Seeking Recommendation on a WordPress General Purpose Theme or Genesis?

All EE WordPress experts,

I have an existing website at http://www.autosubrogate.com that was created with a website creation tool called Trellix on Earthlink web hosting service. I want to replace it with a WordPress created website. Earthlink provides WordPress with MySQL as an installable option, which I have already done, along with others like Joomla or EasySiteOptimizer. I want to continue using Earthlink. I plan to retain most of the content now on http://www.autosubrogate.com. Pretty much page for page with some additional pages that I have in mind. The pages will just look more professional. My motivation is that I want to make the website look more professional, and I want to add blog functionality. I want all of my blog posts listed in a table on a single web page with selectable by drop down list of categories including "All" and "General"; Date of posts as YYYY-MM-DD; and the post titles. I want users to be able to "post" and "comment" with my approval. I want users to be able to double click the title or date and have the post with comments open up in another browser tab. Of course I will be moderating the posts and comments. At a local WordPress user group meeting somebody suggested that I just use Genesis. If that really is my best option, I'll use it. I don't plan to build websites for anybody else but myself. I know that Genesis is a great tool for those who make a living by building websites for others. But I suspect it may be overkill for what I want to do. I visited their website and saw where I could get started with Genesis for just $59. But what else will I have to buy from them at higher prices? I have looked at a general purpose theme named The7 from ThemeForest.net which was suggested to me by an instructor at a local junior college continuing education class I took who loves it. As the blog posts age I would I would like to be able to move them into an Archive by the year. Those wanting to review archived posts would click the year they are interested in to get a list of all posts for that year in a table like the one described above. The display and interaction with the posts and comments would be the same as described above except further comments might be blocked. I haven't decided yet about allowing comments on archived posts.

It would be great if I could get started with what I really need to do the job. I want to avoid having to discard some components because I bought the wrong thing. I want what I want without compromise. That is one reason I am doing this myself. Plus I'll be performing all the maintenance. Of course I would like to know the least amount about WordPress possible because I am really a client-server kind of guy -- not a web kind of guy. I am also one of those kind of guys that will do whatever it takes to make my project a success as long as I don't have to kill anybody. That is my only limitation.

Most of the themes that I have looked at thus far have a fixed number of columns -- usually from one to four. I want to have a variable number of columns depending on the web page I am composing. I want optional left and right side bars of developer defined width; A horizontal drop down menu at the top with sub-menus expanding to the side as needed under a banner; a footer that is the same on all web pages. I am aware that I get only one theme for the whole website so it better be a good one. Is all that too much to ask for? I hope not. Suggestions for useful plug-ins are welcome. I expect to have Yoast's SEO plug-in at a minimum. Links to useful articles or videos are also welcome as an answer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my dream sheet.

Ted Palmer
Ted PalmerInformation Technology ConsultantAsked:
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Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
I would not spend the money on a theme framework or a paid theme from Themeforest.

Theme frameworks, especially Thesis and Genesis, are very advanced tools meant for people with experience building WordPress themes and extensive knowledge of WordPress functions, the Loop, and templating behavior.  If you have no knowledge of theming in WordPress at all, you will not be able to take full advantage of the framework and its features and will only get frustrated.  

I would absolutely stay away from ThemeForest and themes for sale there.  They are of highly variable quality and ThemeForest does not always enforce coding standards on the submissions.  Many, many of themes there look okay in the store but don't configure out the same way once you download it.  Even worse, the lack of coding standards means those themes are more likely to have security holes in them.  

I would instead spend time and effort in the WordPress theme directory: https://wordpress.org/themes/ until you find something that looks more or less like what you want your final site to look like and then spend the additional time and effort learning how to customize that theme (use a Child Theme!) until you are happy.  Most of your dream list is either functionality built into WordPress or can be added via a plugin.

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Ted PalmerInformation Technology ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Jason,

Thank you for your comment. You are not the first person I have encountered to have a negative assessment of Themeforest. I will begin by following your advice in the morning. It's getting late here in St. Louis.

Ted Palmer
Ted PalmerInformation Technology ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank you Jason for the good advice.

I followed your advice and I have chosen "Weaver Xtreme" theme.

I know that I have visited WordPress.org before. But I had forgotten the feature selection matrix of check boxes to filter out all but what I wanted. I got it down to six themes from which to choose. I am looking forward to getting started with this one.

Ted Palmer
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.Commented:
Good luck, Ted.
Ted PalmerInformation Technology ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank you Jason. You do great work.
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