If you follow me on twitter chances are you seen more than one rant on bad web design, bad CSS, and bad/sloppy coding. Sure I’m a reformed CSS Zealot who used write XHTML 1.1 valid code for kicks. I may have returned to slightly more normal life, but I still believe there’s value in writing clean code. I was migrating a client site from a development environment to a production environment, and when I signed up for webmaster central the results were pretty interesting …
The website was previously a 3 page site with nothing more than text header and with a flash animation on two pages and contact form on the third. Here’s what google webmaster central thought about it (screen shot sanitized)
The first 5 entries were inline CSS coding (Zurich was the font not the location)
What’s the takeaway, yes Virginia your CSS does matter. Don’t blindly accept what your designer gives you just because it’s pretty and looks nice. Learn enough to know what good CSS should look like, and act like. If you need any help I recommend Designing with Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman.