I started this wordpress.com blog in order to get an idea of how wordpress works and see how I like it.
After using wordpress.com for awhile I made the move to my own hosted wordpress blogs. WordPress.com is nice for getting a feel of wordpress. But, there are so many options that are not available until you have your own hosted wp site. So, I made the leap to my own sites.
I know there are other options such as Drupal, Joomla, etc., etc., etc. But one can not learn the ins and outs of everything. So at the moment I am concentrating on wordpress.org type sites for me and my clients that wish to go that direction.
When it comes to custom web design I still find notepad, html, and css the best way to go.