Navigating the Digital Frontier: Understanding the Costs of Running an Online Business

Running a website can be unexpectedly expensive over time. From securing a domain name and choosing the right web hosting service to investing in e-commerce platforms and digital marketing, the expenses can add up quickly. Today, let’s go over some of the key costs that you need to prepare for when entering the world of eCommerce.

Navigating the Digital Frontier: Understanding the Costs of Running an Online Business

Running an online business involves a variety of costs, some of which are specific to the digital environment. Here are the primary costs you should consider:

Domain Registration

To begin an online business, you need to register your domain name. A domain name is the unique address that users type into their web browser to access a specific website, such as Prices for domain names can vary depending on the domain extension (such as .com, .net, or .org) and the registrar you choose. It is important to keep in mind that domain names are a reoccurring business cost. Often times, you will need to pay an annual charge to renew your domain name and maintain ownership of it.

Web Hosting

Next up is your website itself. To run a website, you will need a place where your website physically lives and runs. However, for many businesses, housing and maintaining their website’s back-end is something they pay a hosting provider to manage. Website hosting is a service that provides the infrastructure and technology needed to store, manage, and deliver the content of your website on the internet. The cost can vary greatly depending on the type and quality of hosting service you choose. Resource allocation, security, maintenance, and choosing between shared hosting or dedicated hosting can all change the price of your hosting your website.

Website Development and Maintenance

Website development and maintenance involve creating, continuously updating, and managing a website to ensure it remains functional, secure, and up to date with the latest content and technology. Website development and maintenance costs can vary widely depending on the complexity and functionality of the site. Depending on how simple or complex your site is, ongoing maintenance such as updates, security patches, backups, and content management can be a notable monthly to yearly cost for your business. Additionally, you need to keep in mind potential costs for new development, such as redesigns, new features, and technical support.

E-commerce Platform Fees

On top of hosting your site, you will need to pay for your eCommerce platform. An eCommerce platform is a software solution that enables you to create, manage, and operate your online store. Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento are examples of an eCommerce platform. To use these platforms, you will often need to pay a monthly subscription that can vary depending on the platform and plan features you choose. Many platforms also charge transaction fees for processing payments, as well as offer premium themes, apps, and extensions for a price.

Want to learn more?

Wondering how much your online business may cost over time? Listen to our latest eCommerce Made Easy Podcast where Carrie discusses the costs of running a website, how to prepare for them, and what investment costs you may want to consider in the future.