As you know already, Web Design is something you can jump right into by creating a simple web site, maybe a couple pages, and use the assistance provided by tools like FrontPage 2000 which has built-in templates to get you started.
It won't take long, however, for you to realize how much more is involved to become truly proficient at this art ... and to be able to create web pages that don't look like they came from Mattel PrintShop or Microsoft Publisher. Patience is a virtue here so just rest assured that it will all come together through experience.
The entire purpose of Sam's Web Stop is to provide an overview of many of the relevant issues, technologies, and tools that lie before you. I can't go into the greatest depth here, as I'm sure you understand, but what I can do is get you started. Each topic has useful messages and my Sites to Visit topic contains many helpful links to places that have something for you.
I have given much thought to making this material as easy to get through as possible and to spice it up with relevant examples of each particular topic. When you leave here, you will not feel exhausted and frustrated, but rather that you've started to lay a foundation to build upon as you further your skills in the art of web design.
To give you encouragement, I was a rookie at this less than two years ago and without much guidance, spent too much energy reading about the various technologies, instead of gaining some real world experience by building a web site. So, I bought Adobe's PageMill product as my first HTML editor and used the shareware version of PaintShop Pro and armed with nothing but these two tools and a lot of optimism and determination went about creating 'Sam's Web Stop'. It was an OK effort, but did not have nearly the breadth of topic material it now has.
From time to time I still lapse into using some ill-timed juvenile humor, usually a distracting animation, that detracts from the more serious message I'm trying to convey.
Obviously I haven't 'arrived' yet, but I have learned a lot from my experiences and have already developed a few web sites for others (they're referenced in Sites to Visit). I bought my domain name to try to lend additional credibility to what I'm doing here, build some higher traffic volume, and to give myself incentive to make this site better and better.
We'll see what happens. Meanwhile I'll wish each of you well in your design endeavors as you continue to embrace a most exciting technology ... the art of web design.