I like your comparison to website building during its early days. Gives us the benefit of hindsight. One consultant was going to take a html page from a previous project. Find and replace the client's colours in. Make 5 pages (home, about us, product catalogue..) and then wait 6 months for his client to fax over the "content."
Another consultant was going to use coldfusion to make a dynamically updating copyright notice, & contact form and use templates to make the site "ecommerce ready". He was going to hire a copywriter to work with the client. And (as an optional extra), do CSS.