how-much-does-it-really-cost-to-start-an-online-storeSo, you’ve been thinking of starting your own online store, and as with most things in your life these days, you initially turned to the Internet for some advice and a few pointers on how to get the whole thing off the ground.

For the most part, all the advice you ran into was top notch. With scores of articles out there giving you advice on everything from how to write a business plan to how to optimize your online products, almost all the articles, videos, tutorials and how-to guides you came across were just as helpful as you were hoping for.

Then you ran into the little matter of figuring out your budget, and that’s where things started to get complicated. For every article out there which claimed you’d need a huge budget to get started, there was another, conflicting piece boasting that you could do the whole thing on a shoestring.

So which one is it?

To help you make some sense of all this mess of conflicting information, we asked our experts to look at how much you should realistically be looking to spend when starting your own web store.

Website costs

One of the biggest expenses you’ll face in setting up your own online store is of course the cost of launching your website itself. Those who tell you that you need huge sums of money are likely looking at the cost of web hosting, domain names, paying a professional web developer and all those countless other little tasks that go into starting a new website from scratch.

If you’re taking that route, then yes, things are going to get expensive, and you should probably be looking at budgeting at least a thousand for start up and another several hundred throughout the year for server costs, updates and maintenance.

Going it alone

There is a cheaper option though. Using an online website builder, you can save literally hundreds on the cost of starting your eCommerce website by doing the whole thing yourself with no more technical skill than moving a mouse around a screen. Thanks to pre-designed templates and incorporated features, your self-made store will look just as good and perform just as well as it would if you’d hired the big guns to do it for you.

Marketing and promotion

Remember that old Kevin Costner movie with the famous line ‘If you build it, they will come.’? Well that might work for bringing legendary baseball players back to life, but it sadly won’t do much for your new eCommerce website. Instead, you’ll have to go out there and put the hard work in yourself.

Costs here may include online advertising and paid search, for which we’d recommend budgeting several hundred for a really effective campaign, Facebook advertising (about the same), and any printed materials you’re going to use to promote your site offline. For that, you can probably get a full design and print job for around a hundred to a hundred and fifty if you shop around and do your homework.

So, how much does it really cost to start an online store?

As you may have gathered by now, there’s no one, definitive answer to this question other than ‘However much you have to play with’.

Not that his is necessarily a bad thing. Rather than asking how much it costs, we recommend doing things the other way around; looking at how much you have to spend and finding a solution to fit your budget. Trust us, no matter how small that might be, there’ll be something out there to help you get your new store live on the web.

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