FreeWebs, which provides blog-creation software and hosting, has raised $11 million in a first round of venture capital from two East Coast venture firms, according to VentureWire.

The cash gives FreeWebs serious funding to do battle against other major blogging platforms such as WordPress, Six Apart (owner of Typepad, Movable Type, LiveJournal) and Blogger (owned by Google). We’ve written about Movable Type’s $12 million round, and the acquisitions it has been making. The FreeWebs funding also comes at a time when blogging software and hosting has become a commodity, with Microsoft, Yahoo and other big buys moving into the area. An early leader like FreeWebs, which only has 20 or so employees, needs to beef up if it is going to keep its lead.

The FreeWebs money comes from venture capital from Baltimore-based Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Alexandria, Va.-based Columbia Capital, which are mentioned on the company’s Web site. But the funding amount was reported first by VentureWire today (sub required).

The company, which has grown quietly over the past several years into a major blog hosting platform claiming 11 million users, had been visiting various venture capital firms, including out here in Silicon Valley.

In May, the company had picked up $1 million bridge loan from a former Google employee Aydin Senkut, Saba Software founder Bobby Yazdani, and Amidzad, the venture firm started by the rug merchant guys in Palo Alto.

FreeWebs is already profitable (making money from advertising and support), so it will be one to watch. It is based in Silver Springs, Md., but in May moved out here to open an office at the blessed location of 165 University in Palo Alto (which housed PayPal and Google).