What Mike said. I like what you've done, Eric, for all the reasons Mike stated. Good job!
Couple things to clarify: I do recommend learning HTML, because if you understand the basics, the easier it is to edit the code if something is screwy (more the rule than not) you can fix it pretty easily. The thing that these HTML editors do best, though, is to save you the hassle of having to remember each bit of code off the top of your head, then having to type it out a million times. There are libraries of code that you can either drag to your page or with a tap of a button, insert it.
There are also preview modes in these programs, often allowing you the option of viewing what your page will look like using different browsers. It's amazing how different browsers interpret code.
Eric, you brought up templates. That's something I forgot to mention! There are tons of places online where you can download templates-- great starting places for you to begin shaping your webpages. You can then tweak them to your heart's content.http://www.quackit.com
has a lot of free tutorials as well as some free templates. http://www.free-templates.me/html-templates/
also has a bunch of free templates. These are just two sites found from a Google search-- there are tons of them out there.
If Xara Web Publisher is even a fraction of the quality that the original Xara graphics program was, then I would bet it's pretty awesome.... and elegant.