ArtofShadows.com is a e-commerce site running Woocommerce with various 3rd party plugins. Most of the site is customized to an extent by the webmaster. Setting up an exact copy would cost about 2-3k in software alone, much more has been spent due to trying many more plugins that were found to be unnecessary. Then setting up the site for anyone not at least an intermediate is the challenge, maintaining goes even another level. If you were to pay for this site and setup from a developer or web design firm you would definitely be well above 5 digits just to get started.
E-commerce websites are definitely premium priced, then factor in monthly costs, software subscriptions, server bills which are usually the largest, 3rd party services etc. I’ve had questions since selling a clone with a working full setup then walk away agreement meaning I would not maintain it, people interested in having their own. In general it may be easier for people to just buy in a shop service online, going the full website system requires much more, but the rewards can be worth it. The biggest monthly expense is for a dedicated server, and it’s a lower priced one too.
ARTofSHADOWS.com costs, all work done by own webmaster (me duh)
- Monthly $300, Yearly $3600 (current spec)
- Setup, $0 since I do it all, 0 help. Save $5-10k here
- Maintaining, lots and I mean lots of time, 0 money costs. Save $5-10k here too. When something breaks after an update or something else this can be a drain on your personal time, really something to factor in.
- The setup and maintenance fees I quoted above are just bare minimums, doing it all myself really saves me a ton.
So with those very general numbers I hope this helps you a bit with your curiosity. Would I recommend other photographers to create a similar site, “NO” just use a content selling/access service there are a few. Yes you won’t have all the freedoms or extensibility as AoS, but you will have your free time to just create content, something I don't have lots of. I personally have so much content already and actually enjoy the learning process of website creation that I find it fun “most times”. When I am troubleshooting issues and somehow come up with a new solution it’s like a great high.
Again my costs were much much higher counting the last couple of years of “trying” many premium plugins that didn’t work out. I’ve also tried much higher tier servers which are super expensive and were too much for the lower traffic. Control freaks with website building/wordpress experience are best suited for sites like AoS.
Yes there are ways to get a site to show content for much less, WordPress with a membership plugin and decent vps server. This would be just Membership based like a few versions of AoS in the past have been. The very first version of the site used s2Member, photo gallery plugin, and few others on a vps server, cost way less but didn’t do a lot. AoS v2.2-3.1+ is a full e-commerce solution meaning I can sell anything on it from services to products with shipping etc.