WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. If you have never blogged before, you may be interested to know that there are two “flavors” of WordPress – wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
Both are free and both are easy to set up and maintain.
Starting from Scratch
If you want to start a blog, but don’t have a website and aren’t planning to get one, you may want to go with wordpress.com. They will host your blog for free. The drawback is that your blog’s URL will be something like, http://myblog.wordpress.com. For a personal blog that you share with family and friends, that’s fine, but for business you will want your own, more promotional URL. That leaves wordpress.org.
Using Your Own URL
Assuming you don’t have a website yet and want to have your own URL, the first thing you have to do is register a unique domain name. I recommend namecheap.com; they are cheap and reliable. (By the way, what is the difference between a domain name and a URL? A domain name is the name of your website, such as mywebsite.com, while a URL – Uniform Resource Locator – is the complete name, for example, http://www.mywebsite.com/index.html.)
Once you have a domain name, you need to purchase web hosting. For that I recommend HostGator; they are reliable, provide excellent tech support and are inexpensive.
There are many other good domain registration and Web hosting companies, but I use the two I mentioned above and have had positive personal experience with both of them.
Blog as Part of Website
There are two ways you can go with wordpress.org. You can build the entire website with WordPress (just the blog, or including regular Web pages), or you can add a WordPress blog to an existing website. I like this last option, because it gives me the freedom to create the website exactly how I want it and making the blog part of that website keeps it all together.
To include the blog in your website, you must create a subdirectory for the blog on your domain server. You can name it blog, or something else. (For this blog I named it usefulinfo.) The complete procedure is explained in this WordPress article.
With HostGator it is even easier. It is as simple as selecting WordPress from a menu, pointing to the subdirectory you created, and clicking Install, as explained in this tutorial.