I am primarily a web developer with design skills and sensibilities. I believe form follows function. It doesn’t matter how pretty it is, if it doesn’t work or no one can find you with a search engine it just doesn’t matter. That being said: design is usually only noticeable if it is very bad or very good.
The approach I take: your website is your digital identity. Images, colors, content, shopping carts, widgets, even advertising on your site is all in the service of branding your product and/or company. Your website is you, in a digital format.