I Think I Need a Web Site Designer

I have several web sites that need new designs.

I’m also in need of an e-commerce shopping cart that can be integrated into the site in both form and function to allow for the sale of digital content (ie software). I’m aware of osCommerce and zen-cart but am interested in more simple and user-friendly alternatives. Free is good, but these aren’t always the easiest tools to use, maintain, and upgrade.

Do I link these sites together, do I keep them completely separate? Do I try some cross site branding with a common look and feel? Or does each site need to have its own individual identity and style?

This is a lot to think about and even more work. Do I go for free website templates? Do I try and do it myself? Do I hire a designer? A designer would be pretty expensive for four sites. Maybe, a combination of the above.

I know there are tons of free or cheap web site templates out there. But, how many bad designs do I need to search through to find the right one? Is it worth my time?

Does anyone know of good sites that provide quality templates that are modern but not cliche and over used?

Will a free template look good enough or match the company logo I’m having professionally designed?

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.