I recently had a conversation with a future client who fell victim to this all-to-common issue. She went with a guy who talked the talk, but when challenged played the non-disclosure card. He kept telling her that he couldn’t show her examples of artistic work and SEO results because of competition issues. This is absolute hooey, but sounds good when you’re on the receiving end. She has recently decided that the bargain route was too expensive.
Gone are the days of assuming the Internet is a passing fad. No website is as bad for business as no business card or telephone number. Even if all you want to do is a simple about us page with some contact information, it’s vital that you get this done. That being the case, I can direct you to some folks who will do it on the cheap (I might even do it if I have the time). If you want to take full advantage of all the web has to offer, however, you’ll need to develop a strategy and talk to someone who can help you develop it.
Unfortunately, there is no governing body for licensing or certifying designers. There is no specific set of courses one must complete or set of books one must read to make a business out of design. As a result, the first time someone figures out how easy it is to make a site with a WYSIWYG editor (like Frontpage or some other equally evil monstrosity), they hang out the shingle as a “designer” and wait for the business to pour in.