I Built an eCommerce Site in 2 Months for $99!

This forum thread discusses the SitePoint article ‘I Built an eCommerce Site in 2 Months for $99!’ by Linda Christie.

It was certainly a challenge: have a fully functional ecommerce Website online in two months for under $100. How did this non-technical site owner do it? Linda tells all…

Nice article but you fail to factor in the time spent on developing the site. Did your technology person work for FREE? Did you not factor in your time devoted to developing the plan, doing the research?

Again, nice article but a bit too simplistic a view but guess you have to grab people’s attenetion with a catchy title.

well it ic not a rocke science
what u need is free shopping cart and paypal and u are ready to go

ok so what time frame have people here experienced in building their ecommerce sites and at what cost

one i am doing for a client has taken about 4 months at a cost of around 3000US to get everything set up and going.

Anyone (just about) can hack out an e-commerce capable site. The better questions are how effective is it? How easy is it for customers to use? How well does it present the products? Is it search engine friendly?

Yes, a site that offers a product can be put up very quick. But speed of development doesn’t mean its good.

Yes, let’s keep it clean by not publishing mind-numbing stupid articles like this one. Also, my bad language was auto-sanitized – no need to remove the paragraph. Perhaps you Aussies are learning from our very special Attorney General?

This article was useless. Doesn’t cover developing the plan, doesn’t cover design, doesn’t cover testing, hosting, SSL, merchant accounts, payment gateways…

You know I don’t think this article was stupid or mind numbing, however the author could have elaborated on more of the development costs and time involved in taking phpNuke and fitting it to the site layout.


I would have also been interested in how the transactions were handled, which 3rd party was responsible and any reporting features that were integrated to make administration an easier task or was the 3rd party responsible for reporting.

As mentioned already, it’s relatively easy to throw a shopping cart and catalogue together. The area I’m interested in is what happens after you click the purchase button.

Not a bad article, just a misleading title,

IMO the big problems with hacking out a quickie e-comm site are:

  1. If the site doesn’t do well the owner will likely think e-comm doesn’t work when in reality it might have worked if they had put together a more “officially” designed and developed site.


  1. If the site does well the owner will probably want to add more features and options that might not be possible with a quickie site. It will eventually require a reprogramming of the whole site.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time.

Article is good and comprehensive.

“I Built an eCommerce Site in 2 Months for $99!”

"The only software I had to purchase was a classified ads module and shopping cart for $59, plus a $30 theme. The rest of the modules were free. "

So Scott earned $10 for his work???

That was my question.

I think a really good follow up article would be from the developers point of view, how the site development progressed and lessons learned in the process if any.

Linda, if you’re still writing for SitePoint I think it would be a great part 2 or 3 or 4 for this theme.


That’s the smartest thing I’ve heard in a while. You can probably build a cart that costs a total of $99 out of your pocket, if you don’t count your time. But will it sell anything?

I agree that a serious e-com project takes proper planning, a lot of time, tender loving care and more work that I want to admit. I own an e-commerce business, and it’s much more than just a little website.

There are hundreds of things to consider from payment processing and merchant account integration to shopping cart technology to how you’re going to handle processing and shipping the orders offline. Then there’s policies and procedures - how are you going to handle exchanges, returns and chargebacks… they will come up eventually, so you need to be prepared.

Where are you going to find your inventory? Drop shipping? Yeah right… you might be one of the 1 in a million that sells a viable product but the vast majority of manufacturers and distributors don’t drop ship… companies that do are serious rip-offs. So you have to manage the logistics of stocking your own inventory, keeping up with stock levels, updating the site, etc.

It goes on and on…

IMO, a huge amount. Without the proper market research, you might be selling something you think is wonderful, only to find out no one else cares.

Even if people may not be looking for the product you are trying to sell, considerable time needs to be spent making sure your product fills a need they are looking to fill. In that case, you also have more marketing, branding, and product protection to think about in the overall plan as well.

Yeah… that too. :smiley:

I think, one can simply put this down into one statement:
Building a sane and sound shopping cart system in two months (and not yet looking at the money) is simply ridiculous.
It’s not the coding, that’s done in a comparatively short time. Just developing a reasonable database design takes a tremendous amount of time.

I have to say, I’m in agreement with the last couple of posts.

In my eComm development experience (some but not a huge amount) the requirements of each database varies slightly from store to store.

The code that handles the display of products, forms, cart, checkout, etc… as well as the processes that handle shipping calculations are a bit different for each application as well.

Then there’s the administrative side of things. Transactions, shipping, tracking, accounting, returns, etc… There’s a lot to take into account.

Linda, do a follow up or 2 or… Maybe someone here can write a good article or series that looks at all of the things a eComm developer has to take into account.


Add Marketing Costs to any upcoming article listing all the things to think about. She’s not going to sell much unless she gets some people to her site.

OK… for cost…
“Shopping cart for $59, plus a $30 theme” That’s your $99. What about
“My developer, Scott Kroeger”? How much did he charge to install PostNuke 28 times and customise it? Plus what about the cost of web hosting. Though I don’t know the details of installing postnuke 28 times, I fear it could use a lot of system resources.

So, sorry I don’t think $99 is a very realistic. What you mean, is “How I made an ecom site in 2 months while only spending $99 on premade PHP scripts though using opensource software and had a developer do the customisation work”.

I agree with what you have written as i know that a serious e-com project takes proper planning and consumes time but the time and money you have provided, i don’t find it feasible.