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Why Marketers AND Developers Love HubSpot CMS Hub [The Basecamp S1 Bonus Episode]

Basecamp Bonus HS CMS CC

We're excited to announce the launch of HubSpot CMS Hub Professional and Enterprise! It's the next evolution of HubSpot CMS and helps companies of all sizes stay focused on what really matters, delivering the best possible experience to site visitors.

On this bonus episode of The Basecamp, Front-end Developer John Fuller and Project Manager Gretchen Elliott discuss how HubSpot CMS Hub (Professional and Enterprise) helps your entire team create delightful experiences while not being bogged down by systems.

When it comes to building and managing your company's website, it's not unusual to encounter friction between marketers and developers. The two have competing priorities. Marketers need the site to be flexible and updated quickly as campaigns and messaging evolve, whereas developers have to consider factors from security to stability to speed. 

But the thing is, whether they know it or not, marketers and developers have the same end goal – creating the best experience for their company's customers. Now there's a CMS (content management system) focused on that objective.

Here at Ascend, we've been building websites on HubSpot CMS for a while now. (In fact, we recently built an award-winning website on HubSpot CMS Hub Professional which has seen incredible results.)

We're particularly excited to announce the launch of the next evolution of HubSpot's CMS – the all new CMS Hub. CMS Hub helps companies of all sizes stay focused on what really matters, delivering the best possible experience to site visitors.  

When it comes to HubSpot CMS Hub, there are a lot of new features to be thrilled about. The tool truly takes the pain out of managing your website, while laying a foundation for your website (and business) to grow.

However, we're most pumped about how CMS Hub helps your entire team create delightful experiences without being bogged down by systems. Here are three reasons why marketers and developers love HubSpot CMS Hub:

1) Flexible theme system for developers means they can focus on creating remarkable web experiences.

CMS Hub lets developers use the tools, technologies, and workflows that they prefer, instead of ones that a system prescribes for them. By leveraging HubSpot’s flexible themes system, developers can develop content creation experiences for marketers that allow them to take ownership of the site, so they can focus on higher impact growth-projects. Your developer can start from scratch or leverage one of HubSpot’s pre-built themes as a starting point.

"Now is the best time to make a website on HubSpot. I'm more excited than ever to A) do my job as a developer and to B) hand it off to content creators."
–John Fuller, Developer

In addition to themes, your developer will enjoy key features like website page creation and management tools, local website development, the developer documentation and community, content staging, and dynamic content with HubDB.

2) Content creation made easy for marketers.

Finally, a system that allows marketers to take ownership of the website. Using themes, marketers can easily edit pages within an all new drag and drop interface. They can also update the look and feel of their entire website without having to dive into stylesheets or knowing CSS. (Basically, marketers can rely on their developer as much or as little as they prefer.) What it comes down to is, no more last minute dev requests or waiting around to create content.

And what's content for if it's not ultimately generating leads? HubSpot CMS Hub is rounded out with SEO tools, forms, live chat and the HubSpot CRM, meaning all the tools you need are in one place. No more managing or integrating multiple systems. You can also use website data to inform your marketing decisions, like email sends and landing pages. Dare we say, it's a marketer's dream? 

3) Everyone can focus on the customer experience.

When marketers can focus on marketing and developers can build using the tools they prefer, everyone wins. Especially your customers and your business.

Bottom line: We said it before, but we'll say it again, HubSpot CMS Hub takes the pain out of managing your website. 

Are you ready to grow your website and your business? Give us a shout. We'd be glad to talk.

 

Read the Transcript

(Video available above or on YouTube.)

Gretchen: Hey, John, we just wanted to hop on for a bonus episode of the base camp. HubSpot has released their new CMS for professional and enterprise and I think we've seen a lot of appeal on both the development and the marketing side and just wanted to chat with you a little bit about how it is going as a developer.

John: Yeah. Now is the best time to make a website on HubSpot. We've always loved doing it, but I'm more excited than ever. A, to do my job as a developer, but B, to hand it off to content creators when we're finished building it out because time and time again, everybody is just happy with the experience that they have. I always get feedback, "Oh my gosh, this is so much better than WordPress." That's probably the main thing that I always hear, but after they tell me the details. I see a common thread in that editing is not a daunting task, but it's, I don't know, pleasurable if you will.

