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This article is awesome. I think designers often forget that our job is to help clients with their business goals. A nice website design is part of that strategy, but only one part, as you explain well.
A lot of times clients don’t know what their objectives are. It’s our job to get it out of them, even if we have to spend a lot of time on initial planning and research. You just can’t have a successful outcome if you don’t have objectives to shoot for. It doesn’t make sense logically.
The only thing I’d like to add is that I think a site still needs a good design to be successful. There is a credibility factor there that only a good design can bring.