It is logical for a beginners guide to blogging to begin with information on how to start a blog. However, first a brief introduction to what a blog actually is. A blog is nothing more than your online diary or journal, in which you can express your feelings, thoughts, and opinions or even advertise your products. There are few rules apart from keeping it clean. For that reason they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and designs, and your blog page is literally yours to anything you want with.
You can include pictures, hyperlinks to your websites, MP3s and videos. Much depends on the type of blog you have and who is the provider, but Wordpress allows more than Blogger or Blogspot, especially if you have downloaded it to your own website. However, it is also more complicated and you might prefer to start off easy and then work your way up as you become more familiar with what you are doing. Many cPanel web hosts offer Wordpress facilities.
The basic components of a blog are:
Title: You can use the title to label your posting.
Category: You can add a category to keep blogs on similar topics together.
Body: This is the main content of the blog.
Trackback: This allows other sites to link back to your blog.
Permalink: This is the URL that goes with every blog that you write.
Comments: This allows readers to make comments on your blog - some good, and some bad.
By means of just one or two templates you can easily create new pages. It's a bit like having a website and copying your home page as a template for all the rest of the pages, only the blog template is blank with spaces for the title, category and all the other aspects of your blog. The blogging websites that you sign up with offer a number of templates and you can choose one and literally start blogging immediately.
Blogging can be more that just your own personal thing, and you can join groups that blog about specific topics, such as football, movies, music, blogging, etc, etc. You can all share your expertise and knowledge and some are literally operating as forums. You can also use your blog to advertise a product, and to drive traffic to your website, while others have no website and use their blog as their sole communications window on the internet.
I could go on all day about what you can do and, sometimes, cannot do with a blog, but the best way is to get started and then find what you are capable of. The best way is to log onto the blog provider of your choice and sign up for a blog. Most newcomers to blogging find it easiest to start blogging from a provider's website, and then graduating to installing blogging software on their own website
This is a bit trickier, but it allows you use all the plugins that allow total personalization of your blog so that it is completely unlike that of anybody else. You cannot use plugins when you run your blog from the provider's site, whether it is Wordpress or any other blog. You cannot beat having your own blog software and being able to design any page that you want.
However, although this sounds great to be able to do, on the whole you are likely best to start blogging from the blog hosting site, and then graduate to your own website once you are comfortable with blogging. You will have enough to take in and learn when you upload to your own web space without having to worry about how blogging works.
Blogging is fantastic fun, and it can also be very profitable. However, there are specific techniques involved in making money using blogs, and it is very easy to get your fingers burnt if you are unaware of the pitfalls and the right way to do it. Nevertheless, blogging can be very rewarding, both personally and financially, so best of luck, and get blogging now. Don't leave it a minute longer because you might have a lot to learn yet.
Once you have learned how to start a blog, then you can think of running your own from your own website.