Being a newbie is nothing to be ashamed of, because we all started where you are right now. The only difference is that things were much more difficult then, and are much simpler now. I used to have to make entire websites out of HTML, and now only the hacker guys use HTML because they find a certain pride in it. But the bottom line is that you can design a professional-looking website without any knowledge of HTML or anything more advanced than how to use your mouse. Seriously. Web design has become about as step by step as things can get.
These are the three things that newbie web designers need to know:
1. Have a good product or service. Don't try to sell things that people can get at their local Wal-Mart. Be unique, sell something that you have an interest in. Build a website to sell your photography, book, or real estate. Niches are frothing at the mouth for decent websites that give people what they really need.
2. Spend some time on the design itself. Almost all web builders give you templates to get you started. My favorite is Tripod, not because of the templates themselves, but because of what you can do with them. You don't want just another cookie-cutter website like most hosts offer, you want a website that has been customized by you and reflects what your website needs. Tripod lets you do this. Change all the colors, pictures, headers, and styles. Make the website completely yours.
3. Don't be afraid of your options. Since Tripod makes it so easy to insert code into your website, you could literally have your website do anything that you need it to. If you can think it, most likely there is a code out there to make it happen. All of this might sound a little advanced, but adding code to your website is as simple as copy (CRTL+ C) then paste (CTRL + V). Seriously. Sure, you could get more advanced and check out the code or tweak it to your exacting specifications, but even some professionals just do a simple copy and paste and act like they just worked a miracle on your website.
With website design, you won't be a newbie for long. Get your feet wet, try new things, and know that everyone can build a website--even you.