Marketers Beware: The Cost of Wordpress Isn’t Really Free

Jonathan Stanis
Posted by Jonathan Stanis on October 26, 2018

Today between 50-60% of all websites are built on Wordpress, making it the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s a powerful and flexible web publishing system, built by a blogger and web developer in 2003 and made free to the public. There’s a reason it now dominates the web, and that’s the fact that Wordpress is the easiest, most straightforward way of creating a very basic website.


The biggest drawback? Wordpress wasn’t made for marketers (or, really, most businesses). Wordpress was designed for bloggers and people who wanted to share news, not for companies wanting to grow their businesses by marketing their goods and services. 

That’s not to say that Wordpress is only capable of sharing blogs; there are plenty of add-on solutions available in the marketplace that allow users to try to make Wordpress into a workable marketing platform. But those add-ons come at a cost (real costs, “soft” costs and, most important, the opportunity cost), meaning Wordpress isn’t the solution if you want to leverage the power of your website to grow your business.

RELATED: Get Our Guide to All of HubSpot's Benefits

The Real Cost of Wordpress

Visit any tech blog and you’ll find an analysis of the total cost of using Wordpress for a basic website. Jerod Morris of Synthesis writes, in “True Cost of Building and Managing a Wordpress Website,” that companies using Wordpress as a marketing tool should budget for, among other things, site hosting, developer fees, security monitoring, storage, and backups before deciding if it’s the right choice for them. There are also costs related to the purchase of add-ons, time spent on integration issues, and more. So, for most businesses, Wordpress is far from free.

But Morris’ analysis of Wordpress ignores something more important: the critical needs of today’s marketers who want to use content to drive a behind-the-scenes marketing process that attracts visitors, converts leads, nurtures those leads and then closes them. In other words, Wordpress doesn’t allow you to make your website into what it can (and should) be: your hardest-working, most productive sales “person.” Wordpress was not designed to be a full-service solution (like HubSpot and other sophisticated marketing and sales tools) that seamlessly integrates the multiple components needed to automate the entire end-to-end marketing process from visitor to lead to customer.

Yes, Wordpress can help you attract and grow your audience. But for most marketers, attracting an audience is just the first part of the job; the second is engagement (if you aren’t engaging and communicating with prospects, then attraction has little value when it comes to generating sales). The combination of content and strategic engagement is what turns visitors into leads and leads into customers.

Plenty of businesses try to simulate this combination by pairing Wordpress with MailChimp or some other standalone email marketing service. Eileen Lonergan, in her post on doing inbound websites and marketing automation without HubSpot, describes how using these two platforms with a contact management plugin for Wordpress allows businesses to cheaply track contacts in on-site download conversions and other on-page activities. So, what’s the problem?

The fact is, these kinds of pairings enable specific tactics—like on-page conversion or a personalization tag—but don’t allow you to create an efficient and effective content campaign that engages with prospects. 

So What’s a Marketer To Do?

There are a number of alternatives to Wordpress — made by and for marketers — designed specifically to enable users to fully execute a comprehensive strategy. These not only have the functionality to automate the entire marketing process, but they offer remarkable tools, resources and support that make them a valuable partner to marketers. If you’re weighing the options available to you as you consider a new website, be honest about what it is you want your site to do for you; if you want to leverage its power to attract your best prospects and turn them into customers, invest in a marketing technology solution designed to do exactly that.

Checklist: how to prepare your website for inbound marketing

Topics: Marketing Technology, Website Design