We need to have a website that takes very little effort to create, looks good and is dead simple to edit. We also need it to be supported by a hosting company so we do not have to do any extra work to keep the site up, except feeding it content. We do not currently require an e-commence system. What are our options?
and welcome to this site! :-)
I'm afraid that "low maintenance website that looks awesome" is one of those evergreen problems. No one has really cracked that yet.
My first pick would be Squarespace.com . It's a webapp with a graphical editing environment for editing webpages, which Squarespace then publishes for you on their proprietary grid hosting platform. In other words, after you have designed your page template and added content, it is zero maintenance for you.
My second option, which is more flexible and powerful, is to adapt Wordpress for your needs. You can get basic Wordpress hosting at wordpress.com, but there you cannot fully customize the Wordpress installation. You could also try Jason's startup WPengine, where you can fully customize the Wordpress installation you're running on. In the latter case, you would probably want to hire a designer who works a lot with Wordpress, and have him/her create a custom site template (a unique look for your site) based on either the Thesis or Genesis theme frameworks.
You could also try Theme Forest. You can purchase complete websites very cheaply.
All you have to do is add your own content (you will have to do this whichever route you take, unless you pay someone in which case you can expect it to be expensive).
I used Theme Forest to purchase a coming soon website (Smart Company Software ) for my company. I didn't want to spend time creating a website because I wanted to devote the time to my software application and this suited my puroposes at the time. The sites are usually very good quality.
I currently use wordpress mainly for the type of site you are talking about. Its quite simple after you play with it for a couple of hours. Its main purpose is as a blogging platform, but you can easily use it as a CMS (content management system).
Other than that something which is natively more like a CMS is Joomla. I have used this in the past and made a couple of sites for small companies that could be easily edited. Personally I would say it is more flexible than Joomla as a CMS, but slightly more difficult to learn, although it has a new release (1.6) coming out soon, which may clean up a few things.
Other than that if you want something really simple you could go down the drag and drop route of some kind of flash builder (there are several if you google it). However these have many problems and I don't feel they are a valid substitute for a 'real' website.
All of the above 3 options are free if you set it up yourself and use a free template. Both wordpress and Joomla are well supported by most hosts.
If you can it would be best to have a web designer set something up for you and possibly create a bespoke CMS for your needs or edit a few parts of another CMS to make it very simple.
At the real simple end - you can go with something like posterous - I've seen some pretty amazing things done in there.
If more power is needed - there is a saas drupal provider called drupal gardens. Here's a few sites created with their service. If you want more cms functionality than what wordpress offers, take a look.
You probably need to provide more information than just saying you want a CMS. Also saying you want a CMS, but not an e-commerce system is like saying you want a car recommendation, but you don't want a helicopter; they are two completely different things.
What information do you want to display?
Wordpress is usually first preference with many people who want a hosted solution and only want to display simple pages of information.
There are many free/paid templates that will make your site look professional easily and most reputable hosting companies will provide you with an easy installer for Wordpress.
Also check out MS Office Live Small Business. It’s template-based so you can get a website up and running quickly and you will manage all the changes. There’s also an online community that can help with questions, tips and demos and business tools such as e-mail, site traffic reports and a contact management system. This link will help: http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/en-us/
Two others are Virb.com and Flavors.me. Neither require programming or HTML knowledge but do require some design sensibilities since they provide you with a visual design editing tool.
For those that don't want to have to design or to program (all the Wordpress options like Themeforest still require the user to get their hands dirty installing the template, etc.) the best options of those listed here are Weebly and SnapPages that Ricardo suggested.
My only qualm with the latter two is that the final designs are kind of bland and generic and not always "well designed."