Free Blogging Software
The engine that powers this blog is custom built. I wrote the code a couple of years ago because I couldn't find any thing out on the web that was flexible enough for my needs. And then along came WordPress, a PHP-based blogging tool that is flexible, customizable, and free of charge. I highly recommend this software for anyone that wants to set up a blog. Here are some highlights.
I'm currently setting up a blog using the WordPress engine for a friend. While it certainly functions out of the box, there are a myriad of templates available that I've been going through. A simple 3 column-design that supports Google AdSense ads is what I'm looking for. After some searching I've settled on the appropriately named AdSense Ready theme. And for those that like to customize and tweak things, all of the template HTML is modifiable via a web-based interface.
I've yet to think of anything that I'd want to with a blog that WordPress doesn't do. It allows you to post blog entries, enable/disable comments, ping blog services, and create link lists. It even allows you to create a hierarchy of non-blog pages should you wish to include documents that don't fit in to the traditional blog style.
Aside from design templates, there are also plug-ins that extend the functionality of WordPress. Of particular interest is a plug-in I found to make it easy to create photo galleries within a blog posting. I'm still evaluating two other plug-ins: one that checks spelling and one that generates a Google Sitemap.
To run WordPress on your own website you'll need to make sure your hosting company supports PHP. You'll also need the ability to make some directories writeable. Once set up, WordPress shouldn't require any further maintenance. Just blog away!