When considering building an e-commerce site, there are many to choose from.  Many small businesses owners gravitate towards the do-it-yourself type platforms like Shopify, Wix and SquareSpace.  However, is it the right solution long-term for your business needs?  What costs are not obvious?  To answer some of these questions, we have compiled a list for your review.

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Download a PDF of this table here.


  1. This depends on what company hosts your website. Price quoted is for hosting from Life Light Creative (LifeLightCreative.com).
  2. com and WooCommerce e-commerce add-on are open source software. This means that the base software is FREE to use.  However, installation and setup are required for these products.  There are many local web design / web hosting providers in Western South Dakota who can implement this solution for you.  Life Light Creative is based in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  We partner with Liquid Web for server hosting and all our servers are physically located in a data center in Lansing, Michigan.  We may use licenses for plugins that are obtained from US or Foreign developers.  All billing for our customers, however, is from South Dakota.
  3. Domain costs can vary based on the TLD (top-level-domain) extension you choose. Typically, .com is the most common for online shopping.  However .biz, .co and others are available.  The price per extension varies widely and is set by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names).
  4. Support for your website largely depends on these things (1) Who built it, (2) Did they adhere to best practices, (3) where it is hosted and (4) their commitment and availability to manage support requests after the site goes live. For our customers, we support all the sites I build after go-live.  We prefer to manage the hosting as well as it gives us the ability to control and better support the hosting environment.  We partner with a leading, U.S. based server hosting company that provides us 24×7 onshore support.  We only deploy sites using up-to-date, licensed (where necessary) code that is monitored 24x7x365.  We provide email, phone and text support to all our customers as part of the hosting package we provide.
  5. At Life Light Creative, we make an effort to keep costs down for our customers, so we have developer licenses that we offer to our customers at no cost for many common licensed plugins that are necessary for a solidly-configured WordPress website. We also attempt to find quality, free plugins for other advanced functionality that may be required.  When we must implement a paid licensed plugin, we pass along the direct costs to our customers, with no added fees.  Licenses typically range from $30 – $80 per year.  Rarely does a licensed plugin cost more than $80 a year.
  6. At Life Light Creative, it has always been our policy that customers own their full website, shop and domain. If they choose to move away from our hosting services, all licenses purchased by the customer for their site specifically, stay with the site.  For licensed plugins that are the developer versions we offer to our customers who host with us, we do not allow those licenses to transfer with the site.  The latest version of the plugin would transfer, but any new updates after the transfer would require the customer to purchase their own license.  If the transfer was not to another WordPress hosting scenario, we would work with customers to produce a spreadsheet and or other documents that represent the content and products for their shop to take with them at no charge.