Know your audience first.
1. They're not all using their desktop computers.Seen all those people trying to meld with their Blackberries? They may be looking at your site on that thing, so make sure it looks good.
2. They have the patience of a puppy chugging espresso.Get to the point. Fast.
3. They like pretty things, but value efficient navigation more.Designers do funny things when they get hold of sites. They make them look beautiful, but don't always think about what they're supposed to do.
4. They don't always like slide shows.
One of the first questions we ask during the kickoff of a new project is, “Who’s taking ownership of this project?” It’s incredible how many times that answer is, “Nobody.”
Unless you plan to let your website turn into a ghost town, put somebody in charge. Appointing no one as the website manager will have one of two outcomes: no one will do anything and your site will rot, or someone will do everything, but you’ll never respect or realize the amount of work they do.