I don't want to do too many guild pieces, but this one's always a hot topic. Books could be written on what not to do, but I'll try to keep this blog very short.
1. Before you even make your guild, ask yourself this: what am I doing different than other guilds? If you can't answer that, please stop and check your local guild listings. Unless it's a very small game, most gamers know that the biggest differences between new guilds are time zones and progress. Guild leaders tend to make all of the decisions, including choosing officers. All guilds claim to be "fun," few admit that they need more skilled players, and I've yet to hear a guild admit "We're here for loot and loot only- don't expect any guild events beyond this." To be fair, some multi-gaming guilds are the same, but they have established reputations. People know who they are and what they're about. If you're just starting out, you don't have this advantage, so figure out what makes you shine and build on that.
2. Guild site. Make it. Use it. Make others apply on it. Make others use it. I don't know a good team player these days that will join random guilds, especially ones lacking a guild site. I know one gaming vet that does, and he'll swear to the moon how much of a team player is... until he's bored with the game and ninja-cancel his account without a word. He's also the guy that won't fill out an application, will demand recruiter rank, take just about anyone and everyone, and in general, make your guild a mess and leave it for you to fix.
I'll bet a lot of guilds in Sony MMOs got hit hard with their ~month of down time, especially if there wasn't any out of game tool to keep people connected. This also essentially happens to friend guilds during "lulls" in the game: you raided, conquered, and you're waiting for the next patch. If there's nothing out of game to keep up the lines of communication, the guild dies and you'll be recruiting all over again come patch day, if not making yet another guild to distance yourself from the death of the old one. Get it right the first time so, much like the older guilds, you can at least rely on guild history as a recruitment tool and retainment device.
3. I can't press this enough: choose your guild name carefully! They don't all need to be original, but much educated readers looking at bad romance novels, players can smell trite a mile away. Your name alone can attract or drive off potential players. Check http://www.nickyee.com/python/guildname/generator.py first. If your guild name popped up there, don't use it. There's probably 30+ other ones, 90% of which you probably don't want to be associated with. Also hit refresh a few times. There's certain words you'll notice that appear in almost every refresh hit (this could also reach article length, but I'll just point out some choice cliches): Dark/black, death/dead, killers/assassins/ninjas/pirates, holy/order/heroes, chaos/cult, knights/templars/lords, horde/alliance/militia. You can still use these words in your guild name, but be aware that they carry a stereo-type. Personally, I'd be looking at a guild called "Belly of the Whale" faster than "Black Ninja Order" just because I'd expect the latter to be filled with basement dwelling zerglings (not that they don't have their uses ;P ), while the former probably has some sweet story behind it.
Again, this is supposed to be a short and sweet summary of starting a guild. If you read this, nodded, and said "You forgot XYZ," you probably didn't need this ;P If this gave you some insight, great! Your odds of guild survival shot up at least 20%, depending on the size of your server/game.