- The No Fuss WordPress Agency

The cost of migrating to WordPress

Think you’re stuck with an old legacy web platform?
Don’t know the cost of moving onto a modern responsive WordPress framework?

How much does a WordPress website actually costMigrating to WordPress is easier than you think and doesn’t need to cost the earth. A typical B2C website has between 25 and 50 useful pages that you’ll need to migrate. If you’re platform is old then your site may have got a little bloated as a result of not having content management and may contain 100+ pages but many of those can be stripped away during the migration phase.

You’ll need to plan the migration, properly. Spend 2 half days mapping out the user journey and working out which pages need editing, cutting, concatenating etc.

We’ve been migrating site to WordPress since 2008 and done hundreds of sites so we’ve got pretty slick at converting content so here is our cost guide, work on approximately 1 day to setup the new framework and 30 minutes per page to port the site to produce a basic migration.

You’d naturally want to enhance your website and take advantage of the advanced features in WordPress. A good rule of thumb is to spend about the same on enhancement as you did on the original build. You’ll need to spend some time snagging and fixing the site, about a day per 50 pages is normally sufficient.

You may wish to re-think the creative elements, images may need to be re-shot and copy needed to be tended. Whilst tempting to do this at the re-build phase it is often far better to move this to the subsequent enhancement phase – it will give you better focus and a way to see (and measure) the incremental improvements.

Websites are living, breathing, digital services – you’ll need to keep on enhancing and improving. Again, a good rule of thumb is to allocate at least 1 day per month for thinking and allocate the same as the original enhancement budget, but every 3 months.

Cost Example : Migrating 50 pages to WordPress

Initial project

  • Planning, 1 day
  • Framework setup, 1 day
  • Porting page content, 3.5 days
  • Initial Enhancements, 3.5 days
  • Testing and fixing, 1 day

Initial budget: 10 days

Ongoing improvements

Keeping the site up to date and evolving the content. The following are monthly recommendations.

  • Thinking time, 1 day
  • Improvements, 1 day (3.5 days divided per 3)

Monthly budget: 2 days

Annualising the resource comes out at 34 days per year.

WordPress Agency? …or something a little cheaper

The actual costs charged by suppliers varies greatly, your choice of web development agency may then be dictated by price so below is a rough guide to what to expect in terms of costs from different sources.

  • WordPress full service agencies charge from £700-£1,500 per day, the average is £1,000 (£150 per hour)
  • WordPress part service agencies are a little cheaper, maybe £750 per day (£100 per hour)
  • The cheapest agencies at sub £600 per day should be avoided, the business model is not sustainable below that level – “Buy cheap, buy twice”
  • Freelancers charge around £300 per day and the quality/availability varies enormously (£45 per hour)
  • Contractors are cheaper, typically £30 per hour so around £200 per day but need active management – and that usually makes them expensive unless you have a big project running over a fixed period of, say, 3 month.
  • Off-shore companies in Eastern Europe, Indian sub-continent can be as low as £20 per hour. Sadly many have questionable billing policies and often provide a really poor service level.

Note: London agencies seem to charge a 25% premium on the prices above, probably due to higher staff and logistical costs. They often benefit from having better creatives, but technical competence is generally similar. I have seen agency costs of £2000+ per hour. Anything over £500 per hour has to be pretty special.

Discussing hourly rates is often taboo and shied away from by many suppliers. By way of comparison, lawyers are £250-£500 ph, dealer mechanics are £100 ph and a plumber £30 ph. The costs for each are not a million miles out, the average lawyer earns £50k, mechanic £25k and web developer around £35k so each needs to be billed-out for an hour a day to cover their basic salary.

The biggest benefit of using a full service agency is turnkey delivery and an excellent support infrastructure during and after the build phase – this frees up your time immensely, you could easily spend as much time managing the process as, for example, a freelancer spends creating the site. You also get a consistently high level of delivery. It is the most expensive, but still only comes out at £10k for the build and £2k per month for a sustained improvement cycle. This is about 75% lower than an equivalent non-WordPress site would have cost 5 years ago.

Will code for food? £10,0000 would buy over 3,000 Big Macs, or 1.6m calories – equivalent to two years worth of intake for an average male.

Quite clearly, using a Freelancer can knock 2/3rds off the cost but most can’t or won’t provide stable ongoing support services. The halfway house solution is to use a part-service agency but we wouldn’t recommend it as the saving you make on the day rate are usually swallowed up by the management time consumed working with multiple agencies and project management.

Interestingly, the overall cost of web development has fallen by about 75% in the last few years. Technology is the driving force behind this; WordPress curated frameworks, Open Source plugins, service-based hosting and less development required to build features. Sites that swallowed up £100k of resource in 2010 now cost about £25k, there is a natural bottom, though, of around £2k.

So, when someone asks you how much a website costs, you can now answer confidently and comprehensively.

Other costs

You’ll need somewhere to host the site, have secure backups and recover and a maintenance contract so you can outsource the geekery element. An average site (as detailed above) will accrue from £250 -> £1,000 per month to host/backup and support depending on the complexity of the site, the type of cover you require, the response rate and hours covered. Unless you’re supporting a mission-critical service then a standard working hours, 24hr response-time contract is all your should need.

What’s not included

Realistically, this is most of what you need but there are lots of other services that are not covered here, including email campaigns, monitoring, PPC, SEO/content planning, back-end CRM integration, landing pages, social media integration, ecommerce options and marketing guidance. These items really do fall into the “how long is a piece of string”.

What’s the next steps?

Simple really is better when it comes to pricing WordPress websites. That, and transparency.

If you want a quote then contact us and we’ll carry out a FREE review and provide an elegantly simple, 2 paragraph outline. We’re not into 50 page proposals that charge per kilo of paper!

  • Awesome Blog. Thanks for sharing. Freelance Web Developer

  • This is a well balanced article on the cost of WP development. From my own personal experience, making the transition from freelancer to agency is when you consider your pricing strategy most..brilliant article, really well written..Thank you.