With a joyous, optimistic spirit, I registered for two MongoDB courses this morning. The output of the courses is a working knowledge of MongoDB (which is a backend database for web development), and a functional blog, built from the ground-up.
I'm excited to build a blog, but it is TOTALLY reinventing the wheel. There are tons of blog technologies readily available and mostly free. For those not looking for pixel-perfect control and painstaking development experience, here's a run-down of my favorite options.
In every situation, if you want your own URL, you will need to pay for a domain name (roughly $12/year). In some cases, you need to pay for some storage space too, which can run you maybe $60 to $100-ish. However, if you don't mind a .wordpress.com or .tumblr.com in your web address, you can do just about everything for free.WordPress: I love WordPress (I'm using it now). It is a CMS (Content Management System) that will soon take over the internet. It's fairly simple to learn and lets you do a number of different things, and it has a very active community of developers and designers who are always building more plug-ins and themes. There are a number of free themes available (Google it), but if you're looking for something more and willing to pay a little bit, check out ThemeForest. WordPress was built for blogs, but allows you to do just about anything, including online shops, corporate websites, and professional portfolios.Tumblr: Tumblr was designed for ease of blogging. The user experience is wonderful (once you know what the icons mean). It doesn't have the flexibility of WordPress, and seems to be mostly art/photography based, but it isn't difficult to make other uses of it, as with my stories or some other fun ones. Tumblr is much more community based than most other blog technologies, as sharing/reblogging is emphasized everywhere. As with WordPress, there are tons of free themes if you look.Blogger: I use and enjoyBlogger as well. It is easy to learn and use, and provides a handful of customizable options. It has nothing on the flexibility of WordPress or the options of Tumblr, but if you are looking to sign-up and start writing immediately and hate the WordPress Dashboard, this is a great alternative.SquareSpace: I wish I had a need for this site, because it looks amazing. Check out the demo video! Alas, this site is ideal for a portfolio with big, beautiful photography and paintings. The themes are responsive across devices, and the editor gives you WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) control over the placement of all content. It looks amazing. However, it's not free! $7/month for the basic package, $14/month for premium.
There are plenty of other blog technologies out there. If the above don't suit you, check them out. Dive in!