I always start my saw, and allow it to run for a second or two, seems to stabilize and get up to speed. then slowly feed down through the work. hold, and release the switch. after the blade stops, I raise the saw.
This is, so far, the best answer for technique. If you're cutting dimensional lumber for a building project (i.e. 2x4s, etc.) then the technique typically is to start the saw, plunge it through the cut and cut it off after raising the blade to the upright position. That's fine for framing, but not for fine woodworking.
As stated, get the blade moving before you ease it in to the work piece and then, as you slowly lower it through the cut, release the trigger and do not raise the blade until after it stops and you have moved the work piece away from the blade.
Doing it this way prevents the blade from making any secondary contact with the piece you are trying to keep and you end up with far better results. Practice the technique before you get to your project pieces.
Oh, the part about a good, quality blade, will always hold true as well! The right blade for the job and, yes, you get what you pay for. Resist the temptation to buy a HF blade for $5 over a $15 blade from Home Depot. The extra $10 or so is worth it! There are many articles written on blade selection. Go with the best you can afford and you'll see what we're talking about is true, we're not just snobs who think the tools we choose are best over everything else!
One last thing, you can have carbide blade tips replaced or sharpened in most cases, cheaper than buying a new blade...just saying.