How Much Does It Cost to Start an Online Business?

Did you know that 80% of US Internet users have purchased at least one item online?

Perhaps you’re thinking about selling to that massive marketplace. You have a product in mind that would be perfect. But there’s one question holding you back.

How much does it cost to start an online business?

This article breaks down the main expenses to set-up-shop on the Internet. We examine factors like web hosting to e-commerce and shipping so you can plan ahead.

Before you start to trade online read on to see how much it will cost you.

Starting an Online Business Checklist

Depending on what you want to sell will depend on the final cost. This article takes an e-commerce approach, a physical product that you will ship to your customers.

There are four main areas to consider:

  • Website hosting and domain name
  • Web design
  • Selling online
  • Digital marketing

We’ll explain what each of these means below and share some average costs.

1. Website Hosting and Domain Name 

A domain name is the web address.

Think of it like a postal address that tells visitors how to find you. Each website needs its own domain but the good news is it’s relatively inexpensive.

Prices for a .com domain start from $10 per year. Hunting online will net you a bargain with some companies offering you two years for the price of one.

You also have a wide selection of choices like .net, .co, .store, etc. But your domain needs to go somewhere.

Website hosting acts like the plot of land that your house is built on. It will hold your website files like images and displays them to your customers.

E-commerce hosting starts from $9 per month. All-in-one services like Shopify include that cost in their monthly plans.

2. Web Design

You probably aren’t a web designer or programmer so you’ll need help to set-up your store.

However, free e-commerce options like WooCommerce let you choose and edit existing templates. You can hire a designer to finish the job and not have to pay a fortune to start from scratch.

Expect to pay $10-$30 per hour and remember to check the designer’s previous work before committing.

3. Selling Online

A whole article could be written on this topic alone so if you want to know how do you start an online business read on here.

Points to consider include:

  • Managing stock – fulfillment centers vs holding your own
  • Product photography
  • Transaction fees
  • Shipping charges and offering multiple carrier options
  • Staffing to manage orders
  • Taxes

Costs depend on the type of products you will sell and how you manage your inventory. Be sure to investigate your shipping options as this may make or break your business idea if they aren’t competitive.

4. Digital Marketing

Once your site goes live, you need to market it to attract customers.

Search engine optimization or SEO means giving Google every reason to put your site at the top of its list. Techniques like backlinking help to improve your chances of reaching number one.

SEO costs average around $80 to $130 per hour to hire an expert. On the other hand, pay per click or PPC lets you advertise directly to your target audience and you set the budget.

Visit Google Ads and Google My Business for more information. The latter lets you advertise your local business for free!

How Much Does It Cost to Start an Online Business?

This article has covered the main areas to answer the question of how much does it cost to start an online business?

Be sure to do your research. Don’t sign-up with the first result you find on Google. Ask for quotes and compare prices to get the best deal possible.

Our website offers lots of articles and tips to help you sell online.

If you want to know how do I start an online business browse our blog. Visit our Business Resources section for advice on web design, digital marketing, and much more.