Many self-published authors (and other clients) have asked us for advice in setting up a website, We usually advise them to set up a blog instead of a static website. Most blogging solutions are free, they are designed to be extremely easy to use, and they invite the owner to keep posting new information, keeping things fresh and interesting for potential readers. Bloggers can usually maintain some static information pages as well as their ongoing front page blog. Some blogging solutions enable bloggers to use a specific custom url rather than appending your blog name to the end of their URL. Blog templates are generally becoming more sophisticated and better designed, and are also well integrated into the world of Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Picasa and social media in general. Bloggers can post via email, or from their mobile phones, or even via text messages.
The best solutions are listed below. Some solutions suit some purposes better than others. WordPress is great for people who like control and tinkering. Blogger is better for those who are happy with a rather more limited set of buttons and levers. As with anything web related, it is not enough to set something up and expect people to find it. Do your research, link to like-minded people and relevant resources. Ask others to link to you. Comment on other people's blogs. Make sure you create plenty of interesting, original material.
5) Squarespace (not free, but fully featured and quite cost-effective)