You’ll always be able to find someone who will work for pennies but a website that cost you pennies is only going to generate a penny’s worth of sales. Should you compare prices and any services designers might offer before you sign on the dotted line? Of course you should! Remember, however, that you often get what you pay for and it’s true that cheaper does not always mean better.
The most important thing you can ask any web designer you’re thinking of working with, whether an individual contractor or a full service company, is to see a portfolio. Ask for examples of sites the designer has built in your industry. Pay attention to how easy the design are to navigate, whether the sites feel cluttered or too minimalist, how easily you can find the name of the business and what they do, and how pleasing the aesthetics are as a whole. It also may be worth asking how many years experience they have, although one doesn’t need decades of work history to be an expert.
Most importantly you should know that a basic, functioning website built by a competent web designer is far more valuable to a small business than a trendy, eye catching site that’s confusing, cumbersome, or worse, incomplete.