Agreed, $3000.00 for just a wordpress site, even where I used to work which was way expensive, that buys you 2-1/2 days of full time work, more than enough time for a Wordpress website to be made unless you are having a ton of custom programming added to it. Companies that deal with making a wordpress site will have things ready to go other than the actual design (and if they don't then they are not experienced enough to charge a higher rate IMO).
That being said, more back to the original question of where to go to build a site... Coming from a web developer standpoint, this would need to be defined more. For me building a site is everything from scratch. However since you mentioned VistaPrint, while I have never seen what their system offers as far as how you build the site, I'm assuming you mean for a site where you pick a base template and add content.
There are going to be many places out there for things like that (I'm actually building that type of system for a client right now). Read though some of the suggestions on reviews here for other sites, mainly about features lacking on them for SEO purposes, then compare those type of features with where you go.
Some important notes:
- Do NOT go for price alone. Think of a potential client saying he found someone cheaper, different industries, but the core of the reasons you would give would be the same (more experience, doing things right from the beginning, doing it with "big picture" in mind, not the base task)
- Do NOT go with "simplest to use". Now don't get me wrong, there are a few exceptions where they are simple to use AND good, but many times the simpler ones will be lacking somewhere, getting you stuck down a road that you have to completely rebuild to leave. While a little more involved system may seem too much at first, that learning curve may prove to be worth it in the end for site performance.
- Take the time to go through many example sites, try looking for more than what they show you in portfolio. (hint, look in the footer for same branding text on their sites, and then in google, search for that text (wrap it in quotes so it does an exact match search).
- Once you have some sites run them through a validator (http://validator.w3.org/
) Now, depending on how much range of editing the site there is, keep in mind that the client could have caused it to not validate, but if you see what looks like same errors across most of the sites you check, probably base issue.
When in doubt, you can ask here about a particular one (ie, the comment on vista print's site were good)
Good luck on this, when it seems like it is taking too much time, remember your site may be the first impression for new customers, and will be working for you 24x7 to let people know about you. (if it can be found). It is worth investing time and money into.