It is often asked if a site should be made for the user or the designers benefit.
What if you spend hours/weeks/months on your site only for people to get lost!
Several sites I have worked with are doing very well with the minimum of features and fuss.
Does your site really need the latest content video flashes, scrolling facebook and bouncing twitter birds?
Most of the support questions I deal with are to do with paid extensions. If you have a paid for extension, the most obvious choice would be to go to the supplier first, they have your money. Unless of course you have obtained the template or extension from a dubious; unprofessional source.
Once you have found a decent template, do you really need to rip it apart then rebuild it to make it look "good" when you can build one using a good template construction kit?
For most new users to Joomla, and experienced ones, you can get a decent looking, easy to navigate site using free templates and tools.
The community site bristolestate.org.uk shows such an example of using the milky way template with a replaced logo and an extension for the top menu module. There is also a download, gallery and video player extension. All free, all easy to use and very user friendly for the target audience (50+ years old) who do most of the updates themselves.
If you look at this site. mandyhost.co.uk/ You will see it is a straight forward template, with only a couple of extensions. An image gallery and a drop down menu extension. it is visited by several hundred people a week and syndicated to around 30 different community websites.
The services and news it supplies are what people are after along with a simple navigation without being just another blog.
For the more complex community news site that has just been relaunched is whitehawk.uk.net which is currently running a design a logo competition. It uses a standard free template, with a free image gallery and forum. The versatile template woks well, and a few other extras such as the sobi links extension, shows how a functioning community site can be built without whistles. It does use K2 to provide a more social networking site. The target audience is 14-30 years and all migrated from a 5 page html site, with a free hosted forum and a cant be bothered site admin.
Yes there are other sites that I could mention with more features and flashy templates but this article is just to show that you don't need to have all the bells and whistles, templates that look very futuristic and have every extension that you can get hold of. Remember, only one component can run at any one time, and a barrel load of modules will slow your site down.
Design your site for your target audience, people will respect you more for keeping something easy and simple than overloading them with scrolling banners and zooming menus. If you want to build a facebook or youtube clone, then go ahead. Expect about 50 people to sign up at the start, your bandwidth to be hit like a steam train and don't bother renewing the domain at the end of year.
My clients come to me for build straightforward sites they can handle. If I build a "personal pastime" site, then I can fill it up with what I want, but I wont pay myself for the added features I may use once because they are to complex.
Think simple, think professional, think use ability. Get repeat visitors and pleasure, not repeat pain.