Your website is the hub of your online business; it is the virtual representation of your company whether your company exists physically or not. When you are doing business online, people cannot see you physically like how they could if they were dealing with an offline company. Hence, people do judge you by your covers. This is where a good design comes in.
if you have a totally professional looking website layout, you are giving your visitors the perception that you have given meticulous attention to every detail and you care about professionalism. You are organized, focused and you really mean business.
Your website is where your business resides -- it's like the headquarters of an offline company. Hence, it is important to practice good design principles to make sure your site reaches out to the maximum number of visitors and sells to as many people as possible.
Make sure you have clear directions on the navigation of your website. The navigation menu should be uncluttered and concise so that visitors know how to navigate around your website without confusion.
Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length. If a paragraph is too long, you should split it into separate paragraphs so that the text blocks will not be too big. This is important because a block of text that is too large will deter visitors from reading your content.
As a web designer, you should design your websites to give your visitors the greatest ease of use, the best impression and most important of all a welcoming experience. It doesn't matter if you had the greatest product in the whole world -- if your website is poorly done you won't be able to sell even one copy of it because visitors will be driven off your website by the lousy design.
When we're talking about a "good design", we're not only talking about a good graphical design. A professional web design will be able to point out that there are many components which contribute to a good website design -- accessibility design, interface or layout design, user experience design and of course the most straightforward, which is graphic design.
Popup windows are so blatantly used to display advertisements that in our mind, 90% of popup windows are not worth any attention so we just close them on instinct every time each one manages to pass through popup blocker (yes, we do have one like many users out there!) and, well, pops up on our screen. Imagine if you had a very important message to convey and you put it in a popup window that gets killed most of the time it appears on a visitor's screen. Your website loses its function immediately!
You should also go to a greater length and optimize every image on your site to make sure it loads in the least time possible. Use image editing software to remove unnecessary information on your images, and thereby effectively reducing the file size of your image without affecting its appearance.
Check out the webdesign products above to get detailed information about various ways to approach your design. Even if you are outsourcing the site design, it'a very good idea to acquire enough knowledge to be able to intelligently discuss and articulate your requirements.