Although we aren't into self-promotion we are totally into information..so of course, members can post useful links.
You should know that there is indeed a learning curve with building and maintaining your own website or blog. BY NO MEANS is it rocket science, but there is a curve and you will need a book, course or guide 100%. It would be good to have as a reference... I can't comment on bravenet but it is likely to use a generic interface where you don't need to see any code..Since the code is not that hard, I recommend a basic book - maybe something from the dummies series..
Blogs are a good idea as well and are easier in general than a full on website (some, like Blogger are SUPER SIMPLE)....but not always as suitable for your needs.
I could easily give you some good tips on this if you like....there is just too much to write...feel free to PM me.
To see if your name is taken you can check with a registry - there are thousands of them. Here's just one.