If you want an accurate assessment of what your Website will cost, you must have a clear idea about what you need. Take some time to answer these questions before you talk to a developer.
How will my Website function?
As an online store where actual product is sold
As an online brochure to inform the consumer about your company or services
As an online community
As a combination of these
What will my Website look and feel like?
What will my site communicate through its appearance? Will it be light and fun, hi-tech, or business-like and professional?
How many pages, and what specific sections, does my site need?
Consider the inclusion of at least these basic areas:
What is my budget?
Be reasonable: if you only have $500, you won't get much out of your Website. But some smaller, more affordable designers will gladly design a small business Website from between $700 and $2500.
What is my project deadline?
Are you pressed for time or do you have several months to play with? If you need your site in a hurry, you may be able to speed up development if you're willing to pay a premium.
Will my site require any specialized programming?
If you need a shopping cart, database or contact form, make sure your developer has the skill set to meet these requirements.
What level of assistance will I need with my site's development?
If you know in advance how much, and what kind of help your project requires, you can confirm that the developer you're considering can (and will) provide the level of service you need:
Do you require full site design & conception?
Do you have the concept and just need it created into HTML pages?
Do you simply need some new graphics and a site makeover?
Do you have an existing logo or will they need to create a new one?
What do I like?
Create a list of URLs for sites you like, and note what you like about each one, and why it appeals to you. Then show this to your designer to give them a better idea about what you're after. This can also help them provide a quote and concept visuals to match your vision.
Get a Referral
If you see a Website you like, or know someone with an online business, ask them who their developer was.