Rabanastre has a healthy server, from my perspective at least.
You will enjoy playing Archer in FFXIV. It's very rewarding and sought after by SP parties and endgame activites.
Of the crafts, I would say the Leatherworking is one of the least common, and yet every class has a few pieces of Leather equip that it needs. Shoes and Pants. As Archer, even more so. Also, Carpentry will allow you to make and attach Materia to your own bows. That said, you can skip all forms of crafting with no problem if you chose. The repair NPC can now repair your gear to 99% at low cost. The best part of having a crafting class is to be able to attach your own Materia, which is mostly an end-game goal. By then you will have SL friends to assist in this.
I hope you get into an LS fairly quickly. Not having an LS icon, and joining a few parties and being polite, usually results in a player or two from the party asking you if you would like to join their LS. At the end of a party, ask if anyone would being willing to take on a new LS member. Shouldn't take long at all.
Grand Companies quests = Chocobos at Level 25+. You need to do the GC quests in all 3 cities up to the point where the GC leader gives a speech. This is a great goal for new players, and the Chocobo does not disppoint.
If you are playing Archer you will want to get the Ferocity ability from leveling Lancer. I think you get this by level 10. Easy. It's a ATT+ ability that stacks with the Archer's ATT+ ability, Raging Strike.
Another good one for soloing is Second Wind, a Pugilist ability , also obtained by level 10, that let's you self heal every minute or so.
Good Luck. Hope you enjoy.