Several days ago I received a phone call from a guy who was looking to revamp his website and make it "pretty." As the conversation unfolded, I asked about the products he was selling and his overall approach to marketing the site. He simply ignored me and said he wanted a, you know, "pretty" site. So I politely declined the job after not being able to get him to understand that design and conversion must work together.
Pretty websites don't convert without thought. It's that cut and dry. That's why thinking and asking questions about a site is so important. Who is coming to your site? Why are they coming? What do they want from your site? Can they order products easily? Will they get frustrated with your checkout process?
Having a clear, objective path to whom you are building a site for is one of the most important elements of establishing an online platform that will truly benefit a business. And likely, the experience your customer wants will differ from what you want. This is why data and research are so important.
When strategy and design work together, it's a marvelous thing. Well-designed websites now create sales. Sales create more opportunity. And the circle of prosperity continues on.
Thinking is a good thing. Learn to design with conversion in mind.