Are You Moving to HubSpot? Check if You Should Migrate the Existing Site or Build it From Scratch

January 2021

You’ve made the decision. You are moving your website to HubSpot. It’s fast, secure, personalized, and it takes the pain out of managing your content. And then you think: ‘Isn’t migration a perfect opportunity to perk up my web design?’ 

Even though you find yourself daydreaming about your website’s brand new look, you’re still in doubt about giving it a total makeover. You don’t have the budget to splurge on extra design work and code development. Changes are expensive, right? And it’s easier to migrate the whole thing as it is than building it from scratch in the new CMS system. 

Well, not really. 

‘Smooth website migration’ doesn’t exist

Although every CMS vendor will tell you otherwise. 

As a HubSpot Certified Partner Agency, we’ve developed over 300 projects in the HubSpot CMS for our clients. Based on our experience, a typical 3- or 5-page website takes 20-30 hours to design from scratch plus 40-60 hours to develop it in HubSpot. In comparison, migrating an existing website from the previous CMS onto HubSpot usually takes 50-70 hours, provided everything stays exactly as it was. 

And we have never seen a CMS migration project without any changes. Never. The customer always wants to merge things, get rid of some sections, or add an extra form or a landing page.  Besides, certain modifications need to be made to leverage HubSpot modules and features. Otherwise, what would be the point of migrating if you couldn’t use them? Also, if the original site is poorly coded, slow, and not secure (and unfortunately, that’s often the case), tweaks are indispensable. 

As a result, it usually takes similar time and effort to copy a website 1:1 in HubSpot vs. to design a brand new one. Especially if designers and developers use tools like Zeplin and Figma to connect, collaborate, and streamline work, building a new site in HubSpot involves little to no overhead.

Designing websites in HubSpot. Traps to avoid

Even if your website is fully functional and well-designed, this doesn’t mean that migrating it to HubSpot will be a walk in the park. It never is. CMS platforms are massive and complex systems, each with its custom features and components.

What we achieved with HubSpot CMS for our client.

We helped Sigma event company develop their website with thousands of pages and 10 languages in the middle of pandemic. Read Case Study.

Several HubSpot attributes may require your special attention as you perform the migration:

  • HubSpot uses specific building blocks that you may not be familiar with. Understanding them is essential for figuring out how the CMS works. The minimum you need for your migration to succeed is to know how global modules work, how to clone templates, and how to use Hub DB and Pages API.  
  • Certain HubSpot features like token personalization and smart content need to be considered and implemented at the design mockups stage. These elements are critical for driving user engagement on your website. When correctly applied, they significantly improve the UX, personalizing and upgrading every user’s experience.
  • Easy content management through a user-friendly interface is one of HubSpot’s core advantages. But to unlock it, you need well-defined templates. Templates serve as the foundation for your website, blogs, and content. To be effective, they must be easy to edit. To set them up properly, your web developer needs input from the designer and PM, with clear access rights instructions. Some HubSpot modules can be edited by every user (e.g., blog posts and webinar pages), while others require special privileges (e.g., navigation). Their correct implementation requires seamless communication within your migration team.

CMS switch? Difficult but worth it

If you already decided to move your website to HubSpot, you probably are well aware of the system’s benefits. HubSpot is a great tool that comprises all features needed to boost your sales and marketing results through your digital content. However, to get the most out of it, you need to ensure that all assets and modules are properly configured.

And it doesn’t matter whether you will stick to the original website design or build your site from the top. Both activities require HubSpot-specific skills and expertise. We can provide them, taking from several years of experience in CMS migration and hundreds of landing pages designed and re-designed in HubSpot.

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