Having been in Web Design for such a long time, I frequently get asked "Where/How do I start?" After thinking about it. It's a pretty hard question to answer. I needed to probe further and ask follow-up questions to fully understand what they were asking. It's easy to just point someone to Google and tell them to search for Web Design. They'll get a lot of information that way. Unfortunately, there's way too much information out there. Books, websites, magazines, blogs. It's very easy to get information overload and confused. It's also very easy to start off and go completely the wrong way and get discouraged. So I've compiled a small list of books and websites to help get you started. The vast majority of these did not exist when I started and I wish they had been.
As a beginner, there are a few key concepts that you should understand before hopping into your favorite text editor and hacking away. These concepts are: Standards and Usability. And these are the building blocks upon which your foundation is built. Just like a building with a bad foundation will collapse, so will a website. These resources are specifically aimed at giving you a clear and stable foundation to build on.
Please keep in mind that this list is merely to help you get started on the right foot. It is by no means an end-all list to how to become a great web designer or provide you with advanced information. We are only just setting the groundwork here.
Please feel free to share your beginner resources. And correct anything I may have missed.