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Isabella Amarez September 12, 2022 9 min read

HubSpot CMS Websites for Marketers: Templates, Themes and SEO Optimization

Gabriel Marguglio and Megan Sullivan of Nextiny Marketing joined guests Rachel Sheldon, Ben Brophy, and Brooke Fisher from the HubSpot Academy for an "Ask Me Anything" about HubSpot CMS Hub website design for Marketers. They went over topics such as: 


  • How to use HubSpot CRM and CMS in tandem 
  • Optimizing your website for SEO in HubSpot
  • HubSpot’s transition from templates to themes


Related Blog: Creating Websites in the HubSpot CMS



1): What are common challenges marketers experience while using the HubSpot CMS?


Rachel Sheldon: “There is not a steep learning curve with HubSpot CMS, it was pretty intuitive to begin with and it has become even more intuitive over the years as the product team has continued refining it. Having said that though, there is still a ‘getting started period’ where you need to learn where everything is, and more importantly, how the different tools work together because, like Gabriel has mentioned, with HubSpot CMS you don’t just get the CMS- you also get the marketing tools, the CRM and the sales and service tools all bundled together. So learning and figuring out ways to use all of the different features together and integrate them all is a challenge we’ve seen people experience when they’re first getting started.” 

Ben Brophy: “Something I’d like to call out as well is the developer and marketer working relationship. It’s important as a developer to make sure that the marketer is given the right tools for success, and that can mean something as simple as ensuring that the various themes, templates, and modules within them are usable and well organized.”

Brooke Fisher: “A great thing that marketers can do is make sure that they are clear on the kind of messaging they want their websites to have, especially when building a completely new website. As Ben stated, having that symbiotic relationship with your developers is vital so you can feel like you’re working towards the same goal of creating a cohesive website.”

Get a Free Demo of HubSpot’s CMS Software

2): What is the most significant benefit of using HubSpot for website creation?


Gabriel Marguglio: “We are frequently asked what the differences are between HubSpot and WordPress, which system is better, and why. WordPress has been operating for decades, and there are many fantastic templates and modules available for use that are sure to meet your needs. However, because WordPress is designed so that anyone can build any template or module, security can become an issue if you don’t complete regular updates on plug-ins, etc. While we certainly believe WordPress is an excellent tool, that level of maintenance is not for everyone. So for us, the biggest benefit to using HubSpot is knowing that our websites are secure and run a minimal risk of ever getting hacked.” 

Rachel Sheldon: “I think one of the benefits of HubSpot is that it’s a SAS CMS, so it’s more of a managed solution. WordPress usually boasts about its affordability, and now that HubSpot offers a free version of the CMS, people can rest easy knowing that their websites will not get hacked and they won’t need to spend any additional money to ensure that. Another advantage to HubSpot is the all-in-one solution, so you have everything for your website creation in one place but also everything you need for your customer relationship management (CRM) as well. Your marketing funnel and your sales funnel are in one spot and you can leverage that data against each other.”

Brooke Fisher: “One great thing for me, is the ability to use the CRM plus the CMS, which is the best way to get the best usage out of your website. One of the features I like to use the most is the forms, which you would embed on your website, then add to a workflow, and then create an automation. From there, you’ll be able to put that customer through your marketing and sales funnels, and all they had to do was complete a form.”

Ben Brophy: “From a developer’s perspective, I rather enjoy that HubSpot is opinionated about how to build a theme, build a template and build modules, whereas with WordPress you never really know how it’s going to be set up. With WordPress being open source, you build on it any way you want, so as a developer, I like that with HubSpot you can leverage the templates and the modules. If you’re an agency or a developer you can reuse your code and reuse your modules, and it becomes a significant workflow efficiency boost.”

An example of the new theme editor in HubSpot

3): There are a lot of comparisons between HubSpot and WordPress, but what about others like Drupal, Squarespace, and Wix?


Gabriel Marguglio: “In my opinion, when it comes to Wix you have the opposite problem you do with WordPress. Whereas with WordPress you have full liberty and anything can happen, with Wix you’re a lot more limited when it comes to customization, which can become an issue when you’re trying to optimize your website for SEO. If you’re trying to create a simple and quick website, Wix could be a great option because your site could be up and running in just a few minutes and with minimal effort.” 

