This is a question asked by both clients and web designers / developers who are yet to dip their feet in the depths of web standards. Lets take a look at this from both sides. First we need to get clear what web standards actually are.
To explain what web standards are we need to take a look back at the beginnings of the internet. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as a place for people to share and access information. Since that initial idea the web has greatly changed, and the amount of people publishing online has increased significantly. Your next door neighbours son can probably knock up a 'website' (notice the quotations!) in a weekend. The web needs guidelines to ensure that the largest number of people have access to these resources and to push the web in the right direction, so that it can continue to develop and move forward in the best way possible.
So now we know what standards are, why do we use them, and for clients, why is it beneficial to have a site thats been developed adhering to standards, as oppose to one that hasn't?
If your site has been designed with web standards combined with best practices for accessibility then your site will be accessible to a much larger demographic than a site that doesn't take these things into consideration. Basically your site won't shut out any visitors with disabilities, or even people who choose to browse your site on their mobile phone. Thus maximizing potential sales and exposure for your company.
Increase The Number of Visitors
Sites built with web standards are easier for search engines to crawl, and index -fact! Standards based sites are built using the latest CSS technology which produces lean-mean web pages without bloated code. This is like Christmas come early for Google!
You might, or might not be aware that people don't just view your site in Internet Explorer. There are a number of different 'browsers' available. Our Toronto web design team has to really play a balancing act when it comes to compatibility and accessibility. Sites built adhering to web standards are much more likely to render correctly for everyone, regardless of which browser they choose to view the internet.
It makes business sense! Why would any business want to turn away potential clients?