Blogging is one of the easiest ways for the average person to 'get published' without using any technical skills. As a result, blogs of all types proliferate, and since there is no approval process or intermediary between the blogger and the public, blog quality spans the gamut from excellent to awful.
Perhaps you have given it some thought, and you are ready to start blogging. Maybe you have a lot of trenchant opinions you would like to express, or you feel that a witty account of your cross-country road trip would appeal to many. Perhaps you are the foremost expert in a hobby and want to share your hard-won wisdom. Having made the decision, how do you start blogging, and is it difficult?
You can start blogging by visiting a free blogging host, such as Blogger, Movable Type or WordPress. Fill out the simple form to make your own account. You should have a blog name already picked out, and it should be unique - that is, there should be no one else using that blog name. The blogging host process won't allow you to pick an existing name, so if you choose too common a name, you will be asked to come up with another before you can start blogging.
You will have to answer some questions about the format and content of your blog before you start blogging. Most blog hosts have a variety of templates you can select from for the 'look and feel' of your blog. You will also have to decide whether or not you want readers to comment on your posts. Think long and hard before you disallow comments - readers enjoy the ability to comment on what they've read, and failing to allow comments may brand you as 'snobbish' and prevent many drop-in readers from returning.
Different blog hosts have different tools and formatting, but they all basically do the same thing. Once you have filled out the form and your blog is created, you can start blogging simply by typing your text into the 'create post' form. Previewing allows you to see how the text will look when published, and when you are satisfied, click the 'publish' button and your blog will become visible for the world to see.
Once you start blogging, it is important to make a commitment to continue blogging - most blogs languish after a week or two as bloggers discover that they didn't have as much to say as they originally thought or can't make the time to post to their blog. The most popular blogs are updated multiple times a day. This doesn't have to take long - type up a few thoughts on a news story, hit 'publish' and your blog is updated. If you are planning to post lengthy, well-reasoned essays two to three times a week, say so upfront, so that readers know not to expect new content daily.
One caveat - once you start blogging, you can't control who sees what you post. Therefore, if you want to post stories about your children and only allow relatives to read them, or something similarly personal, look into Live Journal and other journaling tools that allow you to filter posts so that only specific people can see them.