said 1 year, 5 months ago:
Take this with a grain of salt, since in my other life I run a web design shop.
My experience has been decidedly mixed. It certainly cheaper to go with the outsourced solution, but if the person is remote you’re at their mercy.
I’ve had more than one contractor go awol on me, leaving me to clean up their mess, throw a ton of money at the job to keep the client happy, etc.
That being said, over the years I’ve developed really good relationships with a handful of local and remote people–designers, copywriters, programmers–who I trust and consider a part of our family. They cost more than I would pay at an eLance, but the finished product is worth it.
If you really want to keep prices down, why not choose WordPress and one of their free or inexpensive design templates? Then find someone you trust to handle some hourly maintenance work?