If you can afford XP by all means upgrade, You will be glad you did. Don't worry about the learning curve, everything is very intuitive, you will be up and running in no time. I would never use win9x ever again.
There are ways of doing it for free. You can go to any free web hosting provider, subscribe and use their online web page builders to make a web page.
Some of these free providers are:
That should get...