Rachel Sheldon: “The main thing I would say about comparing systems like HubSpot with Squarespace or Wix is that systems like Squarespace and Wix are great for individuals who want to spin up an attractive website quickly, but not so much for someone who is trying to grow and scale a business. HubSpot is designed more for business owners, so people who are trying to generate revenue and have a customer base they’re trying to build are the people who would get the most value out of HubSpot.”

Brooke Fisher: “I think overall, with HubSpot you have the ability to do more. HubSpot offers full customization which then benefits the web designer and marketer; with the customizable templates and modules, developers can customize modules, add whatever features they want, and then web designer and marketers can drag and drop the modules built specifically for what the business need is.”

Ben Brophy: “When it comes to Drupal, similar to what Rachel stated, different systems will work for different use cases. I agree that HubSpot is a great option for someone looking to grow and scale a business, but if not, then another system could work well too.”

Various website builders including SquareSpace, Wix, Drupal, Wordpress and HubSpot

4): Where do you see templates heading with the release of themes and what would you recommend for an agency like ours with clients whose websites still use templates?


Rachel Sheldon: “Our CMS is still quite new, so there is no immediate urgency to sunset the templates at this time. Even if that were to happen at some point, our customers would have plenty of time to transfer their sites into themes. I think the advantage of themes is that you are getting the most up-to-date functionality, between the drag and drop capability, the ability to save layout sections, and the fact that when downloading from the marketplace you’ll always have access to the newest versions of modules and features. I see themes as the design kit or framework for your website whereas templates serve more as a skeleton for each of your individual pages, and they work beautifully together. But who knows what the future holds?”

HubSpot Marketplace

5): What would you recommend to someone wanting to use global modules with the saved sections feature?


Brooke Fisher: “I think when it comes to global modules and saved sections, you should think about them in different ways, they have different functionalities. So understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both the global modules and the saved sections feature, then using that information to determine which one is best to use in which situation. Learning the ins and outs of both can help you and your team decide when to use which.” 

HubSpot’s Global Content and Saved Sections Features

6): What are the best internal HubSpot features for SEO and what would you recommend after the site is launched for optimization?


Rachel Sheldon: “Well, there have been a lot of optimization improvements made on the back-end because the thing with site speed and SEO is that the speed of your website has everything to do with what’s on your website. At the end of the day, the site speed of your site is primarily determined by the code that is on your site that Google has to render. That is made up of several factors, like how it’s run, i.e. the JavaScript and the content you have on your site. You can have the cleanest JavaScript and the most efficiently-built website in the world, but if you have massive image files, massive videos, six Google map embeds, and a Twitter feed, your site is going to run slowly. Instead, paring that down, optimizing the content particularly above the fold to be leaner and run faster will help improve your site speed and your core web vitals in Google. We recommend compressing your image files, your media, your code files, implementing lazy loading, and finally, checking your website with the HubSpot website grader to see what your score is and where there is room for improvement. If you’re looking to learn more about SEO and how to optimize your site, you should check out HubSpot’s SEO Certification Course.” 

Brooke Fisher: “I think we also have to remember that HubSpot also has a bunch of free SEO tools that you can use for SEO planning because even though technical SEO is a big part of your website grader score, another factor of your score is content. So you should consider things like how well your content is written, whether you’re using those pillar pages correctly, and if your blogs and articles are helping you gain more authority in Google’s eyes. Utilizing the free SEO tools will help you plan out what to put into your CMS.” 

Here are some of our favorite HubSpot CMS experiences: 

API Show-and-Tell - Ben Brophy’s Pick


CMS Show-and-Tell - Brooke Fisher’s Pick

CMS Show-and-Tell - Megan Sullivan’s Pick: Product Feeds using Blog Feature


CMS Show-and-Tell - Gabriel Marguglio’s Pick for Knowledge Base Bot

CMS Show-and-Tell - Gabriel Marguglio’s Pick for CMS Hub Enterprise + HubDB

Join our CMS for Marketers HUG to learn more about how you can use the HubSpot Content Management System (CMS) to create beautiful and high-performing websites. We will guide you through the entire process of developing a website and discuss topics such as how to utilize various design tools, optimize your site, and determine messaging that fits your brand, templates, low-code website design, SEO, user experience, and conversion optimization.

Interested in learning more about how you can better utilize the HubSpot CMS for your business? Sign up for our next office hours event!

If you’re looking for ways to improve your website, check out our free website grader tool and get recommendations on performance, SEO, mobile responsiveness, and security.

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