For example, the demand for simple "brochure" websites and the "here today, gone tomorrow" nature of this type of website has always been difficult to put a value on. In the earlier days, this presented us with significant problems selling our services. We even turned down work, advising that spending on such sites was not going to return on the investment. But the lessons learnt during this period have since proved very valuable to our clients and the work we provide for them today.
Of course the presentation and form of a website is important - it is a visual medium after all. But the most powerful systems - and those most used and successful, simply concentrate on the provision of online service over presentation.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, even many news sites, like MSN and BBC are plain and purposeful websites. They have all recognised it is their ONLINE SERVICE that is their principal "brand" - delivering the service that people are seeking when they visit the site.
Purposeful doesn't have to mean ugly but it should be recognised that purpose comes before presentation.
Clients often think that users visit their sites for something other than what they actually visit it for. We see this in the analysis of a good website. For example, whereas some people think that unique visits with high page counts means a good site, Users don't!
So, don't be shocked to find that Users are not visiting your site for fun. They visit the site to get to something. And the quicker they get there and away, the better, from their point of view. We all do it!
So, to repeat the primary advice, recognise the purpose of your website to understand its value and make it a success.