Over the years we have built a ton of websites across many industries. As digital marketing progresses, the cost it takes to create and run a website also evolves. We have been asked many times by clients, prior to submitting a quote, to give them an idea of how much it costs to create or run an eCommerce website or a B2B lead generation website. This is a challenging question, but we are going to try and outline the majority of operational costs and expenses for creating and managing an eCommerce or corporate B2B website.
What are Operating Costs and Expenses?
Operating costs are the expenses that are related to the operation of a business and include the cost of resources used by an organization to maintain its existence.
When we apply this definition to create a website, it refers to what it will take to create and maintain a website. There are two types of operating costs: fixed and variable.
- Variable Costs – These get their name because they depend on different variables that aren’t necessarily consistent: the volume of products bought and moved, plus materials, parts, and labor.
- Fixed Costs – These are costs that are not dependent on product volume and are business costs, such as rent, that are constant whatever the number of goods or services produced. These costs can be consistently forecasted and budgeted for with little variation over time.
There are 5 different categories that the operational costs of a website can be placed into.
1. Setup Costs For A Website
Prior to launching an eCommerce or corporate website, that are costs that are built into the setup of the website. Many people seem to think that setting up a website is expensive. It’s not. In fact, it’s ridiculously affordable to get started.
These costs are usually the least expensive, thus making the barrier to entry low:
- Domain Registration
- Email Setup
How much does it cost to set up a website? Depending on your needs, the setup phase can fall between $50 and $100 for you to do it yourself.
2. Website Creation Costs
Once you have the website set up phase completed, you can then start planning the website and building your online experience. This phase of the process is usually the most expensive since it involves multiple teams and to do it correctly takes time:
- Planning and Strategy
- Logo Design
- Website Design
- Website Development
- CRM Integration
- SEO and IA
- Content Creation
- Analytics Implementation
How much does it cost to create a best-in-class website? Creating a best-in-class website can fall between $3,000 and $20,000 for most small- and mid-market companies
Recommended reading: How much does it cost to create a great website?
3. Monthly Website Management Costs
Once your website has launched, there will be operational costs that your business will incur just to keep the website online and working properly. These costs are usually consistent each month and can be projected out over a year to help with forecasting the cost:
- Analytics Reporting
- Data Backup
How much does it cost for monthly website management? These costs usually are determined by website size and traffic numbers and can fall between $100 – $500 each month.
4. Product Marketing Costs
If you’re building an eCommerce website that will include products, you will need to budget for product costs. These costs fall into two categories: initial project costs and ongoing or recurring operational costs.
Initial product costs:
- Product Photography
- Product Content Creation
- Product Page Creation
Ongoing and recurring costs:
- Inventory Management
- Customer Service
- Order Fulfillment
- Product Return Processing
- Product Expansion
How much does it cost to create and manage website products? This is one of the most highly variable costs for an eCommerce website and can range from $1,000 to $6,000 for a small- to mid-market company depending on the number of product stock-keeping units.
5. Digital Marketing Costs
If you want your business to grow, you’ll need to invest in marketing strategies. Many startups who are launching a new website have the misconception that all they need to do is build a website, users will flock to their products, and they will be an “overnight success”.
Growth is achieved by consistency fulfilling your brand promise and utilizing these online and offline channels to effectively market your value:
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Event Sponsorships
How much does it cost to market a website? This is the other highly variable cost for a website and can vary based on needs and expectations. Marketing costs can range from $500 to $6,000 a month for a small- to mid-market company depending on business and marketing goals.