I have signed up for hosting at Bluehost.com ($7/month)--if you purchase an annual rate, you also get a free domain. I understand this process isn't free but it's pretty inexpensive.
Then in the cPanel, you can easily install Wordpress on the domain. If I understand right, you didn't want to use Wordpress because you couldn't control the domain, but this allows you to do that.
I have set up Wordpress on a custom domain for a number of non-technical people and they have picked it up very quickly. Also there are countless free Wordpress themes which make it easy for non-technical people to control the design.