what would make my website show up ok in live view but not when i view it as a browser?
A lot of factors could be at work.
1. .css/.js/image files not uploaded, or uploaded to the wrong location
2. File names on server don't exactly match links (servers are CaSe SeNSiTiVe, your local OS is not)
3. Files in your page are using absolute links to your hard drive (your local site definition is not set up correctly)
4. Live View is a "mostly there" Webkit browser, errors in your code may be causing a display problem in non-webkit browsers like IE, Firefox or Opera. Visit http://validator.w3.org to get a list of html errors to clear them out
There are other reasons, but those are the most common.
the html shows up in browser but looks as if it has no style sheet but is ok in live view...
My guess is your path to the external CSS file is not correctly mapped to your site folder. Most likely it is mapped to a file:// on your hard drive.
This happens when the site is not properly defined in DW. See screenshot.