Some hints on options for writing blogs, it follows on from 42: Blogging Technology: Reading.
This post is the result of a conversation during the UK Methodist Bloggers Meeting help 4 & 5 January 2008.
If your technical ability is such that you have considered writing your own blog application then this is not going to be very helpful.
Like my review of reading blogs this is going to be simplistic, there are many other possibilities beyond the limited options I am going to suggest.
I am grouping the options under three headings.
By this I mean your blog does not cost you anything and it runs within a web application hosted by the provider. So you interact with it using your web browser using some blog administration pages. The two best known options for this are Blogger (part of google) and WordPress.com
Both these will work well and are used by millions of bloggers. There are limitations of course in terms of flexibility and power but they are still deservedly popular. If nothing else the price and lack of technical knowledge required make these very attractive options to start your blog.
The service I use (typepad) falls into this category. You gain some extra features and power and the ability to customise your blog rather more. For example you can use your own domain name as I do (blogger does also support this, obviously at that point it is not free and is a competitor to typepad). You can be certain that you can have an ad free blog with no visible branding from the service provider. Cost is between $5 and $30 per month (plus your domain registration costs).
I have been happy with this option for 42 since August 2003.
This option may use free software, however, it is unlikely to be free as you are going to need web site hosting. It is unlikely that any free hosting will be sufficient (if only because you will want control over the domain name). It seems to be that by far the most popular software for this option is WordPress (yes essentially the same as used at wordpress.com) although there are thousand’s of alternatives.
This is more work to setup and manage but you get unrivalled control, the ability to connect seamlessly into other parts of your website and limitless options for customisation. I have considered this option for 42 a number of times, however, not actually ever made the jump. I have used it for other blogs and been happy with the results.
All these host good blogs and there are an infinite number of other options. Hopefully this gives a useful summary, but use the comments to provide more info or request more detail and it should gradually expand to be more comprehensive.