Many people looking to start a book blog often ask me how I manage the technical aspect of thecompulsivereader.com, and assume I am some sort of web genius. Uh, no. When I started this blog in 2006, I had basic computer skills, and while I could still do more with a keyboard and a mouse than my mother still can (hi, Mom! I love you!), I was far from a web genius.
There is a lot of debate out there about which blog hosting site is the best (Blogger, Livejournal, WordPress, etc.), but I think it all depends on your preferences. I use Blogger, and barring a few minor hiccups in the past year that were resolved quickly, I LOVE it! Blogger is a Google company, but you can use whatever email address you like to create a Blogger account. They allow to to create your own blog and make it as simple or as complex as you want. They also make it very easy to personalize your blog with colors, pictures, designs, etc. without having much knowledge of coding and design. This is the cheap route, as it doesn't cost anything to use Blogger's template designer. It's what I use, and while my blog isn't as flashy as others, it works and I think it looks clean-cut and professional, but also a little fun.
You can also create your template if you have those skills, or hire a designer to create and implement one for you. This can be pricey, but you may even be able to find other bloggers who are willing to design things very inexpensively, like kd-creates.com.
Just some things to consider: if you design the look of your own blog, try to choose colors that are easy on the eyes (as in, no neons!), and just keep in mind that dark backgrounds with light colored text is harder to read than light backgrounds and dark text.
Don't be afraid to play around with your blog and add widgets, pictures, lists, etc.! The Compulsive Reader is constantly evolving, and sometimes a change is really fun! Just keep in mind that readers tend to get annoyed by music players and widgets where the sound cannot be turned off. Other than that, have fun with it.
Once you have your blog up and running, your blog address (URL) will be yourblogname.blogspot.com. If you want to remove the blogspot from your URL, you will need to purchase a domain name. You can do this from a variety of sources, but I recommend doing it through Google. It costs about $10 a year, and they remind you when your subscription is about to expire so you aren't left with a blog but no URL! That is, however, just an option. You don't have to do that!
Your blog is supposed to be a fun place to express yourself. Just remember that it's also a presentation of yourself. If you want to be seen as professional, keep it more on the professional side rather than the personal side.
These are just some of my suggestions and ideas--just remember that in whatever you do, have fun!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want clarification on anything!