Blogging has exploded. Every day 1,500-3,000 new bloggers join the Internet. That's a staggering number of new voices, new opinions, and new experiences. You can join these bloggers ? all it takes is some software and something to say. We've written this book to help you quickly get up and running with the software.

There are many different choices for blogging software, with names running the gamut from the obvious (Blogger) to the literary (Movable Type) to the bizarre (Blosxom). Everyone who blogs has an opinion about the software they use and often about software they don't use. This book tries to take a balanced look at some representative blogging tools and to show you how to use them to produce a unique blog worthy of your thoughts.

We start by defining a blog and how the various blogging tools differ in features, price, and ease of use. The first chapter will help you find a blogging system. The second chapter surveys some programs that can make posting and maintaining a blog easier, regardless of which tool you choose.

The rest of the book is devoted to the tools. For each tool, we show you how to install and configure it, post to and maintain your blog, customize your blog's appearance, syndicate stories with other blogs, and customize and manage your archive of old posts.

Generally, it takes two chapters to explain all the functions of each tool. Some products might have very simple posting maintenance but complex templates, or have simple installation but complex syndication. For this reason, the division of material between the introductory and the advanced chapters isn't consistent from product to product.

Finally, we end with advice from experienced bloggers; what to do, what not to do, and how blogging has changed people. We don't provide much information on the philosophy and sociology of blogging ? we don't address the question "Is Blogging Journalism?", nor do we try to define just what a warblogger is. Our main objective is to help you select a blog system and get it up and running as soon as possible.