I'm a total novice.
Alrighty .. that makes it easy, actually.
I recommend the '... for Dummies' line. Despite the insulting title, they are quite well written and very informative. Since you're a complete novice, I think you'll find that these will be a good starting point.
Honestly, the market is pretty saturated with people who just do design work. If you want to make decent money, you want to be a web developer, not a web designer. The difference is in the code .. a designer makes things pretty, while a developer makes sites that WORK. DB backends, store fronts, payment integration, custom scripting .. this is where people make money.
Hope that helps! I notice you asked a similar question a couple of years ago ... so I hope you get it moving this time .. inertia is the enemy!