When considering the purchase of any expensive service or product you would expect a consumer to consider all viable options and make an informed decision by reviewing the pros and cons of each option. Sadly, we're able to see that sometimes that isn't the case and we see the result of those attempts at creating a new website when they have failed.
So one could ask, "What should I look for in a web development company?" The answer should be familiar when you think about it, but let's break it down. What you want to look for is someone you trust and who shows experience in the field. Someone who focuses on your project and the type of work you need done. In as much if you were looking to replace your toaster you would use a similar process, although possibly more in the sub-conscious.
You would consider what you use a toaster for, how many people might be using it at one time, the functions you need it to perform, how much you want to spend, who the manufacturer is, the warranty and support they offer, etc. Sure, with an appliance of this level you may not think warranty and support are major considerations, but some toasters these days are not cheap!
These are very much the same items you should consider when hiring any company, especially something as personal and important as developing your web site. While you may have a budget in mind, remember price is not everything. Any good shop will work within your budget to make the project happen. You may have to give up some of your wants for the site to make it happen in your price range, but that is a balancing act that you choose in all aspects of life.
What really matters is will the company you choose be there for you. Will they create the site you want, giving input along the way, and will they answer questions once it's done. We work on many failed web sites when the owners bring them to us to complete or fix them, once another company has failed to do its job. Don't let this happen to you. Make sure you sign a detailed contract, that you meet with those managing your project in-person and talk about all the questions, concerns and fears you may have. You should not be intimidated nor should anything that is said be too technical that you don't understand it.
One of the major considerations that we often use as a piece of advice for any purchase is what is this company's primary channel of business? If you are buying a printer you want to choose one that is made by a company that makes printers. It sounds simple and basic, but take a moment and think about it. A company who was founded by making printers and the technology that printers use will have more experience in the field, better support when you need it and should provide a better experience overall. In other words, does the company you chose to create your new online presence focus on web site design and development? Or is that #3 or 4 on the list of services they provide? If you need your tooth fixed, you go to a dentist, not the eye doctor, so why would you go to a computer networking company for web design and development?
Make an informed decision; you will get the best results.