Did you know that you can start an e-commerce website cheaper than what you pay for a single utility bill at home? While some of the bigger brands spend tens of thousands a month operating their websites, it isn’t necessary in the beginning to go to those lengths. In fact, if done right, the average person can start an e-commerce website for just pennies a day. Here are four things you need to know to get you started today.

1. Never Underestimate the Importance of Web Hosting
You will often hear about free web hosting that offers you a certain, albeit limited, amount of web space. Typically these are on hosting companies that have their name in the URL. You will be told that you can get a domain name but often that domain is, in reality, a subdomain of their site. 

Why not choose an affordable hosting company where the URL of your site will be your name? These can be quite affordable when you choose VPS hosting because you will be sharing space with other websites on a server. It’s almost the same as a dedicated server but not quite. A dedicated server could be likened to a single family dwelling while a Virtual Private Server, VPS, would be like an apartment in a building with several other residences under the same roof. Is it secure? Yes. Do you have room to expand? Probably. But it’s affordable for startups and that’s what you are most interested in at this point in time.

2. Keep Costs Low by Managing Your Own Website
Speaking of hosting companies, one of the important features to look for when choosing a hosting company would be the Content Management Systems (CMS) they include with their dashboards. Yes, you can have your own website developed with a proprietary CMS, but that will cost a major amount of money. When it comes to e-commerce, Magento is thought of as a user-friendly platform that even inexperienced website developers can work with. 

It was designed with e-commerce in mind and, as such, it’s a CMS every reputable hosting company should offer. Does your hosting company provide a suitable Magento dashboard and tech support? If not, you might want to look around for hosting companies like HostGator that offer this platform and pertinent tech support! No, it won’t be quite as user-friendly as WordPress, but it is much more suitable for an e-commerce website.

3. Hire an Experienced Content Writer
There are several reasons why you are always advised to hire talented and experienced content writers. Not only can they employ effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to help you rank well with the search engines but they can also build informative and well-formatted page after page of content along with easy to understand SEO product descriptions

The right content writer will have a sound working knowledge of SEO and will be able to use keywords with the right amount of competition. It sure beats hiring an SEO team right off the bat. (Don’t worry. That can come later when you’re ready to expand your reach!)

4. Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping
Perhaps the biggest expense many new e-commerce sites are exposed to is merchandise. Unless you are actually manufacturing your own product line, can you really afford to stock a warehouse of goods? In fact, even if you are marketing your own products, why not open up to carrying merchandise from other companies? You can do this without investing a red cent!

Affiliate marketing and dropshipping are two ways to list a huge number of products for sale on your e-commerce site and you don’t need to pay for them upfront. You take the order or redirect traffic to that merchant’s website. You get paid what amounts to a commission on every product sold from redirects from your site and all without investing anything above and beyond that low cost of maintaining a website.

Your Key Takeaway
Your key takeaway in all this is that you really don’t need to spend anything beyond the low cost of hosting if that’s all you have to invest! From using their site building tools to writing your own content, you might get away with launching a site that costs pennies a day to host. However, you would be ill-advised to write your own content if you are not an experienced copywriter. Everything else is negotiable to some extent except adequate hosting and SEO content.