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.

Note: Not many agencies actually talk about costs and resources and we first wrote this subject back in 2014 so it was time to review and update this article. We hope it’s still relevant today (it’s also one of our most popular articles).

Let’s take a typical small Business-to-Consumer (B2C) website that has about 50 pages. If your web platform is old then your site may have got a little bloated, and it may contain a lot of old or redundant pages that can be stripped away during the migration phase.

Five Ps. 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 and expanding.

We’ve been migrating sites to WordPress since 2008 and have migrated hundreds of thousands of pages so we’ve got pretty slick at it. Here is our rough cost guide: approximately 3 days to setup the server and framework, and 30 minutes per page to port the content. This will produce a basic migration.

You’d hopefully 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 and you’ll need to allocate time snagging and fixing issues, a day or so per 50 pages is normally sufficient.

You may wish to re-think the creative elements, images may need to be re-shot and copy re-written. 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 hopefully want to keep on improving. Again, a good rule of thumb is to allocate at least 1 day per month for ideas and improvements plus you’re likely to need to pay for hosting, support and basic changes.

Resource Example

Initial project

  • Planning, 1 day
  • Framework setup, 3 days
  • Porting page content, 3.5 days
  • Initial Enhancements, 3.5 days
  • Testing and fixing, 2 days

Initial capital budget: 13 days


Keeping the site up to date and evolving the content. The following are good estimates for looking after a well-tended web site.

  • Thinking time, 0.5 days
  • Improvements, 0.5 days

Monthly budget: 1 day

Cost Example

(Good) agency rates for support and development start from £100 per hour, or £800 per day. This suggests an initial capital budget for migration of around £10k and a monthly ongoing cost of under £1k making the first year cost a little over £20k.

You can spend less by doing less, or if the port is really basic, but you’re really only going to be able to reduce the cost by 20% unless you go for ultra-cheap labour (freelancer/outsourcer/one-man-band) – which could easily cost you a lot more in the long run – buy cheap, buy twice.

Note: London agencies, on average, charge about 25% greater than the prices above, probably due to higher staff and logistical costs. They often benefit from having better creatives, but technical competence is generally similar.

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 biggest benefits of using a proper agency are turnkey delivery and a support infrastructure during and after the build phase – this frees up your time immensely. Typically, you can expect to get a consistently high level of delivery.

Will code for food?: £10,0000 would buy over 4,500 Big Macs, or about 2.5m calories – equivalent to 1,000 days worth of intake for an average male.

Finally, using a Freelancer can knock up to 1/2th off the cost but most can’t, or won’t provide reliable ongoing support services. But, hey, they are cheap!

Interestingly, the overall cost of web development and support has fallen by about 75% in the last decade. Technology is the driving force behind this; WordPress curated frameworks, Open Source plugins, service-based hosting and less development is required to build features. Sites that swallowed up £100k of resource in noughties now cost about £25k.

So, when someone asks you “how much does a website cost?”, you can now answer confidently and comprehensively.

What won’t be included

There are lots of other services that are not covered here, including email campaigns, PPC (eg: Google Ad management), 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”.

First published: Feb 2014, last updated Feb 2017.