I have always been a self-taught bodge job type of web designer, and nothing I have ever designed has passed the w3c validator test.
So, I decided recently, just as a technical exercise, to try and create a site which was both reasonable to look at and standards compliant, using XHTML strict and a CSS style sheet. I also wanted to make the site as small as possible, so not using any graphics.
It took quite a bit of work, and most of this was my own fault in being lazy and reusing a CSS template that I had stuck on my hard disk for a couple of years.
Anyway, it was a useful exercise and the finished result looks alright, and is standards compliant, so I guess I reached my goal there.
In truth the whole stylesheet needs to be gone through and re-written to get rid of a lot of bloat, which I either left in because it didn’t break anything, or just commented out.