A lot of my students are interested in web development. Many of them are working on gaming clan sites, personal blogs, etc. I've come to the opinion that building a site out of pure html is almost a moot point anymore.
Most of my students ask about providing forums, member profiles, file uploads, etc. All of these can be done with html, I'm sure, but, the learning curve is steep. I'm all about making things easier while still learning the basics of how to be a website admin. So, my advice would be to use some type of content management system (CMS).
My current favorite is e107 but there are literally hundreds of CMS's out there. Some free, some not. Since I'm a proponent of Free and Open Source Software, I encourage my students to begin at OpenSourceCMS and find one they might want to try out. A listing of a good majority of the available CMS's is available at The CMS Matrix.
Once they are ready to begin, students need a host (free) that provides at least PHP support and usually MySQL as well. One of my students stumbled on AWARDSPACE.COM, I decided to give it a try. I have to say I'm impressed. 200 MB, 5 GB of data transfer, 5 free subdomains. You can see my results at http://gdunc.awardspace.com. Want to try out a classroom blog or a student upload site? Give 'em a try.