I believe in judging a website by how well it converts visits into profits and this can be achieved with "stickiness"... the measure of how long a user spends on your site.
The longer they stay the likelier they are to spend money, ask any good salesperson worth his weight in salt!
Website Design, "stickiness" & the 8 "C's"
Your design should keep visitors on your site AND make them come back for more so implement a few of the "C's" in your site design to improve your conversion rate:
"Content is king" so ensure your web copy is unique, fresh, useful to users and fits in with the overall design.
Broadcast content with RSS Feeds, e-mails and sms to your target audience and link to relevant sites to get your point across (automate this in the website design).
Interactive website design (on-line games, weather reports, etc.) ensures consumers spend more time on your website.
Include F.A.Q.S, reports, research data or on-line response forms and integrate call to actions throughout the website.
Engage people on your website, plug-ins from Social networks should be incorporated in your website design to further develop peoples perception of your company logo design.
It's important for prospects or customers to reach you, display your contact details on each page and use an email notifier to inform users of any updates to the website.
Your design should include a Blog and allow comments giving you a better insight of your visitors needs.
Allow visitors to personalise landing pages and ensure the website design is customer centric with personal greetings and personal preferences.
Customers should be able to complete the entire purchasing process on-line so incorporating on-line registration, secure payment facilities, order tracking and return policies in the website design is essential.
Ensure your Hosting Company is reliable and keep your website down time to a minimum, remove dead links and ensure that information in no more than 3 clicks away (plan during the initial website design phase).
The website design should ensure a pleasant user experience with simple navigation, good graphics and clear typography.
The website should offer a wider selection of products than normal distribution channels or perhaps offer a product customisation option for registered members.
We always looking for bargains and the easiest way to find them is on-line, offer discounts for on-line purchases or bookings (check out kulula.com for a good example).
Plenty of thought has to go into website design so always plan before you launch your on-line presence (or overhaul your existing web design).