A website can be as simple as a one page business card style, or a large and complicated content management system. The following is an outline of the essentials of a good website, in order of importance.
The look and feel of the site is by far the most important.
This all comes back to first impression.
A good graphic designer is not necessarily a good website designer.
To design for the internet a artist must have an informed understanding of minimum use of graphic elements, and how to optimize the graphics for fast loading web pages. This is an important part of search engine optimization.
Some will use do it yourself code generating programs. These programs have come a long way over the years, but they are no replacement for professional code and good SEO.
There are many free and pay for templates available on the internet.
They are often a good starting point but could limit how you can apply your site logic.
Site logic runs a close second to design in importance. Much thought must be given to your design structure. What will be on the opening page, what will the primary links be, what will need to be sub links. How about photos and drawings, perhaps even a slide show.
The site logic must give your users the ability to go straight to the section they want without the need to wade through several levels.
Multi media is becoming the next generation of website design. A multi media video can be a very effective marketing or training tool. Video on your site can also increase your SEO positioning.
Responsive design is the latest in advanced website crafting.
Sites will reflow text and elements to accommodate various computer monitors as well as mobile phones. It should be noted that this website was built as a responsive site.