Six things to tell you about what I'd do differently OR the same:
1. Buy your name and pay for it for about 10 years AND use an email account you read. One you read often. I lost the URL babettefeasts.com because I read the first post about "we are renewing your URL. Expect a charge" email but MISSED the one saying the charge didn't go through because we had moved and our address didn't match the one on file. Life goes on, but I kinda hate that I lost the URL. Now I'm babfeasts.com, which is okay. But it really took the wind out of my sails for a bit.
2. Play with all the features. Just because they are there. It's worth having a look around.
3. Stick to it year round, not just during the blogathon. Every year, when I do blogathon (this is year three), I realize that the more you do it, the easier it is. I see ideas everywhere, I write them down and I really have fun with it. My blog is in my mind...it's worth it to blog often.
4. Ignore any negative comments. I haven't ever gotten many (my blog is not exactly controversial), but when I have, it's felt as if I insulted someone. But the truth it, I haven't...I just get hung up about wanting everyone to like me. That's just silly. Delete the comment and move on.
5. SHARE the blog. Post links places, encourage people to click over, make it easy for them to comment.
6. Read and comment on other blogs. You'll find readers and friends and good things to read all at once. You won't like every blog you read, and not everyone will like yours...not to worry. The blog world is a big one. We all fit.