If you’re looking at setting up your first ecommerce website, you’re probably worried about how much money you’ll need to spend. Especially if you’re on a limited budget. Don’t be! It’s perfectly possible to get an online shop up and running on a tight budget.
Whether you’re a new startup or an existing business looking to start selling online, there’ll be an option to suit you in this guide.
We’ll also explain how to make sure you don’t end up overspending on getting your ecommerce store up and running.
How much should an ecommerce website cost?
An ecommerce website can cost anywhere between £240 a year for a small to medium site and in excess of £5,000 for a large ecommerce site.
This table goes into more details about how much an ecommerce website should cost. We’ll break down the details later in the article.
NB: Total cost in first year includes setup fees where relevant and may need to be paid upfront. All costs are approximate (except for the price of GoDaddy’s Online Store, which is correct at the time of writing) and subject to change and do not include special offers or discounts unless otherwise stated.
The cost of an ecommerce website will depend on several factors, chiefly: How many product lines you expect to sell, the volume of sales you expect to make, the number of visitors you expect to attract to your website and your plans for growth.
As a general rule, you can expect an ecommerce website selling a wide range of products at high volume to cost more than a site selling only one or two products at a low volume. Requesting custom ecommerce functionality will also increase the cost.
That means it’s important to understand what you want from your ecommerce website before you start asking web designers for quotes.
A good way to understand your ecommerce website needs is through planning. This guide will help you develop a plan for your online business.
What costs are involved in setting up an ecommerce website?
Every ecommerce website will required a domain name and website hosting. You can expect to purchase a domain name for around £20 a year. The cost of hosting will depend on the size of your site and the number of visitors you expect to get. But as a general rule, you should avoid shared hosting plans for ecommerce sites. Business hosting from GoDaddy is suitable for ecommerce sites and starts as low as £14.99.
The other main cost will be hiring a web designer (if you choose to use one). Again, the price they charge will depend on the size of your project. You can expect prices to start at around £1,500.
If that seems like a lot of money don’t worry – we’ll also be looking at low cost DIY ecommerce software that don’t require technical skills.
How much should a small ecommerce website cost?
If you want a small ecommerce website, you’re highly unlikely to want to spend a large amount of money. After all, you don’t want to have to spend ages earning back in sales what you’ve spent on ecommerce web design.
Fortunately, there are a couple of low-cost options available that will suit any small business and still come with a wide range of functionality.
The first is Online Store from GoDaddy. It costs just £19.99 a month, so there’s no need to spend a large amount of money on a web designer. You’ll also get free digital marketing tools thrown in, including an SEO tool, social media integration and an email marketing tool.
That price also includes web hosting and an SSL, so you don’t need to worry about paying extra for them when you’re starting your ecommerce business.
You can also create your own customer design for your website, using one of hundreds of free templates as your starting point. This makes it a great choice for all but the biggest of ecommerce projects.
Online store allows you to list up to 5,000 products, so there’s plenty of room to grow your business. You can also select from a wide range of templates so you can get your site looking how you want it without having to study web design.
The second low-cost option is WordPress. Now WordPress isn’t quite as straightforward as Online Store, and you will need some technical knowledge to make the most of this option. You may also not get additional features, such as marketing tools, thrown in.
The good news is GoDaddy offers specialised WordPress hosting which has a quick start wizard so you can quickly configure your site as an ecommerce site. (It does this by installing the Woo Commerce plugin, if you’re new to WordPress plugins check out this guide.)
There’s also a drag-and-drop page editor available, which takes the hassle out of designing your site and makes it easy to add new product pages when needed.
GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting starts at £2.99 a month, but you might want to consider the £6.99 a month package, not least because it comes with a free domain and a free SSL certificate for the first year.
One slight warning about using WordPress to build an ecommerce website. Although it’s pretty easy to get a small ecommerce website up and running by yourself, you may find that you don’t have the skills required to expand it into a larger site.
So be realistic about how much you’ll be able to do yourself with WordPress and if you’re not sure, you might want to opt for Online Store to be on the safe side. Both are great ecommerce platforms.
To sum up this section then, setting up a small ecommerce website should cost you no more than around £20 a month and this option will be suitable for almost every small business owner.
How much should a medium-size ecommerce website cost?
As long as you aren’t planning anything too complex, or are planning to stock more than 5,000 products then GoDaddy’s Online Store is a good option for a medium-sized website. The cost is just £20 a month and it comes with all the functionality you’d expect from a ecommerce website.
It’s more than possible to create a good medium-size ecommerce website using WordPress, but you may not be able to do it yourself unless you’re willing to learn a fair amount about how WordPress works and the programming languages it uses.
If you want to go down the WordPress route then for this size of site you should probably consider hiring a web developer to help. As previously mentioned the starting price for this will probably be around £1,500. You may also need to enter into a maintenance agreement with your WordPress dev to keep your site ticking over. This can cost you an extra £50 to £150 a month depending on the complexity of your site.
You’ll also need to pay hosting costs (around £22 a month) and buy an SSL certificate (around £60 a year).
If you’re planning to launch a medium-size site and then expand it into a larger site, you should consider using the Magento platform as it is designed with large ecommerce sites in mind. However, because fewer Magento sites are created than WordPress sites, Magento developers are rarer and as such tend to charge more for custom designs. On top of that, Magento is less user-friendly than WordPress so you’re highly likely to need a maintenance agreement with your Magento dev to keep your site updated.
How much should a large ecommerce website cost?
If you’re going big, then you’ll certainly have to spend big. If you’re planning to launch a site selling a significant number of product lines, or are planning to launch a marketplace site that’s home to multiple vendors you’ll almost certainly have to develop your site with Magento. It’s also likely you’ll also need to pay a developer to maintain your site for you. Ecommerce website development can get complex for very large businesses, so you may even need to hire someone full time, as a freelancer may not be able to provide the resources you need.
So how much can you expect to pay for a large ecommerce website? You’re probably looking at something in the region of £5,000 upwards for web design costs, depending on the size of your project. You also need to pay for web hosting (around £53 a month) and an SSL certificate (around £60 a year.) Things are likely to be even more expensive if you want several custom features for your website. Extra functionality above and beyond standard features can really up the cost, so you may need to compromise.
If you’re engaging on a project of this size, it’s vital you understand how you’ll fund the cost. You can learn about how to get a business loan in this guide. And if you’re looking for other funding options, you can check out this guide on how to start a business when you have no money.
How can I be sure I’m paying a fair price for my ecommerce website?
If you’re using a DIY method, you don’t really need to worry about how much you’re spending. Just check that the ecommerce platform you want to use has the features you need at a price you can afford. But if you’re employing a web designer, it’s important to get several cost estimates from designers.
Remember – the lowest ecommerce website design quote won’t always be the best quote – if a price seems too good to be true when compared to other quotes, exercise caution.
Make sure you get examples of a designer’s past work, and speak to their past clients if you can.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get an ecommerce website up and running. Take the time to understand your business needs and how they might change in the future. With that information to hand, you can make sure you pay the right price to get your store online. If you need more help, check out this guide to starting an online shop in the UK.