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How Much Does it Cost to Start an Internet Business?

Domain: This is the first thing that you need. Most .com domains – which are the best ones to get, are from $7.95 to $10 from respected domain sellers such as Godaddy. Make sure that you get a domain that explains your business as this currently helps with your search engine rankings.

Hosting: You can obtain this from Godaddy or Hostgator which are both reputable companies and it will cost about $50 a year. If you need a database make sure that you get MySQL or similar. Shop around because many host companies offer software facilities such as shops, bulletin boards, scripts etc.

Web Design: This depends upon how complex you want your web site to be and if you need databases etc. At the lower end, a basic web site design can be obtained as a template from many domain and hosting sellers from “site builder” or similar. These are very low cost but do involve you with putting your own words into the pages and designing the structure. If you require flash, databases etc it can cost you more. You can get quotes from such sites are guru or Elance, but beware those that are too low as you get what you pay for! If you budget about $50 a year for services sold with hosting or domains and from $350 to $1,000 one off for a more complex web site you are quite close. Make sure that you have a list of what you want in your web site and make this very clear when you approach a web designer. Also make sure that you view their past work and references. There are some real charlatans around.

You should also budget for about 4 updates a year. This keeps your web site fresh and allows you to add news and product updates. Again try and learn basic html with MsFrontPage or similar and this becomes much cheaper to undertake. Remember to keep a copy of your new web site and all the changes in a safe place – just in case you have hosting problems or make a mess of your updates.

FTP: This is the piece of software that you use to load your web site onto your hosting. The cost of this is from zero to $50 so do a bit of investigation for one that you are comfortable using.

Payment Processor: Budget about 5% of your turnover of this expensive necessity.

You now have your basic internet business but there are other things that will make your web business much more professional.

Broadband: The cost of this varies all over the world so you should budget according to where you live. You should look at a speed of about 4mb upwards with a good uploading speed as you will be uploading to your web site as well.

Fulfillment Software: It is possible to obtain software that will send an email to your purchaser just after payment. If you sell digital items they can be used to send your links to them. Even if you sell physical products it makes your customer feel better to get an email from you directly after they make their payment. I use MyDigitalDispatch very successfully and it is especially good for eBay sellers as it integrates with eBay and PayPal. Budget $100 – $300 for this.

AutoResponder: It will be a good idea to set up your own mailing list so that you can keep in contact with your customers and potential purchasers. You should budget about $10 – $20 for this – but this cost is easily returned by your sales using this facility.

Marketing: The day of “build it and they will come” have long gone. If you want someone to buy from your new internet business you need to tell them you are there. You should budget from zero to about 15% of your turnover. The general rule of thumb is the more you spend the less effort it is.

Good Luck!