You've started off the correct way. Figuring out how you want your web site to look and operate is the absolute first, most important and primary thing you can do. If you can reduce your concept to specifications then you should be able to communicate these to a web designer. Failing that, there is nothing quite like doing it yourself. I started with a six week course at the local community college for web design. I was able to construct a simple web site as a result of the course. After a year of playing with it, I upgraded my site. Web site construction is pretty easy. It's the image preparation and photoshop skills that are the time killer.
My site is very different from other photography web sites. My stats show that web traffic dropped off after I launched version 2.0 this July, but traffic is now starting to pick back up. Most people are staying longer. Still, it's amazing the percentage of people that spend less than a minute at a web site.