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Those invoved with website design have been following the same rules for years - they frequently consume a set formula with regards to putting together a website because this is how their audiences, and for that reason their clients, expect the site to appear. You should not try to break these design rules, because this won't always operate in your favour, but there's no problem with attempting to reinvent them a little.
Logos they fit in upper left-hand corners with a home link
Whilst this design rule gives visitors a good way to 'reset' the website if they become hopelessly lost, it's a little overdone. A rich navigation bar perform just as well.
Templates are designed prior to the content written
As the aesthetics of the website design generally form a visitor's first impression of a website, the content may also be used to do this. You can use typography and colour to really tie the 2 together.
Article titles, images and 'read more' line is clickable
Visitors generally require an obvious cue to understand that they'll click to learn more. You could try, however, making the entire teaser clickable or putting the clickable section beneath.
What other website design rules do you follow in your day-to-day work that you could probably reinvent for some stunning results? You should keep in mind that reinventing rules is all about trial and error - whilst a navigation bar could work perfectly for one client, it doesn't mean that the traditional linked logo will not work for other people.