Minecraft is best played when you have a bunch of people playing with you, so this guide is going to help you do just that!
Advertising your server is relatively simple to do, but you do need to be careful on where you do it as advertising on the wrong sites could lead to your server being attacked or griefed. We never recommend advertising your site on any sites that are not Minecraft related.
One of the most popular ways to advertise a server is to have it listed on Minecraft server listing sites. These sites allow people to vote on your server and make it get listed higher up if your server is fun to play in. Some of those include the following:
Note that you'll need Votifier for some of these sites to enable the voting system (make sure to configure it with your server's IP and a port in the 8000-9000 range that isn't the default 8192 or it may not work): http://dev.bukkit.org/bukkit-plugins/votifier/
Another method is to advertise through forums such as:
This guide will just get you started with advertising. There are certainly other more creative ways to do so, but that will require some research on your end by reading forums, etc.
Before you make your server public and advertise it, it is always recommended to take a few precautions with your server.
1. Always make backups of your server regularly AND download copies of them to your computer for long term storage. Griefing is a real thing and can happen at any time.
2. If you will be using plugins on your server, make sure to install and configure a permissions plugin such as PermissionsEX to disallow users from using commands they shouldn't: http://dev.bukkit.org/bukkit-plugins/permissionsex/
There are lots of guides and tutorials to PermissionsEx on forums, YouTube, etc, so check up on those to learn how to use it.
3. Be nice to your players and don't abuse them! This is how attacks and griefing start and may ruin your entire world and cause other players to quit playing on your server.
That's all there is to it! All of thse methods take time and effort to grow your community, but the rewards are totally worth it when you get to manage your own community to provide fun for others around the world!