Apparently my 2 and a half years of band experience gets overlooked.
Anyway. The best advice I can give is this:
Don't record until you're ready. REALLY ready. Just don't. Even if you think you are, wait like 6 months and then rethink it again.
The biggest mistake you can make is putting a lot of time and energy into something for a crap result. My band learned this the hard way. My friend who had a about twice as much time of experience as me at the time (summer of 2005) forewarned me with the same advice I'm giving you now. And at that time, my band had 8 songs and played almost a half dozen live shows. We didn't listen. We sounded good so we figured we should get some recordings done. It was a bad move. If we would've waited a few more months, it would've turned out better, but the recording's suffered cause we weren't so sure of ourselves at the time. Especially if you're doing it yourslef... which if you are (like we did), get a really good editing program (I suggest CoolEdit Pro) and find someone who actually knows what they're doing (outside of the band) to help you out. Even if you read the manual 10 times, believe me, you should seek at least somewhat proffesional help.
That's my best advice for the moment.