1. Try Before You Buy! If you can, put your hands on the equipment, test out free trials and find out if you and the equipment or software can work and play well together. For example, some people are Mac people and others are PC people. I've worked on both and prefer PCs. That automatically expands or limits my choices on things. It's the same with camcorders. Does it fit in your hands well? Are the controls laid out right for you? Do you have or need a tripod? Hang on to your receipts and know what the return procedures are so you aren't stuck with a lemon.
2. Camcorders. There are so many out there it's crazy! For YouTube videos, you don't need to spend a lot of money. There are good little cameras that will work well for $100-$200 or close to it. But make sure your computer has all the inputs and horsepower to process the video footage. No one likes to get home only to find out you don't have some little "thingy" - or worse the right kind of computer processor. Ouch!
Invest with the future in mind. If you plan to do more than talking head videos down the road, then get something that you can grow into. For example, sound is really important. The camcorder's built-in mic might work for now, but will you need to have more professional audio later? Does the camera have external mic jacks?
I've used Canon and Panasonic Mini DV camcorders for years and have had great luck. But now you can find great tapeless HD camcorders under $1000 now and worth a look. I often read or watch product reviews from Cnet.com
I tried different programs and came to love Sony Vegas. I was using Vegas when it was a Sonic Foundry product back in 2002 and haven't changed. I use the top of the line Pro Series, but Sony has several versions that are very feature rich and worth a look. I think they all come with free trial versions.
What's more important that video quality is video content. You could have the most amazing looking video, but if it lacks quality content (funny, original or helpful) then your video may not get many views. But it never hurts to make your video look as good as you can. Easy to use equipment and software will make it an enjoyable process too!