The cost of building and operating an e-commerce website

The cost of an e-commerce website

Building and operating an e-commerce website is a varied affair. I do not intend on giving you a price range as that depends a lot on the who, what, where and when of the project.

What I am sharing with you are the fees and services you will have to pay for during the lifetime of your enterprise. These include, fixed or one time expenditure, yearly, monthly and even daily expenses that are a part of building and managing an e-commerce website.

Fixed Costs

Web Development Costs
This cost covers the initial amount you spend to create your website and is usually considered a fixed cost. There are instances where this could be a monthly cost if you use a platform like shopify for instance.

The cost for Web Development can be anywhere from zero if you build it yourself, to thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the project and the developer you employ.

Other costs that may be rolled into this includes:

● Logo design
● Stock photography
● Digitization of your catalog
● Copy writing

Yearly / Monthly Costs

Domain name
Your domain name is usually a yearly cost, even though its possible to purchase multiple years at a discount. If your business is just starting up, register for a year. Upon renewal you can look into bulk buying based on the outlook for your business.

Website Hosting
This is another cost that is usually monthly but can also be purchased yearly at a discount. The advice is the same as above for start ups. FYI, avoid cheap budget hostings that are under $10 per month. Budget hosting might seem like a good deal but cheap web hosting like that is unreliable especially of you get a spike in traffic.

Advertising / Marketing
Because you built a website doesn’t mean potential customers will find it without your help. So plan to spend some money on Google ads, paid Facebook or Instagram promotions or even banner ads on popular websites that serves your customers.

Website Maintenance
Let’s face it, things go wrong even when no one is at fault and your website is no exception to this rule. Maintaining your website is good for your SEO, it keeps your website working smoothly, keep hackers out and ensure you are prepared for disaster.

Weekly or Daily Costs

Shipping / delivery costs
Depending on the frequency you send out, your orders will have to pay for shipping. Whether you choose to cover this cost or your customers pay for shipping.

You will have to pay for:

● Sending the package
● Packing tape
● Shipping packages
● Transportation to shipment location if your shipper does not pick up

Costs Per Transaction
Most payment gateways Paypal, Stripe etc, charges you per transaction. This is the current standard. The actual amount charge per transaction varies depending on the gateway.

Some institutions may even charge you a setup charge and or even a monthly maintenance fee to use their gateway. If your provider does this, then look for a better provider.

These are some of the costs you can budget for if your planning to build and maintain an e-commerce website.

This list is by no means exhaustive and their might be additional charges that are specific to your circumstance.

About The Author
Jermaine Valentine is the CEO of Think Interactive (Web Heroes) – a website development company based in Kingston, Jamaica.

As well as COO of GiftBoxx and Kahtah – an online gifting service and online store respectively also based in Kingston Jamaica.

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