As clients begin to see the value of Blogging as a way of positioning their company as a "Thought Leader" in their industry, we continue to get more and more questions about which Blogging software to use. As with many things in life, it depends on what you want. Here are three that we like. The following is a combination of internal and external reviews of Squarespace, Hubspot, and Wordpress.
Over the past four or five years, blogging has become undeniably mainstream. Blog networks compete with traditional newspapers and magazines in a number of content areas including technology, and some — including Sugar, Gawker Media and AOL’s Weblogs Inc — have become major publishing entities in their own right.
Squarespace - In July of 2010, Index Ventures and Accel Partners led a $38.5M minority investment into Squarespace, representing the first outside capital the company raised to date. Squarespace has received recognition from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, BusinessWeek, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post. It has grown to 46 employees, and is headquartered in downtown Manhattan. Squarespace is a hosted content service that competes with WordPress.
This was the first financing round for Squarespace, which has mostly flown under the radar compared with some of its more high-profile competitors. The company was started in 2003 by Anthony Casalena, and has been self-funded until now.
One reason Squarespace doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other blog-hosting and content services could be that it doesn’t offer a free version — the company’s publishing packages, which include hosting and a variety of themes and other services, start at $8 a month and go as high as $50 — and because its user base is made up primarily of:
- Companies (including communications firm Porter Novelli and ABC News), and
- Professional entities rather than individual bloggers.
The size of the investment that Squarespace has managed to attract from Accel and Index indicates that these investors see the potential to take the company’s software and services beyond simple blogging and into the broader world of content-management systems. Although some media companies have been experimenting with open-source software such as Drupal and Joomla for web publishing, both of these are fairly complex to manage, and a hosted solution could appeal to publishers such as the Telegraph Group, which is already using a number of cloud-based services.
This website and Blog - www.FilmAnnexCorp.com is written on Hubspot. Our research site www.OutsideInResearch.com is written on Squarespace. I have used Squarespace for years and the tool is easy to work with and is relatively inexpensive when compared to Hubspot. The support from my experience is all online rather than phone based. Simply stated the social media integration and backend data does not compare with Hubspot, but it is much cleaner looking than Hubspot.
WordPress — The Company raised $29.5 million in 2008 from a range of investors including the New York Times. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg responded to Squarespace’s funding news on his personal blog, saying the company “has come after our VIP program before, when they made a screencast showing how they could recreate Scoble’s blog in 15 minutes using their design tool.” Mullenweg added that the financing was “quite a chunk of change, so it will be interesting to see what they apply it to.”
Wordpress is not a competitor of HubSpot, and they actually have a relationship with Wordpress. The HubSpot for WordPress plugin allows WordPress users to take advantage of HubSpot lead nurturing, website analytics, and assorted features of the HubSpot CMS that are missing in WordPress.
You no longer need to be a HubSpot customer to use this plugin. Non-Customers can use a majority of the shortcodes, widgets and the "Call to Action" post type with stats.
HubSpot customers benefit from Lead API integration and additional sidebar widgets that can be set up in a HubSpot dashboard. Customers can also easily view their HubSpot dashboard and stats right within WordPress.
Wordpress is simply a Content Management System and blogging platform. If a client wants to build out their site on Wordpress that is totally fine. HubSpot is different as they are the marketing engine behind getting found, converting visitors to leads and analyzing the way the website is working for the company.
Hubspot - Hubspot has raised $65 million to date in private venture capital money including Google Ventures. After their recent funding in May of 2011, Google Ventures Partner, Rich Miner (co-founder of Android) stated:
“We agree with HubSpot’s belief that search engines, social media, and mobile devices have fundamentally changed how businesses should market themselves. We’re thrilled to support their efforts to help thousands of small and medium businesses reach potential customers.”
Squarespace and WordPress are very good blogging tools in many ways. However, many customers, now want to see the data and they see the value of integration, of having all their "Inbound Marketing" in one place working together. With Hubspot you get:
- Access to the support team,
- Automatic submitting of all your content for SEO,
- Hubspot host the data.
Most companies spend way too much time trying to tell people what their product or service does and way too little time trying to attract more people using inbound marketing by creating content that their prospective customers care about.
Hubspot is graphically limited and I don't compeletly understand why. They seem to take a little too much pride in "we are not pretty but we smoke the back end". HubSpot spends the majority of their time focused on inbound marketing as the world continues to block out annoying cold calls, junk mail, and spam emails. They focus their CMS on simplistic design because they are all about content creation and SEO. ProActiveNewsroom.com (built on Hubspot) dominates the search engines and blows most other small-cap companies away in terms of traffic results. When it comes to internet success, simple, combined with SEO best practices and great content, is the ultimate combination for success.
Here is an interesting review of Hubspot from The Sales Lion:
"When it comes down to it, I think the great difference of Hubspot (HS) is the fact they are changing the culture of internet/inbound marketing as we know it. They believe in teaching the masses (see their blog and self-help articles, they’re amazing) as much as possible so that any man or woman, no matter their background, can be their own webmaster and SEO. They give, give, give with the hopes that businesses will understand this great paradigm shift and therefore embrace the HS way. In fact, when I think of HS, this phrase always comes to mind, as it’s a perfect reflection of their business model:
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day….Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
So that’s my suggestion to you. It’s time to learn how to fish. It’s time to change your life. If you’ve been considering HS and haven’t pulled the trigger, then I’m here to tell you that you’ve wasted enough time, so let’s get with it. Why delay success?? And remember this critical key:
If you just follow the HS inbound marketing system and use all their tools, you’ll automatically be ahead of over 90% of the businesses in your industry who are still living in the stone-ages.
Think about that for a second. It ain’t an exaggeration. Again, once you truly understand this you’ll stop waffling over whether or not HS is worth it and you’ll start realizing that this decision will impact your business likely more than any other decision you’ve made since opening its doors.