google search results.
Password-protected Pages: HubSpot website pages and landing pages can be password protected, giving you the ability to control who can see the content on a specific page. Although this is a function easily executed by a marketer, it's also a feature that our techie friends love.
With HubSpot CMS, your website and all of its content is served through a global content delivery network (CDN). This allows HubSpot to handle high traffic levels and ensures your website remains active during traffic spikes. Data centers around the globe host your HubSpot content, so if one datacenter goes down, your traffic is automatically rerouted to the next closest center (which avoids downtime).
With the content staging tool, CMS Hub users can redesign and relaunch website pages in a safe staging area. Developers or marketers can import existing HubSpot-hosted pages or create new pages from scratch. Any content created and published in the content staging area is hosted on a special sandbox domain. After the live proof of your redesigned site has been reviewed, you can take your new site live and replace existing live pages in one click.
Themes allow developers to create a site-wide content editing experience for their marketers. Themes allow marketers to make larger scale changes to their web based content without continually needing a developer's help for maintenance.
The domain manager helps you easily manage your connected domains within HubSpot. You can set up a subdomain per content type, and follow the step-by-step documentation and guided set-up to quickly take a new site or domain live.
Local Website Development
Developers can develop on HubSpot using the tools, technologies, and workflows they prefer. You can leverage tools like GitHub to handle version control, and make changes to your web assets when you're ready.
Developer Documentation & Community
The CMS Hub has extensive developer documentation and resources that allow your developers to jump right in and start developing. If a question isn't covered in the developer documentation, HubSpot has an active community of developers interacting on their Slack community (including our VIEOians Ryan, Cody, Paul, and Rob)!
Unlike other CMS options, HubSpot offers support 24/7.
5) There are Pro & Enterprise Versions
All the features I've listed so far are in the Pro version of the CMS Hub, but there's also an Enterprise CMS version that includes even fancier stuff!
CMS Hub Enterprise includes two domains and the option to add more. With CMS Enterprise, you can track all your content within one instance of HubSpot by adding multiple brand domains to your instance of HubSpot.
CMS Enterprise includes content partitioning which lets you set up and use team permissions to give your team access to only the content that is important to them.
Adaptive Page Testing
In addition to A/B testing, CMS Enterprise has dynamic tests that go above and beyond the simple A/B testing options. With adaptive tests, you can choose up to five page variations to test against each other. HubSpot will continually test each version and automatically show the one that performs best to your visitors more often.
Reverse Proxy Support
This is another CMS Enterprise feature that gives your marketing teams the ability to create and manage content with HubSpot’s easy-to-use editing tools, while continuing to load all content from a single, trusted domain that's hosted externally.
With serverless functions via Lambda Support, Enterprise CMS users can add interactive elements to HubSpot hosted content. Things like dynamic calculators, guest books, and event registrations can be presented without the need to configure an external server, ssl certificate, and data transfer process.
CMS Memberships with SSO
This CMS Enterprise feature allows IT and/or Security teams to streamline your account authentication process. You can use your internal SSO with HubSpot’s CMS Memberships to create private areas of your published website. You can easily turn your CRM + CMS into a private area on your website to host webinars for your customers and visitors, store sensitive information, and more.
This feature helps developers identify areas of the HubSpot website that have infrastructure / design problems that may be creating a bad customer experience and slow site speeds. Syntax errors, HubL errors, slow pages, and missing tags can all result in a page failing to load properly for website visitors.
Custom CDN Configuration
CMS Enterprise includes configurable CDN settings to allow your IT teams to manage the security of your HubSpot-hosted content even further by dictating how external visitors can access your website.
Site Performance Reporting & API
This Enterprise feature allows you to build custom reporting dashboards that display data for down errors (outages) reported by your end customers, including areas of the site that are slow. You'll also be able to report on high-traffic areas of your site, how the site is performing over time, and the overall uptime for your site in a given period.
Whew! I know that was a lot but I hope this was a helpful breakdown for you. If you'd like to learn even more about HubSpot's CMS, we're happy to answer any questions you have and even give you a quick demo...
Editors Notes: This post was originally written in August, 2014 and has since been updated for content and product information. The new version of this post includes custom screenshots as well as product images created by HubSpot.