It is interesting in how the internet mimics the real world in certain aspects. Appearance counts heavily. When buying something from a shop, you want to be in a clean, appealing shop not a shop on a backstreet corner. The same applies on the internet. You want to have the clean interface used in Amazon when buying a product on another site. Not just some website that screams out scam/spam.
This is why website design is so effective and valued. Appearance counts for so much whether it is for grabbing the attention of website viewers or to represent the quality of the company. Most will think of website design as the visual aspects-the images, colours, vibrancy etc. Yet, some will view website design as how the website is designed to be used and how it can be navigated.
To encourage website visits, a website has to be both visually pleasing and functional. One without the other will make the website simply not work as well as it can do. Visuals are mostly easy to accomplish. Some website owners will snag images from Google and pass it off as their own. That is fine-no harm in using widely available generic images.
But to generate maximum performance, some will generate their own images and own material. It is an expensive option and there is no guarantee over results. Depending on the image, you could get visitors commenting on how the website appears. At least then, you know it has got attention.
Functionality is how a website is designed to function for users. Menus, categories, click through items-these are important parts to how the website is navigated. Poor navigation will result in visitors not being guaranteed of finding what they were intending to search for. Effective navigation will do the opposite.