I did almost exactly this, although I perhaps didn't plan to have
the site redesigned originally.
My first site was designed by a teacher of website design on the
artistic side. I found that he was unable to help me with a lot of my
queries about SEO and the more functional areas of the site, such as
shop....and also because he was still teaching and designing in his
'spare time', he was hard to get hold of, hard to get him to make
changes within a workable time frame, hard to communicate with other
than via email. It cost me about AUD$3500 and was useless in terms of
accessibility, navigation and functionality! In my opinion I was
ripped! (isn't retrospect a great thing!!)
12 months after the original site went up, I registered a new domain
name, had a new site designed and invited some friends along to
create additional interest and traffic...
The second designer had been a carpenter, was studying himself (not
teaching) and had a young family to feed..powerful motivation to
keep your clients happy....
He created a site that was to my brief which included a shop and
gallery I could maintain. The site hits went from a few hundred to an
average of 6,500 per month in six months..they have been as high as
9,500. He has willingly and often modified and tweaked the site, been
available almost without exception within 24 hours to talk/email me,
has made changes quickly and efficiently at all times. I don't feel
my queries, suggestions, requests have ever been brushed off. To date
it has cost me less than half the original site, even with all the
changes and additions!
However, there is still a lot of work to be done and in fact I need
to get back to it NOW and update it majorly!
I think the point of mounting a site is simply that your existing
customers can keep in touch with what you are doing and introduce
their friends. However, you may find that it does not rank in the
search engines, that you get few visitors and fewer sales. At the end
of the day I think what matters is what YOU want! Are you looking to
provide just a web presence for your existing clients or do you want
to have a site which achieves big hits and is more commercially