Gretchen: Yeah, for sure. I think what we've seen too is, I have worked with websites in WordPress and HubSpot is just so much easier, especially the way you build the sites, you template a lot of things out in the sense that as a marketer, gives me the freedom to then create as many campaigns as I need, as quickly as I need them. And I think what I've seen, especially just with our global environment right now, is we have had to move really quickly on some things and so not having the technical side of the website hold us up or you're working in a lot of different tasks or items in your schedule. I've already got what I need as a marketer in our CMS, whether it's a pro or an enterprise level and I can just go in, create the template, I need, the landing page, the email.

Gretchen: I think one thing too, we're talking just about the CMS now, but to just kind re-iterate that it integrates so well with all of the other features of HubSpot, that then you've just got this all in one place to manage your website and your marketing and you're not even differentiating between the two almost at this point.

John: Marketers love this because they don't have to spend all of their cognitive resources, all of their business resources, making two pieces of technology talk together. So let's say you have a CRM. Let's say you have a marketing enterprise. Those are tied together in HubSpot, but now your website's tied together with it as well. So you can have personalization to your customers that's tied to your CRM. It's great. You don't have to make WordPress play with HubSpot. You don't have to make some other CMS play nice. It's all done in one box, out of the box.

John: And even for people who are not marketers, I guess our pitch used to be, get HubSpot to play nice with the website, kind of boiling it down. But the CMS as a standalone product is way better than any CMS that I've developed on. And so customers, again going back to the customer feedback, it's not just the marketers who are going, "Oh, this website editing experiences is awesome." It's people who are not necessarily using HubSpot's marketing services. They're just using the website CMS, they love it too. And so that's where I think it's really shining as well.

Gretchen: Definitely. And John, I wanted to ask a little bit, you just mentioned one thing I picked up on that, on the development side, it's the platform you've enjoyed most developing on. Can you maybe speak a little bit, if you were going to talk to another developer who hadn't used HubSpot before or developed on for what some of those key things are that you really enjoy about it.

John: Yeah. Probably the best and strongest aspect of developing on HubSpot is the community behind it. So HubSpot puts their money where their mouth is and they've put a lot of resources into empowering and enabling developers to build on their platform. It's a smart business decision at the end of the day, but it's beneficial to people like me too because I don't have to go and sift through poorly documented resources or poor documentation. They're constantly working on their documentation. They have a big Slack community.

John: Even if there's something missing in documentation, I can be like, "Hey, this was confusing." And I've even had people on their staff go, "Whoa, that was confusing. I'm going to update the documentation." So it's something that they're pouring resources into and it's really showing. But as far as the syntax and getting into the nitty gritty and the technical stuff, I can see your eyes glazing over now.

Gretchen: No.

John: But the syntax and the way that code looks, it's just so much better to me than something like PHP or just some, not archaic, but unregulated coding language if you will. So I really like that aspect of it. Things are locked down just enough and flexible just enough to make a really cool product.

Gretchen: Yeah, no that's great. And you mentioned the locking down too, I think some of the key features we see, just speaking more to the development side are that content staging, website themes, the page creation and management tools. And I've noticed with the themes, you can almost protect us from ourselves. Maybe I'll want to make a change to a page or a template and you know it's not really going to provide the best experience for the user. And so maybe I don't quite get all that freedom as a marketer when it comes to editing and creating some of the pages.

John: Yeah. The CMS enables developers to have a lot of control to where they can, I guess essentially give control, as much control as they want to or lock down things as much as they want to. And as a developer, I love enabling marketers and content creators to do what they do best and that's focused on the content rather than touching code and stuff like that. Because it takes cognitive resources and then that takes away resources from doing what you do best. So that's one reason why I love HubSpot.

Gretchen: No, I definitely appreciate that. There's one other key feature that we have touched on before, but I think it's so valuable it's worth touching on again, and that's the dynamic content with hub DB or HubSpot database. Maybe can you talk a little bit more about some of the benefits you see with using hub DB, which from my understanding is like a really unique feature in a website CMS.

John: To kind of sum up what hub DB is. If you're somebody who uses another CMS and you're putting in custom metal boxes or custom data for certain post types and things like that, that's handled in HubSpot through hub DB. So it's basically to the front end user a really good looking Excel spreadsheet that the developers can populate the website with all of that data. So you have all of this, I guess ugly un-intuitive user interface in other CMS's. Well content creators aren't going to want to use that and they're going to go in and they're going to get frustrated. In HubSpot, it looks good and they don't have to think as much on how to edit content, if that makes sense. Sorry, I'm kind of jumbled all over the place.

