There are just some things that need to be included in every website. If you integrate these tips into your site your visitors will "thank you" for it later:
1) Navigation: Keep it simple (KISS), and make sure it's consistent from page to page. No matter where you place your menu bar -- either at top or down side -- always include a small text menu at bottom of every page. If you're one of those people easily impressed with Flash, don't design your navigation with it. There are still some people who don't have or want plug-in, so they won't be able to navigate your site. Besides, search engine spiders can't read it, so won't be able to spider individual pages of your site if navigation is done in Flash.
3) Contact Information: Nothing drives me more insane than having to search through an entire website just to send owner an email. Post your contact info at bottom of every page of your site, along with your email address. Don't make me fill out a whole form when I just want to send a simple comment. Include your email address, hotlinked and ready to go.
4) Logos & Graphics: Please keep your graphics down to a reasonable size. No one wants to wait two minutes while your huge, beautiful logo loads onto screen. If you must use a lot of graphics to get your point across, I've got one word for you: Compression.
5) Fonts: Remember if you stray from using standard fonts that everyone has installed on their computers (such as Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman) viewer won't see your fonts as intended. Your users' computers will display your site in their default fonts. Stick to standards. If you must have a certain font used you'll have to turn it into a graphic to maintain its look.
6) Make It Sticky: Include interactive features if possible, such as live news feeds. Check out http://www.moreover.com for tons of news feed topics you can paste into your site for free. Use chat rooms, discussion boards, etc. You want to create a sense of community where people will want to return.