The easiest and fastest way to start blogging is to sign up for a hosted blog. This takes all of the technical and guesswork out of blogging. You simply sign up for an account, log in, determine how you want your blog to look, and start blogging. You can literally have your first blog entry publishing from start to finish in as little as five minutes. Its just that easy!
You might use a hosted blog for a variety of other reasons, other than the fact that it is so simple to set up, as well. For instance, Search Engine Optimization experts say that you should have a blog that is hosted on a separate server from the server that your website is hosted on. This way, when you link from your blog to your website, the search engines will view the link in a more favorable light.
You might also want several hosted blogs that are essentially exact matches of your main blog that is hosted on your website, although adding identical content to several different blogs does not help with search engine optimization. It does, however, help you to get more exposure in a shorter period of time.
Of course, there are also reasons for not using hosted blogs, and owning your own blog on your own website with your own domain name as well. The obvious advantage is that you own it, and you dont have to worry about censorship from the blog host. Presenting a professional image is another consideration, if you have a business blog. Its more professional to have your blog on your own domain.
With a hosted blog, there are limitations as to what you can do with the look and feel of your blog. But if you host your own blog on your own site, you are only limited by what you can do with your own skills, or by the amount of money you can pay someone else to dress your blog up for you.
Another disadvantage of having your blog hosted is that if you ever want to move your blog, or use another blog platform, you wont have anyway to redirect the traffic to the old blog to the new blog. If you are hosting your own blog, however, you can easily set it up so that anyone going to the old URL will automatically be forwarded to the new URL.
If you do decide that the hosted option is best for you at this point, make sure that you choose a blog host that has an export feature. This way, should you decide to move your blog in the future, you can, at the very least, take all of your hard work with you.
Also, purchase your own domain name, even for a hosted blog. Domain names are relatively cheap, costing less than ten dollars per year. This will make redirecting to a new blog much easier farther down the road if you need to. Most blog hosts will allow you to use your own domain name, on their server, but you will most likely have to pay for the use of the server.