Blogger, Google's hosted blogging platform, offers what is probably the cheapest cost of entry into blogging. As in zero. Free blog hosting, and you can still make money from it (although let's face it, very few people really make that much from their blogs.)
Really big blogs may eventually move off to other platforms, like WordPress orMoveable Type, where they have more control over options and ad networks.
Big blogs like to be hosted on these separate platforms because they have more control. Those big hosting platforms still come at a cost, so you better be making more money than you're spending in order to use one.
There's nothing stopping you from starting out on Blogger and taking advantage offree. You're not going to become the next Internet sensation overnight, so you don't need to spend all your money on hosting fees. Your archived blog posts can be moved wherever you need to move them when you strike it big. Your feed can transfer, too. The barrier that holds a lot of people back from starting a blog on Blogger is actually another misconception. I've heard many people tell me they didn't want to use the platform because they knew Blogger didn't let you use your own URL.
Blogger has allowed custom URLs for quite some time, and they currently integrate with Google Domains for easy domain registration as you create your blog.
A custom URL with Blogger is $12, and you don't have to put any ads on your site. If you do put ads there, they're ads you profit from.
If you register your blog from scratch today, you'll go through a dialog that asks if you'd like to set up a domain. If you're editing an existing blog, go into Settings: Basic and choose +Add a custom domain.
You can add either add an existing domain you've already registered or register a new domain right on the spot. This is really the better option. It only costs $12 and is pretty easy. Payment goes through Google Play.
There you have it. Free hosting, ads that potentially make you money (if you want to show them at all), and cheap domain registration. All this makes Blogger very appealing to the savvy new blogger.
Blogger used to force your blog to display a Blogger Navbar that united all Blogger blogs. You could remove it with a few settings tweaks, but the navbar no longer displays on Blogger. You can choose between several default templates, or you canupload your own template.
Blogger is not as popular as a platform as WordPress, so there aren't as many options, but you'll still find a large variety of both free and paid templates available for customizing a blog's appearance.
You can further customize your blog with gadgets (the equivalent of WordPress widgets). Google offers a large selection of gadgets, and if you have the skills, you can create and upload your own gadgets.