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 £176 a year* for a small to medium site you build yourself and in excess of £10,000 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.
|Website design cost/Website type
|Small-to medium ecommerce site
built with GoDaddy Online Store
|Small-to medium ecommerce site
created by web designer
|Large ecommerce website
created by web designer
|Total cost of creating an ecommerce website (first year)
|Web designer charge
|£5,000 - £10,000
|£7,000 - £20,000
|Online Store* (first year)
|Cost of hosting
|£48 (first year)
|Cost of SSL encryption
|Cost of domain name
|£0.01 - £20
|£0.01 - £20
|£0.01 - £20
|Web designer maintenance fee
|Total recurring annual costs
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 update) 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
- 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. This guide will help you develop a business plan for your online business.
A good way to understand your ecommerce website needs is through planning.
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. Web Hosting Plus from GoDaddy is suitable for ecommerce sites and starts as low as £7.99.*
Find out if your ideal domain name is available now:
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 £12.99 a month (see current pricing for our ecommerce plan here), so there’s no need to spend a large amount of money on a web designer. This is a do it yourself project, so all you need do is choose a pre-built template you like, then replace the text and photos with your own.
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 certificate, which encrypts private data such as names and banking details. So you don’t need to worry about paying extra for them when you’re starting your ecommerce business.
As mentioned, you can create your own custom design for your website, using one of hundreds of free templates as your starting point. Additionally, our free logo maker is an excellent tool to help you establish a strong brand identity for your business.
Online store allows you to list up to 5,000 products and include multiple photos of each, so there’s plenty of room to grow.
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 a specialised WordPress ecommerce plan for £21.99 a month. With a single click, it downloads WordPress, while its quick start wizard helps you start building right away.
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.
One slight warning about WordPress: there is a learning curve.
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 to expand it into a larger site.
So be realistic about how much you’ll be able to do yourself with WordPress. 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 £22 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 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 £12.99 a month and it comes with all the functionality you’d expect from an 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 a WordPress site, you should probably consider hiring a web developer to help.
As previously mentioned the starting price for this will probably be around £7,000. You may also need to enter into a maintenance agreement with your WordPress developer to keep your site ticking over. This can cost you an extra £300 a month, depending on the complexity of your site.
You’ll also need to pay hosting costs (around £14 a month) and buy an SSL certificate (around £50 a year).
How much should a large ecommerce website cost?
If you’re going big, then you’ll certainly have to spend big. You’ll almost certainly have to develop your site with Magento if you're planning to launch:
- A site selling a significant number of product lines
- A marketplace site that’s home to multiple vendors
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 time 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 £10,000 upwards for web design costs, depending on the size of your project. You also need to pay for web hosting (around £11 - £22 a month) and an SSL certificate (around £50 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.
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 cost estimates from several 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 how to start selling online in the UK.
*Prices were accurate as of 20 December 2023. Please see current GoDaddy pricing here.