It all depends on how the table is playing and wheather or not your in tune with it, as a general rule ( really general, it'll change depending on position, my chips, any callers chips, the flop, if its raining...... you get the idea! ) i would generally try the following:
If i were to flop say AK suited, i like that hand so i'll bet 3 times the BB, it folded round to me in mid position, say i get one caller and i'm to act first then the flop brings 943 rainbow. I would probably bet 4 BB ( a little more than the raise i made ) this says " i have something" or at least it should!
The next bits too hard to put down exactly, you need to interpret the callers action, fold, call or raise ( easiest being a fold obviously). Then use that along with your table knowledge to decide what comes next.
e.g. the guy that calls has been really loose all game, its a small stakes re-buy tourney and he had been happy to buy-in a couple of times already. i'd then be inclined to see the turn, you know if you push all-in he'll probably call ( doesn't matter if he has to re-buy again, not to him anyway ), then pray you hit. If the next card pairs you up, then go all-in, if not bet or check. Everyone plays their own game, you'll find yours.
The biggest lesson i have learnt is that you are allowed to fold in poker, regardless on how great your hole cards are, the guy on the BB who checks with 83 offsuit is KING when the flop comes 883!
I've been playing a while and i still get done, "takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master".