Website design has become more important and it has also become much more complicated. In the 1990s, an innovative business owner could figure out how to make a basic website and customers would be happy. It was simpler then.
A lot has changed. The idea that a business owner can run a company and manage an effective website at the same time is unrealistic. This is also why so many companies have turned to professionals to help them meet their performance goals with growing business with the Internet.