Own your own domain, find a Host / Server that will give you administrative control, and start searching for everything you can find that will increase your rankings. Having a website doesn't mean a thing if no one ever takes a look.
It's taken me over a year to basically teach myself how to build a website. I had components that came from my web host but I was on my own to do something with them and I had no clue. Finally I am beginning to see progress in Google. I first rated high with MSN, then within the past month Yahoo moved me within their top ten pages, so now I'm concentrating on Google. My site name is fine it's on page 1 but I'm out to capture the key words people normally type into their search.
There are great components free out there but you have to be able to access the top level of your website through the FTP. You may then be able to download component files onto your desktop and simply drag and drop them into a file for your site. I had been trying to add a site map generator to my site for months because I didn't have the information I needed to access the FTP of my site. Yesterday I was given the information I needed and WaLa, my generator is crawling my site at this moment and hopefully I'll have a Sitemap tonight.
Even without your own website, you'll notice that dedicated bloggers are gaining search engine recognition. A combination of both sure can't hurt.