The step from learning the rules to becoming a good player is pretty huge. Try taking one step at the time and feel your way forward. Chess is an amazing world filled with beauty and pain. If a passion awakens within you, then you will be hungry for more and there are tons of resources available both online and offline to guide your way to improved skills. Get a decent beginner's book, that is one possible starting point. Visit the local library and play over the board with people, or just watch for starters.
Chess is more than winning and losing. It is about human interaction, building new bonds, finding something in common. Chess really connects people. I guess what I am trying to say is that the over the board experience, meeting friends and sharing the passion for chess is a huge part of it. Don't just be at the computer and don't restrict yourself to online chess. I think that online chess is just an unfortunate trade-off that has to be done in order to save time in our everyday busy life. At least in the beginning, chess can and should be an over the board experience. With a real chess board in front of you and a nice book in hand.