Before we begin let me start by saying rooting is not the end all solution, rooting does void your warranty and the results of adding roms can cause issues with your device.
things you should do before rooting:
1) make sure you are familiar with your device and have had it for a bit. This will allow you to assess if a problem is because of the rom or the device.
2) Read, Read, Read, and ask questions. I rarely jump into a rom because it is "HOT". I will wait a few days and see if people are having problems with a particular rom. If 20/25 people are having issues with email because of the rom then I will probably have that same problem.
3) Immediately after you root Make a nandroid back up. This is important because you need to be able to go back if something goes wrong or if you just dont like the rom.
I will begin starting with the next post