OK disclaimer first: I’m no expert I’m just like you, it’s just I’ve been doing this a bit longer.
No seriously though getting a blog up and running is as easy as putting your shoes on. I’ll indicate a few things here that will help you on your way.
1. you can choose to have your blog hosted for you on blogging platforms, The two easiest ones that spring to mind are:
• create an account and begin blogging
• no monthly charges
• Impossible to customise with fancy plugins (great community building tools)
• Whilst you might have yourusername.wordpress.com in the domain you won’t have your OWN domain. (what if you build a great brand and wish to sell it in the future?)
2. You can choose to purchase a domain name of your choice and I’d recommend your own name, or a name which relates to what your blog is to be about. “LondonNights” or whatever. Having your own domain has far better branding implications too.
My advise, without a doubt, is to get a domain name they are cheap as chips. Now if you do get a domain you will have to do one of two things:
1. using your free blogging account you can point that to your domain (can be tricky, but doable)
2. rent monthly server space, point the domain to it, and install the blogging software on that space (find a friend to help you with that). Paying a monthly fee of say 10 pounds for a quality server with 99% uptime and 24/7 support is in my mind the absolute best solution.
That’s it, a piece of cake really.
If you should require server space and help with a domain let me know.
Also please do post some comments here with your thoughts to help out newbies, what do you use and where?
UPDATE: Interestingly enough just after I posted this a Twitter friend BethGranter indicated she is having issues moving her hosted account to her own domain. The old urls are indexed and she is concerned about that traffic loss. Another good reason to host your own.