It is important to understand the importance of great web design in detail so that as a candidate at a job interview or a freelancer/contractor speaking to clients you can communicate where you, as a Web Designer, add value.
Additionally as a Junior Web Designer or maybe someone who is looking for their first web design job it is very important that you can articulate the benefit of great web design and the difference between websites of comparative design.
Websites are the face and the brochure of a company. Especially the homepage. They sell the company to customers, clients as well as investors and employees. A professional website design is a necessity for businesses who want to create a reputable positive image through their online presence.
Your business will rapidly grow with a good-quality web design and promote itself in the search engines.
Therefore a good web designer will be able to add value by delivering an amazing marketing tool to grow sales and attract the desired group of customers – fundamental to any business. Poor design leads to confusion, and nothing drives people away faster than confusion.
It is definitely not all about making a site look pretty! There are plenty of pretty websites out there that don’t convert customers and therefore it’s like having thousands of visitors in your shop but no-one paying for anything. Good web design leads to clarity, and understanding at a glance, which is the ultimate test for sticky websites. And a good web designer will understand about candidate journey, user experience and also converting visitors. As well as ideally SEO and how this interacts with the site architecture and content.
Visitors only spend an average of three seconds on a web page before deciding whether to stay or not. If the immediate, split-second impression is that visitors don’t know what the site’s about or what to do next, say good bye to your visitors.
Many businesses will use templated websites – however a good web designer will want to ensure he can create a bespoke site so that the site is unique, flexible and personal.
In summary a good web designer will help inspire AND convert web visitors and provide a positive reputable image for a brand.
Note: Wikipedia have a good summary and history of Web Design here