There comes a time where most business owners may feel that an online presence will be needed to further grow their business, especially with B2C (Business-to-Customer) ventures.
The problem is that a lot of business owners do not understand what is needed to build and launch a website.
The more tech savvy business owners may decide to take a DIY approach to launching a website whereas the less tech savvy may prefer to hire a website developer.
Example: Online Store
If, for example you decided to hire a developer to build your online store the costs can vary depending on complexity, anywhere from $3,000 to over $100,000.
A basic e-commerce website can cost anywhere from $2,000 — $3,000, with more complex online stores costing over $4,000.
Enterprise level e-commerce sites can cost anywhere from $20,000 — $40,000 on the cheap end and over $100,000 on the higher end.
Again, complexitiy will be the main deciding factor in the cost of an online store but let’s look at the minimum needed for an e-commerce site.
Note: Websites that do not have e-commerce/online payments functionality usually cost less, again depending on complexity.
What you need for a business website:
This is where your website will “live”, a domain name looks like this “yourwebsitename.com” or “www.yourwebsitename.com”.
This service makes your website accessibile via the internet, it keeps your website online.
Think of your domain name as an address and your web hosting provider as the house that your website lives in.
For example, if John Doe lives at 123 Address Street, you know where to go to find him.
Now what if you go to his address and find nothing there? Where can someone live in if they don’t have a house?
Same way, a website can have a domain name (an address) but it still needs web hosting (a house) so people can see the site when they get there.
That is why you need a web hosting provider after getting a domain name and you can usually get these services in the same place.
Next you will need an email provider that will allow you to send and recieve emails using your domain name.
Usually you can get e-mail, web hosting and a domain from the same place.
The following providers offer these services together:
Content Management System (CMS):
This is the core of your website, the place where your website will be built, where all the content will be uploaded and where the website and business will be managed.
Examples of a CMS include:
Pros & Cons of each CMS:
- WordPress — High flexibility and lower costs.
- Shopify — The most simple but the least flexible.
- Magento — The most flexible but also the most expensive and complex CMS.
These are the products you will sell, each product will need their own product page that includes photos and information about the product.
Inventory Management System:
If you plan to ship the products yourself you can use your CMS to manage your inventory or you can use a fufilment centre which will store, pack and ship your products for a fee.
Most good fufilment centres have software that intergrates with the most popular CMS’s, so you can still use WordPress for example to manage your orders if you use a fufilment centre.
If your chosen fufilment centre does not have software that intergrates with your chosen CMS then you can use the fufilment centre’s website or their own software and then have the inventory data linked to your website.
External Fufilment Centres you can use:
- Fufilment By Amazon
- FedEx Fufilment
What else does an e-commerce site need?
You will need to enable online payments for your site, you can use PayPal, a Payment Gateway (like Stripe) or both. You can even use Bitcoin.
You will also need a customer login portal where they can create an account and view orders.
These are the bare minimum you need for a competitive e-commerce site in 2018 and once you know the time that goes into implenting and testing these features, then you can see how the costs add up so quickly.
For example, an Enterpise level Magento website will cost you $22,000 a year and that is just for the CMS itself.
This is why I reccomend business owners to start off with WordPress since it has a high level of flexibilty and is more than enough for a lot of websites, the PayPal website itself was built using WordPress!
The only con with WordPress is the fact that it still requires skill to build a competitive website, which is why you may want to ask a professional to do it for you instead.
If you need a professional to build your site, you can request a free quote from our web deisgn agency: Request A Free Quote: Litework Design
If you want more information about domain names, web hosting and e-mail providers, we can give you reccomendations based on your needs: Domain, Web Hosting & E-mail Providers: Contact Us | Litework Design