Wondering if you should start a ecomm site? Trying to squeak another million a month out of the one you have? Funny thing is the scope really doesn't change the tried and true approach. The numbers just scale based on the size of the project.
There is a common misconception found among many of the clients we speak to.
Many merchants and website owners have the idea that they can put a logo on a theme and open the store or website- ie. the design should cost a few hundred bucks.
Anyone that has been in design for the last few years understands that content is how the search engines come up with the results. No tricks will work for more than a week, no magic bullet can be sent in to do the job.
Your "site design" is an intergral part of your CONTENT. Taking a theme that was intentionally made to be generic is simply NOT going to perform as well as the same theme massaged to the specific market it is competing in. There are designers that can develop a solution for $500 and designers that will create the same "visual" solution for $5,000. At face value, $500 is a much better deal for the same look.
This is where the misconception is found; they look the same.
A client of RESPOSIO originally traveled the $500 route because, at the time, the designer that understood this "content concept" quoted $3500 for the project. 6 months into the live site, the client was paying overture and google over $5,000 a month to drive traffic to their site. Their organic listings in all search engines were few and far between.
RESPOSIO performed a review of the website and presented a few options to increase sales. In the end it came down to working on the design and content. Only 3 months after the new development, the site traffic is better than it has ever been and all pay-per-click marketing has been ELIMINATED. For less than one months pay for adwords their sales are higher than they have ever been. No magic, just working content in the manner that benefits the engines.
If you are looking for a site design, before you say "$5,000?!?! That's too much!". Think it through with this "content concept" in mind.
A correctly built website will compete with others in your market and your wesbite can be doing that in sales every hour.
All things considered, put the designer on the block and have them prove the value of their work. Don't base your decision on screenshots. Review how their work performs in the engines.