Blogger Newbie Seeks Help!

I want to start a blog, God help me. I’m seeking opinions regarding the best webhost (is that the right word? My ignorance is complete!) to use. I was going to use Blogger, but am leaning away from that (as I am an control freak and don’t feel like letting GOOGLE into my life) and toward buying my own domain name and having at it. Keep in mind that I am, as stated, completely ignorant regarding coding, etc. So, if you are up for it, please advise regarding:

Best place to buy a domain name?

Place that provides best templates? (Or do I need to buy my own blogging software, if there is such a thing?)

General blog advice?

As you can probably tell, I am NOT exaggerating when I say that my ignorance on the subject is complete, so don’t be shy about tossing out any comments/opinions you have on the subject (but be kind, please! I am easily discouraged). I am brimming over with ideas and want to get started before the ideas get away from me.

If you don’t want Google in your life, you probably shouldn’t start a blog. There’s ways to stop the search engines from crawling and indexing your blog, but if no one can find it, what’s the point in having it at all? For the most part you can do the same thing with a diary or email list to your friends and family if you want to keep it so private.

For someone who doesn’t know about hosting, domain registration, and coding, your best bet would be a service like LiveJournal, Blogger, or TypePad until you learn.

Many hosts now offer all-in-one solutions for people like you, however it will be more expensive than the aforementioned services. They’ll register your domain for you and your service will come with WordPress installed, so you can just download templates and apply them to your ready-made blog. Not all hosts offer these services so you have to look around. I can’t make any recommendations unfortunately, because I use a simple bare-bones host without these features.

It is possible to do all the work yourself and get it ready to go, but it’s not easy for a newbie who just wants to blog for a few friends and family. Your best bet is probably one of the free/cheap services out there.