A lot of people have doubts about working with a web designer to build their company website. The worry too much will be asked of them or that they aren't technical enough for the task. My question to them is "How well do you know your company, products, services, staff, and customers." If you can describe these things in detail a good web designer can take care of the rest. They should, however, know about three websites you like and why you like them. This is so they can have a idea of the design and functionality you are looking for. Next you determine what content will be included on your website. We break this down into a list of webpages, also called a Sitemap. Each webpage has one or more images and text associated with it. The designer should help you with basic idea but either you or a hired copywriter need to write the actual content. For the design they will ask for attributes you want your website to have. Most of my clients, for example, ask for attributes such as "professional", "easy to use", and "inviting" but others will want it to be "cutting edge" or "scientific". In any case a website is comprised first of all by a logo which has fonts and colors in it. Those fonts, colors, and style of the log become the basic for the website design. You will be asked to critique the design and request modifications to it. They will then create the website using their artistic abilities and will request feedback from you on how you'd like it changed, if at all. There will also be widgets (bits of advanced functionality) on your website. There are 100's of such widgets you can put on your website and a web designer should give you recommendations for this.
Here are a few widgets you could choose from
* Newsletter sign up
* Contact Form
* Document library
* Portfolio/Slideshow/Image gallery
* Printable/Downloadable Coupons (for services or products)
* Store locator
* Instant estimates/quote generation
* Password protected content
* Event registration/purchase
* Event calendar
* Membership website
* Membership sign up
Perhaps you just want a basic website that talks about your business, showcases your products/services, and gives clients a way to contact you. Those are called brochure websites and are a perfect candidate for WordPress or SquareSpace. WordPress, in addition, is great for adding widgets as tens of thousands have been created already.
Building a website doesn't have to be scary. If you have a trusted web designer to hold your hand through a tried and true process you'll do just fine. Just be prepared to give feedback about the website design and optionally write content/provide images. A good web designer has a network of resources to pull from (content writers, photographers, video specialists, etc) and writes everything that will be included in the project into a formal signed proposal. Anything less than that is asking for trouble.
Good luck on your website building endeavors. I'm always here if you need me!