What is a Content Management System?
A content management system (CMS) is software that allows a non-technical user, with no knowledge of coding, to create, manage, and edit content on a website.
This system essentially handles all the basic infrastructure or what developers would call the 'back-end' of your website, so you can focus on the 'front-end' portion that visitors see which includes content and images.
So why should you care?
If you want your company to be successful and experience growth, investing in your website and its content management system is key. You should think of it more like an asset that will need continual improvement and updates, rather than a static brochure. Therefore, using a platform that allows for growth is essential.
Features of a Traditional Content Management System
WordPress is a traditional, popular, CMS platform and one solution to create content, but it really requires additional integrations or software to attract, engage, and delight customers. The default features you'll get with a CMS like this include:
- Publishing Tools
- User Management
- Media Management
- Basic Optimization
The HubSpot CMS Features & Benefits
One of the first things I asked Luke about the HubSpot Content Management System was... what makes it so unique?
He started off by saying, "This is a huge topic... are you ready?"
He jumped right into the fact that HubSpot has not only included all your basic features like the ones listed above, but they have strategically combined website creation, management, and optimization with the power of their customer relationship management (CRM) tool in order to customize the entire buyer's journey. This streamlines marketing and sales alignment, and delivers true, closed-loop reporting.
Sounds impressive right? It's because it is.
The HubSpot Content Management System basically takes the traditional CMS infrastructure and has supercharged it by integrating the HubSpot CRM, marketing, sales and customer service tools to go far beyond just content management.
Below are the features that make this platform different than most on the market today, and we'll cover the first 5 in this blog post.
(*There were so many we had to break this topic into 3 posts. When you're done this this one, check out Part 2 & 3 soon)
- Design Tools, Files & Media Management
- Templates, Modules & HubSpot CMS Asset Marketplace
- HubDB - For creating dynamic content experiences that are marketer friendly to manage and edit
- Marketer-Friendly Drag-and-Drop Publishing Tools, Lead Capture & A/B Testing for Website Pages, Blogs, Landing Pages, Forms, and CTAs
- Personalization & Smart Content
- Advanced Optimization, SEO, & Content Strategy Tools
- Reporting & Website Analytics
- Content Staging
- Local Development Tools
- Growth-Driven Design
- All features of HubSpot CRM
- Chat, Email, HubSpot Community, and 24/7 Phone Support (THIS IS HUGE)
- Pop-up, Collected & Native Forms
- AD Management
- List Segmentation
- Mobile Optimization & and AMP Blog Optimization
- Standard SSL certificate
- Google Search Console Integration
- Custom Domains
- World-class Hosting for Speed, Security, and Reliability
- User Management
- 99.99% Uptime
- Content Delivery Network
- Security Monitoring & Threat Detection
- *Only CMS that comes with Conversational Bots and Live Chat out of the box.
Design Tools, Files & Media Management
HubSpot's design manager combines all the tools that designers need to build state-of-the-art websites, while still giving marketers the flexibility that they desire when creating content.
"Our goal is to try to help marketers be able to just do what they need to do to get their work done easily and joyfully, without the need of a developer and having to jump between all these different systems." ~ Luke Summerfield
Tools included in the design manager:
- Finder: a space to create and organize your files, templates, modules, and folders.
- Layout Editor: a drag and drop editor for structuring your page, blog, email, and system templates.
- Inspector: this is where you can edit the properties of a layout, module, or group.
- Module Editor: reusable custom modules that you can set up to add advanced functionality to your site that can still be managed by non-technical users.
- File Manager: a file hosting system for all of your site's assets and media.
Templates, Modules and the HubSpot CMS Asset Marketplace
Systems templates are used for certain types of pages generated automatically by HubSpot. Types of templates include:
- Error page: 404 and 500 error pages to let your users know that they have reached a page that does not exist or a technical issue has occurred.
- Password prompt page: a password prompt page for any content you've locked with a password.
- Subscription page: the subscription preferences page where your email recipients can manage the email types they are subscribed to and unsubscribe from all emails. Update this template to engage with your contacts during the subscription process (e.g., explain how your contacts can opt back in to particular email types so they can resubscribe if they change their mind).
- Backup unsubscribe page: a page that will appear for email recipients who are trying to unsubscribe, if HubSpot is unable to determine their email address.
