Do not start by calling random companies you found on Google and asking “how much per website?” Instead, try to summarize your needs. How many pages and sub pages will you have? (home, services, about, contact etc.) Will you have e-commerce? If so, how many products? Will you need a blog or password protected areas? This kind information is necessary for the web designer to provide an estimate.
Familiarize yourself with how the best of the web looks in 2010. See our list “The Best of the Web.” Search to see what your competitors’ sites look like.
Set up a realistic budget. Beware of companies that promise to do everything for $500. Almost all design studios or designers will ask you what your budget is and “I don’t know” is not a good answer.
Find a designer or design studio that you would like to work with. Look at their portfolio and see if their work seems professional. Ask if they use templates or outsource the project. Additionally, see the article “How to Choose a Web Designer?”