I'm trying to get a blog rolling to have an outlet for some of my nonwork writing, with an eye towards making it a portfolio of sorts that I can use to move toward magazine-style work in the future. Getting started seems a little daunting. A number of people have recommended TypePad to me as a solid platform for hosting, and Movable Type as a pretty intuitive publishing tool. I've got some knowledge of HTML etc., and though I wish to be able to finetune my page's design I'm also not going to mess around with Flash or anything real hardcore. Are the above programs the best way for me to go? I've already ruled out Blogger, which seems clunky to me. I'm willing to spend some money to do this right.
Gothamist is run on Movable Type, and we think it's a great platform, but in order to get it set up and to do some of the customizations, you need to have a basic knowledge of some of the back end parts of blog publishing software. It can be difficult to install if you don't have a basic understanding of things like cgi. Also, you'd host the program, so you'd have to pay for webspace and do all the installation yourself. Although, it is a surprisingly versatile program, and would definitely be useful for what you want to do.
That said, Typepad is probably a better option. It runs on the same technology (made by the same people that put together Movable Type) but is designed for people with less technical knowledge. It's still customizable and is pretty user friendly. We don't have a lot of personal experience with Typepad, so we can't tell you much more than what we've heard, and it sounds like a good program.
We'll open this question up for the masses, though, too, since so many of our readers are also bloggers. Do you guys have any thoughts?