There are a lot of options when it comes to residing your house. You should do a lot of research before making a decision on the type of siding and also whether to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Some types of siding, like vinyl (the most popular), are not nearly as involved as say brick, but still require a good amount of know-how to get the job done right.
Since the siding takes such a beating from the weather, it must be done right or water can get through to the boards behind the siding and can cause all kinds of damage. Since you cannot see behind the siding, the damage tends to be severe before it is discovered.
A proper installation reduces the odds of this considerably. There is a site that goes through all the different types if siding and looks at each from the perspective of cost, complexity of installation, and a description of what the siding is made of and other characteristics of each different type. The site is Siding Richmond Va and is very thorough. You can find information on everything related to siding.