One thing that we sometimes forget, if you have a really nice website but nobody can find it...what purpose is it serving?
Businesses will be different, industries and niches will be different in terms of the purpose of a website. But predominantly the point is to attract customers and gain new business. And the main way to do that is by grabbing those customers that are locally searching for a business just like yours. This is what we call a "buyer intent keyword" and is what you need to be ranked for in order to get those extra phone calls and new clients.
But again that isn't done on design. Sure a better designed site will help keep your customers on the site, and should provide better content on than your competitors. But if you are truly committed to the task, you'll need to invest in SEO.
There are plenty of opinions on the different types of SEO that can and should be done. But everyone agrees that there is a process, and a combination of factors that Google looks for in order to rank your site higher than the next. Content is and will always be king, and there is both onsite and offsite SEO work that has to be done. When Google sees that other sites are pushing their power to yours...it's a big step for you.
Before investing hundreds if not thousands on a website build, consider using most of that budget towards SEO. We have trusted friends with Plano SEO that have told us the same, contact your local agency or marketer for tips and ideas.