How do I Actually Create a Blog?
It's fairly simple
Whatever system you choose, the work of actually writing a blog is simple. It's not like the olden days of web design, where you had to write code, and build a website. Blogs come pre-made. You just choose a design, click onto a Blogging area, and start typing your first blog post. Anyone can do it.
What system should I use?
I've used and reviewed many blogging systems, and as of 2013, the system I'd recommend for most people right now is WordPress. It's simple enough that you can use it without having to learn anything, but has enough features and depth such that you'll never run up against its limitations, and be forced to leave.
Self-hosted WordPress gives you your own domain name, complete control over your site's content, and the ability to add functionality with "plug-ins".
What Does WordPress Look Like?
Very few novices have the graphical or technical ability to construct an appealing website layout. The great thing about WordPress is that this step is done for you. In WordPress, you just choose a "theme", and set your own header pictures and background colour.
Here are a few examples of WordPress's themes. There are hundreds more. WordPress's themes tend to be simple and modern, but there are also fancier themes available.
Setting up WordPress
The WordPress system itself is free, but you'll need to "host" it somewhere. I recommend using the web host FatCow. It's what I use myself, and it costs $3.67 per month for 2-3 years. A domain name (.com or other) is inlcuded in this fee. There are no other costs involved in setting up your blog.
Go to the FatCow website, and sign up. (Make sure you use this link. It's a link to the page with the discounted price.)
Click on Control Panel, if you're not already there.
Click on WordPress, then Install, then Complete.
Click Site URL.
Voila. You have a blog. Just click "Log In".