Someone forwarded this to me the other day. You might have seen it, but I still thought it was worth mentioning, because I had not come across it before. In fact I didn't even know about the site where the article was published, SiteReference.
Here are a couple of brief excerpts:
"That's right – ugly websites are surprisingly effective in making money. As a person who puts business before technology, a profitable website is a website is an unbelievably attractive website to me." (from SiteReference)
Catchy, eh? As I read it, I first agreed, then became a little annoyed that the writer made it sound like everything revolved about the way a site looks, while I'd say that a lot depends on what it does. But I think I was being pre-judgemental, because in the conclusion:
"What we need to keep in mind, is that websites are meant to be used – used for reading, used for network, used for shopping, etc. Websites, like any other marketing tool, convey a message and are an invitation for visitors to trust us. Our design needs to reflect this.
"Take a moment today to look over your website. Is it really easy to use? Have you been more worried about the look of your website than its functionality? Would it be more effective if it were simpler in its design?" (from SireReference)
A really good article. If you are involved with designing web sites, I recommend it.