This is the one thing that often makes the difference between an ugly site and one people fall in love with. The answer?
The focus of your website is the content. Don't let your design overshadow the value on each page because more likely than not it's an unwelcome distraction.
Sometimes the best design is less design.
According to this study by Google, websites with less "visual complexity" were perceived as more appealing. People like simple. Simple is easy.
What does this mean for you? Purge. Get rid of anything you don't absolutely need in your design. Ask yourself... does this element have a purpose? If no, hit delete.
I like to start with a barebones website and build creative elements on top of it to add personality and style. That's why I'm such a big fan of Squarespace. The templates are so simple and adding a little bit of style is easy without overdoing it.
Back to Basics
Think about what your customers really need from your website. What content do they visit most often? How can you make navigating your site easier for them.
Remove all the distractions and focus on letting your content stand out. Then once you've removed all the bells and whistles, think about how you add a little bit of calculated style back to your website to make it your own.
What colors will you use? How will your typography enhance your message?
I recommend starting with our free style guide if you haven't already. Go ahead and signup at the top of the sidebar or over on the homepage.