Good design makes quality content look and feel better. Design can help improve conversion rate, makes a site more linkable, and sometimes a site generates additional links and mentions just for having a great aesthetic design.
I frequently get asked how we can run a wide array of websites with only a few high-quality part time employees. One of our secrets is staying away from the stuff we are no good at - like web design. I could show you my attempts at design, but you would think less of me if I did. ;)
Rather than going the DIY route, I have been getting quality custom website designs from Wildfire Marketing Group for many of our newer sites, and they look great. I liked their services enough to work a deal with them to get SEO Book training subscribers $100 off their designs, which start out at $765 for a basic design and $975 for a design + a Wordpress theme. Their services page is here, and the coupon code is here.
A couple other people I would also recommend for design work without hesitation are Sophie Wegat and Chris Pearson. Though Chris Pearson is working on Thesis and no longer is available for hire. Luckily we have a 20% off Thesis coupon too.
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