Anybody who think that the choice of programming language one uses makes any form of difference whatsoever is suffering from a severe delusional state which can only be cured via copious intakes of some form of alcohol and a smack about the head with a clue-by-four.
Language doesn't matter in the slightest. If you magically converted all PHP code to some other language overnight, then would it make all those programs better programs? Would it make everybody a better programmer?
Answer to both of these is no, because the "program" is not the end-goal, it is only the means to get to the end-goal.
If I'm a user, then I don't care about having a spreadsheet program, I care about getting my work done with spreadsheets more easily and quickly. I don't care about the email program, I care about sending my emails easily and effectively. I don't care about the web publishing tool, I care about publishing content on the web more efficiently.
Users don't care about language. Only programmer-nerd types like us do. But we're not paying the bills, we're being paid by the users to develop software for them.
And this leads to the bottom line:
The tool that works best is the one that gets you paid fastest.
Now, that tool may be anything depending on circumstances, but for web publishing, well, you pointed it out yourself. It's clearly PHP. It's everywhere, it's easy-to-use, it's fast-as-hell to develop with... even if it does have many, many problems from a pure programmers perspective.
PHP is a language for getting things done rapidly, with not much in the way of advanced skills being absolutely required. Sure, you can develop highly advanced structures and systems in PHP (especially since PHP 5.3), but the base-entry level is still HTML+PHP=FTW. Novices can (and should, IMO) start with it.
If you want to develop a better alternative, then focusing on the language itself will doom you to failure. PHP succeeded because of its usefulness and utility, not because of abstract and non-marketable ideas like language-syntax-purity and so forth. Any alternative must be immediately useful and easy-to-work-with, and trying to make the language somehow better from a pure programmer's perspective invariably makes a language harder-to-use, as far as I can tell.