Gretchen: Not at all. I think it definitely makes sense. I think one way we've used it a lot is with locations. We have some clients that have 20 to 40 different locations and we know that their locations might change. So it's great as you were able to set up, like you said, this beautiful hub DB table that I'm able to at the initial stage give you all the info in a spreadsheet, we can import it in, but then as a business grows or changes, they move locations, it's so easy for me, I don't have to tell you about it, I can just go in and change it. And I think we do the same thing with products or services. Basically, any repeatable or information that's structured in the same way.

Gretchen: You're able to put that in a hub DB table and then we can create, how it might look on the front end, but then it's very easy to update and change that. And I think what's great about it is you've got one source of truth for all that information. You don't have to remember where it lives on your website. So when you build it, it's all pulling from that one table. So as the marketer or the content person, I only have to change it in one place and I know it's going to be updated everywhere else it's pulling from on the website.

John: Yeah. And at the same time you weren't having to go into a SQL database and type in all of these custom commands. You have that one source of truth but a good user experience. And again, to somebody who's going, "What is hub DB?" It's essentially, if you've used another CMS, a collection of custom fields all in one table and you can use that data to dynamically populate your website.

Gretchen: I think basically there's a ton of great features coming out with HubSpot CMS and I think we've definitely enjoyed using it, even watching a CMS grow too. And I think another great thing about using the HubSpot CMS is you know HubSpot is always going to be improving it. So it's a very reliable, stable tool that we know is going to be around for years and decades to come. And it's also improving as well, like you mentioned with the community.

Gretchen: And so, we've even got some of our client websites on the HubSpot Inspire. So if people are looking and seeing, what can I really do with the HubSpot CMS? I think that's a great resource to go look and you can search by industry or use case or business size and it really shows the breadth and the depth of what the CMS can do.

John: And let's say you have a scheduling app or an event app that you've paid for a developer to make custom fit for your company. It's working great, but you have to go and you have to put trust in a third party service, or a middleman and you've got to spin up a server and then the app has to talk to your CMS and then it's got to come and talk to its own database and then they've got to marry the two together and it's got to show up on your website somehow. All of this creates room for error for something to go wrong. In my experience, the less middlemen, the less third parties, the better. There's a lot less room for error, a lot less room for bugs, things to go wrong.

Gretchen: For sure. Yeah. Or one of the people, or the tools involved to make an update, but then it's going to break something that's configured another way. So I think that's a good point that you bring up John. And one thing I've enjoyed as a marketer too, HubSpot has excellent training for the CMS. I mean really for all of their tools. But I took the CMS for marketers course just earlier this week and it walks you through everything from the philosophy or the reasons behind the way the tool is the way it is. But then really even where to go point and click and to do exactly what you need to get done as a marketer. So that's one thing that I don't think you necessarily get with every CMS or every piece of software that you're using.

Gretchen: I think that's great. We were talking about the HubSpot Enterprise. If you have a bigger team or bigger marketing team or more than a couple of people who are going to be in the website, I think that's a great place to start because then everybody can take the same training and you're not having to just kind of elbow to elbow support is what I call it, be right next to somebody, pointing and showing them where everything is. All those resources already exist. So your team can I think really get up and working in the CMS a lot more quickly.

John: Exactly. And that's one of the big things that I think gives an advantage to having your website on the CMS is there are a lot of resources that teach you how to use the product. So like you said, you just spent... How long did you spend? Like an hour or something then you-

Gretchen: Oh, like tops. Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Gretchen: And I think part of it, I will say, we've been in the tool so I was more familiar with it, but if you were someone who was even brand new to it, I don't think it would take you longer than an hour, maybe two.

John: But two things. A, having a product easy to use and B, having tutorials on how to use it, you're going to be set. If you go with something that's, I guess not as centralized, like a CMS that's not as centralized. There are trade offs to both a centralized CMS and a non centralized one. As far as companies behind it. Don't get me wrong. But the trade off that you make with going with a centralized one is you have all of these resources if it's a good company. You have all of these resources to go into documentation. Like you said, you were able to look up how to use the product in under an hour and you have all the resources that go into making good product. With those two combined, it's going to make the user's life, it's going to make our lives easier, essentially. It's going to make it where we don't have to think as much. And I like that a lot.

Gretchen: That's great. Well, John, thanks for taking time out of your day to talk through what's going on with HubSpot, particularly the CMS. I think we've really covered a breadth of how it runs from developers to marketers and overall, it just helps everybody work well together and helps your business grow, which I think at the end of the day is what we're looking to do.

John: Yeah. A hundred percent.

Gretchen: Awesome.