What’s the cost of building an e-commerce website? If this is the first time you’re creating a website, you are probably wondering this question. As for the answers, well the issue is not so cut and dry. An e-commerce site can be built with zero dollars or $100,000. It all depends on the complexity of your design. In any case, the sections below will detail the four major factors that dictate the cost of building an e-commerce website.

1. Web Design

There are many variables that determine how much you will pay for Web design. If you use templates from a free hosting provider, you don’t have to pay anything. Unfortunately, you will also lose branding power, as these same templates are used by thousands of other webmasters. With that said, beginning webmasters should not completely dismiss the thought of hiring a professional designer.

In terms of the cost, this will depend on the following:

  • Whether or not a Web designer charges per page or by the hour
  • If original graphics is needed for the design
  • The site’s complexity, especially in regard to programming and databases
  • The designer’s level of expertise

On the low end, a 100-page site could be built for as little as $500. This is especially the case for those who turn to students or freelancers for the work. On the higher end, costs could exceed $50,000. At this range, webmasters would be working with well-established Web design firms.

2. Hosting

Like Web design, hosting has a range of prices. Fortunately, they are more affordable for the average budget. The most basic packages range from 0 to $5 while larger accounts usually cost between $10 and $50. For more expensive packages, you may have access to a plug-and-play template that takes care of the design issues.

Yahoo Small Business hosting is an example. While their templates still possess a cookie-cutter look, you are given more options for designing your site. You could change the colors or mix up the graphics. With free or cheap hosting accounts, you have very little say on how to design your template.

3. Merchant Accounts

Unless a webmaster is making money through affiliate marketing, they are going to need some type of merchant account to collect their customers’ money.

Google, Paypal, and Clickbank offer these services for no upfront fees, but in exchange they charge a fee for each transaction. They also limit their accounts to online transactions. With other merchants, you can collect credit card payments online or offline, with less expensive transaction fees. However, to do so you will have to pay a few hundred upfront and/or pay a nominal monthly fee of $10 or more.

4. Merchandising

Many webmasters overlook the issue of merchandising, but in reality it represents the heart of e-commerce. You cannot make money without selling something. Of course, you do not have to sell physical products. If you sell e-books or services, you will not have to pay any extra fees.

Things are different for those wanting to sell physical products. If they buy their products through a wholesaler, they will need to pay tens of thousands upfront. With a drop shipper, they pay monthly fees of $50 or more.

5. Bonus Tips

Nowadays, building an e-commerce website is not really a tough job. There are many open source e-commerce solutions available in the market which you could simply drag-n-drop into your website.  You have to do the groundwork first, I mean the business plan (considering its cost) to build up your e-commerce website especially covering the various aspects as mentioned earlier like the design, hosting, payment transaction etc. Once you  have a business plan ready, you could easily forecast the business towards the growth direction. Also, when it comes to e-commerce business, you have to consider branding which is more important.

Branding Your Website. In general, every business needs a branding approach which shows that your are an expert in the industry and also, you are a professional in the market. People don’t buy products simply from any e-commerce website, hence you have to show that you are an expert so that they gain TRUST on your business service. In short, consider spending time apart from money in making your website into a branded one.

When you are able to gain that user TRUST, you could easily convert them into customers and again, they will become Repeat Customers. All these won’t happen in a day or two, it takes time and you have to constantly do experiments and plan it so that you could control the operational costs involved.

Hello my name is Nisha Sandhu I am 26 years old and I am an Editor at whoishostingthis.com, whom I have been working with for 2 years now. I love to write and give online business advice to new and growing businesses, come to our site to check out the latest Dream Host.com reviews.

image: Juan

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