In the old dot com days, companies selected web designers by the size of their nose ring and the color of their hair. The more wild the better.
Today if you want to build a website without a lot of pain, you need a designer who truly understands web development with a Content Management System (CMS). They need to know CSS cold. They must know PHP in their sleep. Templates are their life.
Why do you need a CMS expert?
A content management system will allow you to easily manage the site’s content without having a programmer on staff. Instead of calling the designer to make changes to the site, you can do it yourself. Having a CMS will also make the site extensible and allow you to add new functionality, as you need it. For example, adding a blog in most CMS systems is as easy as clicking a radio button. Adding Google Analytics tracking is as simple as adding and configuring a module in the CMS. When evaluating a web design firm you should ask the following questions:
If you want quality, expect to pay $2,500 for a basic website design in a CMS. $5,000 for moderately complex design. $10,000 to $50,000 and up for CMS sites that have complex designs that integrate with systems like Salesforce.com, Marketo, Pardot etc.