One of the most important decisions for a small business is where to host its website, and a CMS or content management system is a crucial component. Some companies with an internal IT team prefer to self-host their website because they require higher-level security or business integrations. However, a growing trend is towards using a SaaS (software as a service) CMS because you can leverage a shared hosting platform with hosting benefits like security, a content delivery network for images, fast servers, customer support, etc.
WordPress has long been the CMS leader for business websites, but now there are more options to consider, like Wix, Webflow, Squarespace, WordPress, Godaddy, Weebly, and HubSpot CMS. An integral part of these solutions is a website builder tool. These visual drag-and-drop page editors make it easier for non-technical users to build pages.
- 1 Can You Really Create Your Own Free Website in Minutes Using Wix or Godaddy?
- 2 What is HubSpot CMS Hub?
- 3 Why I Recommend HubSpot CMS for Small Businesses Websites
- 4 How to Create a Free Website for Your Business
- 5 HubSpot CMS Pricing & Why You Might Consider Upgrading
- 6 Conclusion
Can You Really Create Your Own Free Website in Minutes Using Wix or Godaddy?
Some website builders like Godaddy say you can build a website in minutes using their platform. I have built a lot of “websites” and even the basic ones took hours if not days. No matter how good your website builder is it is going to take a while. A decent site is going to take you days if not a month to set up. Technically you can connect a domain to a website builder and start creating pages in minutes but it won’t be a usable website. How long the process takes, depends on your content and overall strategy.
What is HubSpot CMS Hub?
HubSpot is primarily a free CRM customer relationship management software to help companies manage their customers throughout their customer journey. CRM is the bedrock of the core of the business. As time passed, HubSpot added additional Hubs that could stand alone as separate products but can be bolted on for added functionality. This gives a company one relationship, one CRM, and a centralized hub for marketing, sales, operations, and customer service.
The CMS Hub is one of the newest hubs and provides businesses an opportunity to build their website, landing pages, and blogs using their page-building platform. One of the great features is using your CRM data to personalize website content using smart content logic on your websites. Below is a list of reasons why I think HubSpot CMS is a great alternative to WordPress or Wix.
Why I Recommend HubSpot CMS for Small Businesses Websites
- Designed for business and team collaboration. Since a customer relationship management tool is at the center, everyone in your business can view and monitor your customers and prospects. Having your website in this same environment makes it more streamlined.
- Easier to manage and benefit from the best practices of a large body of customers. Having to manage web hosting and security can be a pain and a risk. Using a service like HubSpot allows you to leverage the expertise of their IT infrastructure.
- Room and tools to grow. As you need more functionality HubSpot has a lot of the tools you will need to grow your marketing or sales.
- Branded online quotes that allow you to accept digital payments. In addition to these quotes, you can track the sales lifecycle of the deal.
- The website page builder is easy to use and also gives a developer the control they need to customize the website to your business needs and requirements.
Are you ready to get started and take the HubSpot CMS for a test drive? Follow the steps below to create your free account.
How to Create a Free Website for Your Business
Step 1. Signup for a Free HubSpot CMS Account
The free version of the HubSpot CMS is a great option to try their website page builder to see if you find it intuitive and easy to use. Keep in mind all of your pages on the free plan have HubSpot advertising, so you will most likely need to upgrade to a higher plan to remove this. I cover this in more detail in step #4.
Signup for a free account: https://bootstrapcreative.com/hubspotcms
Step 2. Download a Free Theme
Once you have the free HubSpot CMS account, you will be given the option to install a free theme. The Growth theme is the default HubSpot theme and is a good choice. Also, if you’re interested, I have a free version of my Industrial theme available. It is a clean and simple design with a mega dropdown header navigation.
Step 3. Experiment & Practice Building Pages
Now that you have a theme installed try creating a page and experimenting with adding sections, editing modules, adjusting the theme styles, adding a form, etc. HubSpot has an excellent course in their academy that walks you through the essential workflows of performing these tasks. After experimenting, can you build all the functionality you need for your website?
To learn more about how to build pages and use the CMS, check out the CMS for marketers course. Visit https://bootstrapcreative.com/hscmscourse
Step 4. Create a Website Plan
Do you like the page editing experience and would like to continue using it for your final website? Now it’s extremely important to adequately plan your website to make sure HubSpot CMS supports all of the functionality you require.
Here are some questions to answer before you make your decision:
- Does HubSpot integrate with all of your business integrations? Do you have important widgets, embeds, or applications that need to work with your website?
- Is your IT team ok with not having full control of the web server? Do you need to block certain countries from visiting your website?
- Can you afford the monthly fee for the plan and functionality you need for your website? I would recommend contacting HubSpot sales to walk you through some of these questions and make sure it is the right fit for your business.
Ok lets say you did all of your due diligence and have decided to use HubSpot CMS, the next step is to consider the theme design of your website. How should your website look? Should you hire an agency, freelancer, or do it yourself? Is a free theme good enough or should you purchase a premium theme? These are all good questions and I will cover them in more detail below.
Get a free website planning guide: https://bootstrapcreative.com/redesignguide
Hiring an agency or freelancer
Do you have more money than time and no internal resources to build your website? Then I would highly recommend hiring an agency. An agency will guide you in discovering and building a theme to your exact needs and help you navigate the strategy behind the theme you are using. In addition to the theme, they can help provide services to help you grow and market your business in other areas like SEO, video marketing, and paid advertising.
A less expensive option would be hiring a freelancer. You can often find a highly experienced designer/developer to help you but also bring in some more risk. The freelancer could be slower to implement because they have other clients and can only perform one task simultaneously. But if you want to own the strategy and design component, hiring a freelance developer is an excellent option.
Buying a theme and customizing it
Buying themes from the HubSpot marketplace has a few advantages over using a custom build theme. The largest one I see is continuous improvement. A theme with a long track record is honed and perfected over time and most of the bugs get worked out. So when you purchase the theme you can be fairly confident you won’t have to worry about identifying and working through bugs. Another big advantage is the economies of scale. A theme selling for $1,000 would easily cost five times that if built custom for a client. Also, since themes are products, a theme provider will be bound to support this product with future bug fixes and theme improvements. Once the scope of work is complete with an agency or freelancer, any updates you want to make will be a new separate invoice.
HubSpot CMS Pricing & Why You Might Consider Upgrading
Would Be A Good Fit If…
Trying out the CMS to see if it is a good fit for your business. The Free version is limited and has HubSpot branding so it is best used in limited form prior to upgrading to one of the higher plans
Up to 25 website pages. Does not include dynamic content.
Includes HubSpot branding.
20 Simple Landing Page Templates with HubSpot branding
50 web pages. Does not include dynamic content.
Remove HubSpot branding on website pages but not landing pages.
20 Simple Landing Page Templates with HubSpot branding
10-200 employees. Global footprint with a need for page translation.
10,000 Coded Landing Page Templates without HubSpot branding
200-2,000 employees. Global footprint with a need for page translation.
Multiple Root Domains
Finding the best free website builder has gotten a lot easier now that HubSpot has a free version of their CMS. It is definitely work considering if you are comparing WordPress vs. Wix vs. Squarespace. I am not being paid for this endorsement and it is my honest recommendation after using it and other CMS’s like WordPress. If you have any questions please email me and I will do whatever I can to help you.