Take an hour or two to do some random searches for your products and services. Click on the top ten websites for each search and make a note about what you like and don’t like. When you meet with your web designer, let them know what web designs you like, what web designs you don’t like and your ideal vision for your site. Simple design elements provided to your designer at the time of initiation can save you hundreds, and even thousands of dollars in development costs. Don’t make the designer guess. And when you’re done telling the web designer what you want, ask the question: “Can you do everything I want?”
In tech terms, what you want is referred to as the “scope” of the project. Have your designer write down the scope and give you a site map and Service Level Agreement. Sign off on a contract that clearly states what you want your website to be and how your want your web design to appear and how much it will cost. Be aware that if you add additional elements to the scope of your project, it will cost you additional hours.