“What is there to do before you join a faction and how do you do it?”
Not a whole lot. You can wander around on the planet and visit message boards, but you really need to join a faction to get anything done and make any money. You might be able to find a speeder rental NPC in the city you started in, in which case you can travel around with a speeder, but there isn't much to do on planets aside from traveling, and the XP isn't very good.
“Is there a page with general instruction on what to do in the game and such?”