Website design work requires a complete team of people to assemble. From graphic design to general layout to text that is ready for Google and Yahoo to managing SEO effort, social networking, press releases and more. It is important to find a reputable web design firm, and then find out what it should cost. Most websites that do not offer ecommerce should run between $1500 and $4000. Ecommerce sites (depending on web design and layout) should only add another $1500-$3000. SEO marketing for most small businesses should be under $600 to get started and then progress as your budget does.
I’ve seen too many people pay $15,000 for a site that should have cost $2000. There are a ton of cons out there, so it is very important to do your homework. Ask for references, web site design samples, and make sure you have a good vibe with the owner. Any honest business person should be able to tell you what realm your project should cost, what you can expect realistically from search rankings, the benefits of search placement, and EXACTLY how they plan on designing your website.
Be wary of anyone promising you anything on search engines. Many firms will guarantee 1st page rankings, ask them what their guarantee is. Will they refund you all of the money for the project? How about some of the money? If not is it really a guarantee or just some hype work they are throwing around.