At this day and age, everyone can build a website. But that doesn't mean that they can do it well. In fact, a lot of them shouldn't have bothered at all.
I know I'm no web designer or graphic artist nor did I have any training in such. But I have spent a considerable amount of time on the Internet to know which websites work, which ones are inviting and which ones need a total overhaul. I'm just a regular web user and in some ways, my opinion is way more valuable than those 'experts' because I am your audience, I am majority of your visitors.
If you are planning to create a website for any reason, whatsoever, please take note of the following -
No to Flash - If possible, do not put anything Flash on your website. They are slow, annoying and not SEO-friendly.
No Splash/Welcome screens - do not put an intro, especially a Flash intro (see above), on your homepage and ask the visitors to "click here to enter." They are already at your doorstep, let them in. Don't expect them to open the door for themselves.
Explain yourself - Have an About/Help/FAQ Page and a link to the About/Help/FAQ Page that is visible on the homepage. If your website's purpose can be described by one or two statements, you can just put it anywhere easily readable on the homepage. Make sure first-timers have an idea what your website is about and they know where to go if they are interested in finding more about you.
No Auto-play! - I've said this before and I'll say it again. It is VERY irritating. Especially those 'hidden' music/video players that you have to hunt for on the home page just to turn off the annoyance. I came to your website to get info on something of perform an important task. If wanted to listen to music or watch a video, I'd go to YouTube or dig up some stuff saved on my computer. Annoying auto-play media does NOT improve user experience. This is not 1999.
Home is where the heart is - have a visible link to your homepage. Preferrably on the upper left corner. I know it sounds basic design knowledge there are still those who are guilty of not having a visible home button.
These are just basics. You'd think that people would be aware of them but, NO. Every now and then you ecounter a few of those little annoyances online. Sometimes, I get so irritated that I close the tab immediately. Unless they have really exceptional content, I won't be sticking around.