There are cheap overseas companies out there that will do this for probably $500. I have no specific recommendations and haven't worked with any, but if you don't go that route I suspect it will be at least $1000, if not more.
Yeah, that last figure is a bit much, but my main point is that I'd much rather work from a personal recommendation (from a DC regular, any time!) rather than just go to a random website.
I'd rather not devolve this thread into a discussion of relative merits/demerits of various CMS-es. Instead, a couple of examples that will position my helplessness somewhere on a 0..10 scale:
WordPress has "widgets" - little islands of html and php you can place all over the layout. For those who don't know, they're something like Vista/7 gadgets and work for a similar purpose. You install them by drag and drop (some theme support is required but common). I had never coded in php, and I was wondering how much effort it would take to create a WordPress widget if I needed one. So I tried writing one that would display a random quote once a day, and once a quote was picked on a specific date, the same quote would be shown until midnight server-time. It was a few years ago so I don't remember exactly, but the widget was ready well within the hour and lives on to this day. Simple beyond a real coder's pain threshold, I know, but hey, it was my first php app ever. I spent most of that hour looking up functions and syntax in php manuals. That sort of thing leaves you with a nice warm feeling of having accomplished something and being in control.
BUT... I really don't want to have to write any serious php because I don't have the time for it and, being a total php noob, I won't even know when I do something awesomely stupid that will totally compromise the security of the site. In fact, "me writing php for use on a public server" is a security hole just there. I've seen a recommendation for Concrete5
, a CMS I had not seen before, so I'm checking it out right now, and one, I don't understand any of it, two, worryingly many of their video tutorials tell you how to alter the php code to get it to do what you want, like search sections of the site that are not searched by default. For me, this means RUN AWAY.
So while I still have the Concrete5 website open, here's another example. There are tons of nice themes out there for all imaginable CMS-es. Some are free, some not, I can live with both. So take a random non-free theme for Concrete5 like this
: Web designer needed to convert a Joomla template to a WordPress theme
So, here's a nice, elegant template, though the green gradient sticks out really badly, and the bar on the top won't accommodate more than five or six sections (and probably won't scale down on displays narrower than its width)... but forget about that, look at the logo. It was designed by a pro designer. Now if I bought this template, how would I go about changing the logo to mine? How would I reproduce it as a graphic with my site's name in place of that nicely styled "obsidian", and replace the blue logo with whatever I wanted to use? I don't have software for that (these elements invariably require expensive Adobe software to edit, they don't come as pngs), but most of all, I don't know how. This is just a random example of course; I'm going to have this problem with any theme that uses a graphical header. That's one reason I'd love to keep the ethervane design, because at last that part is done there.
At one point I tried saving the page as-displayed and working from there to make it into a template, but even though I get html and css, this was way out of my league. Way too complex to make heads or tails of and figure out where what happens. I could write compliant html 15 years ago and learned css as it came along, but these days it's a domain of the pros.