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Episode 256: HubSpot CMS Hub Starter - Everything You Need To Know

By XEN Systems

Published: Friday 13 August 2021 | Last updated: Wednesday 18 August 2021

Welcome to HubShots Episode 256: HubSpot CMS Hub Starter - Everything You Need To Know

This edition we dive into:

  • The new CMS Hub Starter edition
  • What’s included, what’s missing
  • Who it’s ideal for
  • Where it fits in the overall HubSpot strategy

You can listen to this episode of the show here.

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Recorded: Monday 09 August 2021 | Published: Friday 13 August 2021

Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

HubSpot CMS Starter released

HubSpot have fleshed out their CMS Hub tiers, adding a new Starter tier to complement their Pro and Enterprise tiers.

In this episode we chat through:

  • A breakdown of what’s included in CMS Starter and what’s missing
  • Who CMS Starter is ideal for
  • When you would upgrade to CMS Pro or Enterprise
  • It being included in CRM Suite Starter (we’ll have a whole episode dedicated to CRM Starter in the coming weeks)
  • Where HubSpot is going - and where CMS Starter fits in

Shot 2: CMS Hub Starter Overview

HubSpot CMS Starter

As you know HubSpot launched the Starter tier of the CMS Hub this week.

It’s a good move and includes a generous level of functionality for the price.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s included, and what’s missing:

What’s included in HubSpot CMS Starter

Access to most functionality of the CMS design experience including:

  • Using drag and drop page builder (but not with templates)
  • File Manager (but possibly some limitations with Video hosting)
  • Forms (without branding)
  • Special set of Themes available in the Theme Marketplace

(Tip: You could potentially just use CMS Starter to remove the branding on your forms if you didn’t want to purchase Marketing Starter.)

Also includes:

  • Blog
  • SSL certificate
  • CDN
  • Custom domain

Note: HubSpot are (rightly) promoting these features (ie safe, reliable, secure) in a market where WordPress can get associated with being hacked.

Some of the nice features that I wasn’t expecting:

  • Expire pages on a certain date (in settings on a page)
  • Schedule settings
  • Optimise (SEO) settings
  • Create a multi-language variation (but each variation is another page!)

All the main Domain, Page and Blog settings including:

  • XML Sitemap
  • Robots.txt editing
  • Adding GA and GTM
  • Editing site header and footer html
  • System pages
  • Navigation menus
  • Language settings
  • Redirects

What’s missing

  • Can’t create Landing pages based on Theme templates (very confusing)
  • No RSS email option Update: Correction - CMS Starter does include Blog emails
  • CTAs (note: some of the free Themes have pages that have ‘CTA’ options in their modules - but these are just styled buttons - they aren’t the HubSpot CTAs)
  • A/B testing
  • Smart content
  • Can’t set the root domain (as far as I can tell)
  • Site tree
  • SEO tool
  • Campaigns
  • Most Dashboards and Reports

What’s limited

  • 15 web pages - which is kinda bizarre (by comparison Wix has a limit of 100 and Squarespace has a limit of 400 pages, and of course WordPress has no limit)
  • Can’t create or edit drag and drop templates in the Design Manager (you can edit Theme files eg HTML files, but you can’t edit or create drag and drop theme pages)

HubSpot Marketplace

HubSpot Marketplace tailored for CMS Starter portals

There’s a new Marketplace Downloads section in Settings:

File Manager Experience

File Manager includes the Shutterstock Stock images option (perfect for selecting all your cliche handshake business images lol)

Shot 3: Who is CMS Starter For?

  • CMS Starter is ideal for microsites and very simple company websites.
  • Also ideal for people who have a personal blog.
  • It’s very simple to set up and use, as well as being secure and stable.
  • It’s priced very competitively in the same range as squarespace, wix and others.
  • It’s also a very compelling alternative to landing page tools such as Unbounce, landingi, LeadPages.  However we are checking to see if you can create a landing page with the theme you download/purchase.

Shot 4: When would you upgrade to HubSpot CMS Pro?

The main trigger for upgrading would be when you hit the 15 page mark.

However, features wise, it’s when you want to be more sophisticated in your site implementation and include

  • CTAs
  • Personalisation
  • smart content
  • A/B testing
  • Content staging

Shot 5: The HubSpot Hub Family

HubSpot CMS Hub Starter is included in the CRM Suite Starter bundle, which includes:

  • Marketing Starter
  • Service Starter
  • Sales Starter
  • Operations Starter
  • CMS Starter

We’ll be discussing this in detail in a future episode.

Shot 6: Where does this fit into the overall HubSpot strategy?

CMS Usage globally

W3Techs have a regular trends report showing usage of CMS, you can view that here.

Will be interesting to see how this % changes over the coming year - currently HubSpot is sitting down at position 18:

Squarespace and Wix are firmly in the sights with CMS Starter. (Drupal and Joomla are targets for CMS Pro or Enterprise)

I won’t be surprised to see HubSpot above 1% within a year, and above 2% within 3 years.

And from there it’s a WordPress, Shopify and HubSpot world.

Shot 7: Our Current Marketing Stack for Small Businesses

For small businesses this is our current stack:

  • HubSpot CRM Suite Starter, which includes:
    • HubSpot Marketing Starter
    • HubSpot CMS Starter
    • HubSpot Sales Starter
    • HubSpot Service Starter
    • HubSpot Operation Starter
    • Inexpensive costs per 1000 contacts
  • MailerLite (for email automation and RSS emails)
  • Agorapulse (for social management)

This is an update to our previous stack (which you can review in episode 138).


Shot 8: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 


HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.

HubShots - 1200x800-Aug-10-2021-12-42-37-03-PM


Episode 256: HubSpot CMS Hub Starter - Everything You Need To Know

Published: Friday 13 August 2021 | Last updated: Wednesday 18 August 2021

Tags: Marketing Manager, HubSpot, HubShots, Marketing
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