We keep saying that design is the least important when it comes to a website's effectiveness, and that content and marketing are the top drivers.
Although this is very true, we're implying that good design vs no design have a smaller impact. Bad design has a big impact on website conversion rates.
In my 15 years of being in the web development industry, I've seen some horrific things. When the Internet was in it's infancy, this was to be expected. However, the Internet is pretty mature now, and almost every business has a website. I don't speak to a lot of companies anymore that are looking for their first website, unless the company is brand new.
To always be improving the quality of our websites and the satisfaction of our clients, I regularly revisit old projects and lost projects. One that stood out in particular was a project we lost due to budget constraints (allegedly).
The prospect is in the VERY high-end retail industry, and their store image is a thing of beauty.