The Difference Between Saving vs. Updating Content

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Patrick Wilver
Patrick Wilver



Content is king in today’s SEO-powered Internet age. That's why you're working hard to create beautiful, engaging content that's relevant to your audience. While necessary for marketing success, creating content can sometimes turn into a time-consuming task.

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And after all this hard work and dedication, the last thing you need to be asking yourself is, “Why is my live page not displaying the new content I’ve added in HubSpot?” 

There may be a point in time where you recognize a discrepancy in what you see in your HubSpot page previews versus what your visitors are seeing on your live site.

Don't ring the alarms bells yet - In HubSpot, you are able to draft content and then make the conscious decision to ship it to your live site when it’s perfect. In this article, I will explain the subtle yet all-important difference between saving and updating content within HubSpot’s Content tools.

Saving Content

What this means to you: When editing your content within HubSpot, you will see an option within the content editor to “Save” your changes. When this option is selected, you are telling HubSpot to remember the changes you have made so that you can leave the page editor safely, knowing that when you return, you can pick up where you left off. Additionally, you don’t even have to press this button in most situations - HubSpot has your back! We will auto-save your changes for you to avoid any “uh-oh” moments, like accidentally closing an editor window or losing connection to the Internet.

Saving Changes

Pro tip: You are also able to revert back to a previous version of your content at any time when editing your content. Simply select the Actions button at the bottom of the content editor and click View Revisions - you can see all of the previous save points and choose one that you’d like to use in favor of the current state of your page. Here's what it looks like:


Why this matters: The saving feature allows you to test the waters when you are looking to shake things up a bit or take your content to that next level, post-launch. You can adjust the size of images on your page, rewrite a section of your latest blog article or continue to build out the body of an email before you schedule it for a live send. You have the freedom to experiment with possible design changes with the comfort of knowing that you and your fellow HubSpot account users are the only ones that can see these changes. And if something happens to go awry - you accidentally replace an e-book image on your landing page with that embarrassing photo of you at the holiday party - these changes will not be seen on your live site for all of your visitors to see (phew).

Let’s take a look: It’s important to understand here how saving can affect how you work in HubSpot and what behavior you might see while making changes in this way. You can consider the acting of "saving" your content as making a “local” change to your content in HubSpot. This means that the content you see in HubSpot once you make some adjustments and hit save (or our system auto-saves for you) will now appear differently than what is visible in the live versions of your live pages or blog posts. The content editor preview and the Shareable Preview options within HubSpot will illustrate the new content you have added to your marketing assets so that you can preview what your “new” page or post will look like. But remember - these changes have yet to be pushed to your live site.


There is also distinct messaging that appears within the content editor windows in HubSpot that will allude to this scenario as well. If you have been working on an existing page to make some necessary adjustments to content, you will notice that when you enter into the editor there is now an alert window that appears to the bottom right corner of the preview pane. This message informs you that “This [content] has saved but unpublished changes. To take change live, click Update.” This is indicating that you may notice a difference in what you see in HubSpot compared to what you see when you visit your page directly on the Internet, and this is expected. In order to push this new content out of the safe “sandbox” state and out to your live pages for all the world to see, you will want to select the Update button from the content editor screen. And there can’t be a more perfect segue than that...

Updating Content

What this means to you: The most crucial step when building marketing assets and creating content that people will love is actually delivering the content to them via the Internet. The content does nothing unless it can be seen by your site visitors, so how do you achieve this through HubSpot? Your final step in building a new landing page or drafting a blog article will be to publish it; and when editing your existing content to spruce things up a bit, the way you push these changes to your live assets will be to “Update” them.


Why this matters: Consider the “Update” button in the content editor of a HubSpot page the “Take it Live for the World to See” button (we figured “Update” was just a little less wordy). As mentioned above, there is an auto-save feature in HubSpot that will ensure your content changes are kept safe for you as you work to make adjustments to existing pages or blog posts. However, these changes will not yet be live to the general viewing public until you explicitly select to update that asset to reflect these new changes. This distinction will again allow you to test out some content changes when you want to, and make the decision to push these changes live precisely when you want to as well. Let’s just hope that the embarrassing holiday photo example doesn’t occur in a situation where you’ve elected to select “Update” instead.

Let’s take a look: Briefly mentioned before, there is a distinction here between “local” editing and “live” editing when it comes to implementing changes to your content within HubSpot. The mystery of why your live page does not look exactly the same as your page preview in HubSpot can easily be explained away by the usage of the Save vs. Update functions. The resolution in these situations is simply to navigate back into the editor for the problem content and update the page. This will ensure that what you see in HubSpot’s preview window matches what you see on your live page. And once you select Update, you will even see a message informing you of when the last live version of your page was published to indicate which revision of your page is currently live. 


A great example of this discrepancy, shifting gears from landing pages and blog posts, would be an automated email configured to send through HubSpot's Workflows App (Professional and Enterprise subscriptions only). You may have made some adjustments to the copy of your automated emails recently, but you are getting reports that contacts are still receiving the previous version. Something must be broken here, right? Well, not exactly. It is mostly likely another scenario where there were some changes made locally within HubSpot that our system has saved for you (and you can see within the email previews), yet the magic “Update” button has not been selected to indicate that any future email sends through your workflows should reflect the new copy.

Special Shout-out to Template Updating

We’ve talked a lot about content changes in your HubSpot tools and how these changes are handled when you save or update, but we haven’t really looked into how your templates behave in the same scenarios. Let’s consider a few example situations where template-level changes affect the way you save content and push content live within HubSpot.

Same thing, different place: The process for saving and updating templates is just about the same as making changes within the content editors, but the look is a little different. Once again, any adjustments you make to your templates to reorder or add additional modules will automatically be saved locally within HubSpot. And to push your changes live to the pages that are referencing the edited template, you will select the “Publish Changes” button to the top right corner of this screen. Similar to the content editor windows, there will also be an alert message in your template editor to inform you if there have been changes made to your template that have not yet been published (i.e. the changes are not yet live). So again, we got your back here.


Changing/editing a page’s template: This scenario is where things get just a little different in terms of what causes content changes to be pushed live. In the content editor, you have the option to change or edit the template used on your page by selection the Actions button at the bottom of the editor. This allows you to directly access your selected template for editing or choose a new template from the ones available to you, which can be a lot more convenient than having to open a new window to your Design Manager to make these adjustments. However, be aware that any published edits to the currently selected template or swapping to a completely new template from the content editor will immediately push to your live page. There is not a “sandbox” state for your content if you are changing elements of your template, so keep this in mind when making these edits that all pages referencing a template will be automatically updated when the template changes are published.


For more information on how to make template-level changes to your pages, please refer to this helpful Knowledge Base article.

*This post is part of an ongoing series in which members of the HubSpot Support team offer sane, sensible advice to real questions posed by real HubSpot customers. We might not solve all of life’s mysteries, but we can sure as heck try.

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