We had faced these same questions, and found the whole process perplexing. Finally, we decided to simply to make the plunge and select one. We asked our cable provider for there advice. They recommended Hostway.
We called them and were impressed by the amount of time they spent answering our questions and provided us with an personal contact to help us through the setup process. We launched our site, Lottery Power Picks, in September 2006 and have more than pleased with there service. Below is a link to there site.
So, if you want to launch your own website, visit Hostway by clicking on their banner. Stop wondering who to choose and go with Hostway. We highly recommend them. You won't be disappointed.