- Subscriptions update page: the confirmation page that appears when an email recipient updates their subscription preferences.
- Search results page: the page that displays search results when visitors use the site search.
There are three types of modules that can be added to templates...default, special and custom.
- Default modules: they are 33 available for templates in the design manager tool. Each type of module can be customized with styling and content options in the inspector.
- Special modules: in addition to the standard HubSpot modules, each type of system template has a special module that can only be added to that type of template. For example, a password prompt module is only available on when creating a password prompt template.
The HubSpot CMS Asset Marketplace is where you can go to find pre-built template packs, single templates and modules so you can easily build a website. The structure and coding has been done for you. All you need to do is add your own basic styling, content, and images.
"For marketers, HubDB is a spreadsheet on steroids" ~ Luke Summerfield
HubDB is a way to create dynamic, data-driven content that's easy for marketers to manage, much like a spreadsheet. Retrieval of data can happen in many different ways, depending on what you need to accomplish, and you can query the data externally via the HubDB API. Or you can use HubSpot’s HubL markup tags to pull data into the CMS.
Luke explained that there was a real need for this.
They were talking to customers that needed solutions for creating a digital product catalog, event calendar and listing, or there was a franchise, with 250 locations, and they needed to manage all those different franchises online.
The solution to all these scenarios, tied back to the need to have a database where you can manage all that content, and then dynamically display things differently on the site based off of whatever the user is looking for.
"For developers that have used databases in the past, it's more like a lightweight database system." - Luke Summerfield
In addition, Luke said developers will like that HubDB opens a lot of doors because there is an API to it. This means you can feed it with data from other systems, like an ERP system, or an event management system that has an open API. This allows for connection and keeps everything synced.
Marketer Friendly Drag & Drop Publishing Tools, Lead Capture & A/B Testing - Website Pages, Blog, Landing Pages, Forms, CTAs
- Website pages: are the building blocks of your company's website and advanced menus.
- Blogs: it's never been easier to create compelling content that educates your audience about your business. You can also host multiple blogs on the same subdomain if needed.
- Landing pages: display content offers that attract new visitors to convert on your forms.
- Forms & Pop Up Forms: create a form and use it to collect information about your visitors.
- Landing pages: display content offers that attract new visitors to convert on your forms.
- CTAs: a call-to-action is a button you can use on your HubSpot content to drive prospective customers to your website, where they can then convert on a form and be added to your contacts database.
*HOT TIP: You can also A/B Test anything in the above list!
A/B testing is a marketing experiment where you "split" your audience to test a number of variations of a website page, CTA, email, etc. to determine which performs better.
To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of whatever you want to test, with changes to only a single variable. Then, you'll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences and analyze which one performed better over a specific period of time. The key here is that you want the test to run long enough to make accurate conclusions about your results.
Personalization & Smart Content
With smart content and personalization tokens, HubSpot helps you deliver intelligently personalized content to your customer’s needs; tailored to where a prospect is in the buying process, or content targeted to people the very first time they visit your website.
Smart Content lets you target content based on anything you know about your contacts, for true relationship-driven marketing. Basically, any data stored in the CRM about a specific contact can dynamically change the experie marketing. Basicance for the specific viewer.
This is possible in enterprise CMS solutions like Adobe or Sitecore. However, with HubSpot, you don't need a developer to set it up; marketers are able to do it.
You can use it to target your website pages, landing pages, emails, CTAs, and forms based on specific criteria you have stored about your contacts in the HubSpot CRM.
*For HubSpot Professional and Enterprise level only and it comes with the stand-alone CMS as well.
"Smart content and personalization is something that's quite unique to HubSpot CMS, and really opens the door to a lot of powerful things that marketers can do without having to go to a developer. It's an area that we're looking at doing a lot more with for building and optimizing websites." ~ Luke Summerfield
Again, we want to thank Luke Summerfield for another insightful chat about the HubSpot content management system's features and benefits.
Stay tuned to learn everything you need to know about the HubSpot CMS.
In Part 2 of this discussion we cover the rest of the features.
Do you want to learn more about the HubSpot CMS?
Check out another one of our blogs on this topic, 'All About The HubSpot CMS: The Content Management System for Professionals' by clicking the button below.