It isn't hard to learn enough PHP to use it in an effective way to build a site that uses a template (or two, or three) for pages, using the PHP to plug in different content into the template. That's what I do, and it makes it very easy to update a site, and add pages, etc., because you only need to write the code for the template once.
I'd stay away from Word Press. Too many people use it and all those sites look basically the same. Boring! And most are ugly besides. It's an easy way for people to get into the business, but they are not designers. Besides, it is my experience as a user that the Word Press sites take forever to load. I absolutely hate a Word Press Website. Avoid it!
If you want to make a mark in your area, become a real designer, and learn to code (and sharpen your artistic skills as well) so that you can build unique Websites that don't look like everybody elses. I say this, but I will tell you that I am barely getting started myself, with only a few Websites under my belt. But I look at the competition, and I see that there are many Websites that have a "sameness" about them. Very little innovation or originality, and, frankly, most of them are just plain UGLY. Too many people in the business who haven't a clue about art. They write code. Period.
Too much emphasis on "content," too. Content depends on the purpose of the site. If you are creating a site that is intended to inform on some topic, then yes. Content is king, but not at the expense of good design. Good design should always be kept in mind. There are people here that will argue with me on that, saying that people don't care if the information is there that they want. Maybe. But that is no excuse for building an ugly Website!
If you are building a business Website, it better look good. You are building a company's image. More than likely, a company Website is for purposes of advertising the company and it's products or service, so it should be treated as advertising. That means that the 'content' will be intended to sell. You'll have to become a "copy writer." "A copywriter is a sales person behind a typewriter." — Judith Charles, President of Judith K. Charles Creative Communication.
Buy a book on copy writing. Writing copy is a special skill. This has to be learned, or your copy will not do it's job, and will be full of words and phrases and (as we see too often on the Web) stuffed full of "keywords" aimed at getting the attention of search engines, but doing nothing to attract potential clients. They will quickly leave your page. And, forget the rules you learned in English classes. Short sentences are best. And, it's okay to begin a sentence with 'and.' Or 'but,' or 'because.'
Buy a couple of good books on advertising if you intend to create Websites for businesses. One of my favorites is "Positioning: The battle for your mind" by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Forget the sounds, the pops, clicks and other annoyances. Those things are for games. Keep things simple and clean. Personally, I think too much animation is an annoyance as well. These are "thumb suckers."
If you intend to get into the design business, learn the craft and aim to be the best. The Web has too many crappy Websites created by people who write code, but wouldn't know good design if it slapped them in the face.
Check my site: http://www.dreammakergraphics.com