Here are some articles that provide background for some of the guidelines and approaches that we use in building and maintaining web sites.

10 Things I Hate
Most of these could apply to non web based business but seem to be especially rampant in the context of the web.
Criteria for Optimal Web Design (Designing for Usability)"
The Software Usability Research Laboratory brings you "Criteria for Optimal Web Design (Designing for Usability)", a resource that explores the various challenges of designing usable websites (and uses actual research to back up its findings!).
Web Site Design Tips
A concise article on how easy it is for web site designers to forget the web site's reason for existence and make it into a display case for what they do.
How to run a design critique meeting
Unlike a brainstorming meeting, where the exclusive goal is to come up with new ideas, a critique meeting is focused on evaluating a set of existing ideas, and possibly identify future directions or changes. Instead of hoping that hallway and email discussions will lead the team in a good direction, it’s generally worth investing time to set up critique meetings to drive the design forward.
Why Splash Pages Are a Bad Idea (from netmechanic)
Close your eyes and imagine using a design technique for your Web site that increases page load time, encourages people to leave the site, confuses search engines, and discourages repeat visitors. Did you imagine a splash page? You should have.
Flash: 99% bad
About 99% of the time, the presence of Flash on a website constitutes a usability disease. Although there are rare occurrences of good Flash design (it even adds value on occasion), the use of Flash typically lowers usability. In most cases, we would be better off if these multimedia objects were removed.
PDF (Acrobat) vs HTML Page
Avoid using PDF format for pages that are viewed online. For pages that are to be printed, it is the format of choice.
How Users View Pages
This is a collection of related studies on how people view web pages. Invaluable information for page designers.
Eyetracking Study of Web Readers
How Users Read on the Web
Banner Blindness

Search Engine Submission Guide
Here is the bible on getting your site listed by the major search engines. We especially recommend reading the section on Search Engine Design Tips. This gives the reasons behind a lot of our design recommendations, particularly for the home page design.
Search Engine Optimization (from CLICKZ)
Here are some tips on avoiding keywords that are too common, using branded keywords, and knowing what to do when your keywords are likely to be misspelled. Finally, there's a summary checklist to verify that you are on the right path to leading prequalified visitors to your web site.

Pages Counters - Why We Won't Do Them
Here is a great little site that explains (with a dose of humor) why page counters are not a good idea.