One of the things I was surprised about when looking around for a blog setup is the number of options you have. Nearly all of them are free, or can be found for free somewhere.
I wanted something that was mainstream, easy, affordable, and customizable. Being an IT guy I am comfortable running my own systems so I didn’t mind setting it up so long as the ongoing maintenance was low. One option early was Blogger.com which is now run by Google. This was attractive for most of the criteria accept the customizable one. The other frontrunner was WordPress.
My hosting company even offers blogs as part of my hosting package. I found them easy to setup and get running. This also met almost all of the criteria accept the customizable one. Yes I know you can customize WordPress easily, but the hosting company retained access to most of the system, and they had the versions several behind at v2.4 I think. After doing some research it became clear that the current version was vastly different and I like to stay as close to current as I can.
So the next option was running WordPress myself. My hosting package also allows for MySQL databases and so this option became quickly the best one. I was able to create a database, create a folder for the WordPress files, and begin the installation process withing WordPress within 20 minutes. Pretty slick and it has met all the criteria easily. Kudos to the WordPress crew.