This is the first question you want to ask yourself, What do I want to do with my website? What is the main subject.
Take as an example WhatDayOfTheWeek.com the only purpose for this website is to show the current day of the week.
Here is another example DoWebsitesNeedToLookExactly....com.
Their is minimal requirements to run a Single Purpose Website. You will need basic knowledge of HTML (or any WYSIWYG application like Open-Office.org) and almost any free web host.
A Journal or Blog is has content that is updated on a regular bases.
The famous Kottke.org is an example of content that is updated on a daily bases.
Their are many Open Source blogging software avaliable on the web.
To run most blogging software you will require a dynamic language and a database (jekyll only requires it on your workstation). One nice thing is that most blogging software have large communities for support and extensions and are well documented.
Be ware of blogging software that allows for large customisations, like WordPress each plugin could double the amount of queries run on your database.
These can be Technical documents, white papers, agenda items, meeting notes, etc. One thing to keep in mind when looking for a sutable software is that searching is extremly important.
Now that you found a suitable software you should figure out where to host your website.
NearlyFreeSpeech is awsome.