New to wordpress, created a site in Joomla in the past, and am about to create another site using a Opensource CMS. I have found that WP is growing in support and popularity and has a GREAT collection of 3rd party plugins both free and paid.
Where I am stuck is the whole theme structure. Joomla themes are quite easy to customize from a module perspective, once you have a pre-built theme you can easily change the look of a site through the assignment of various module positions. However I find that a lot of WP themes are "set in structure" and once the structure is set, its not as simple to move items around like menus etc.
An example would be menus, in Joomla, once you have a theme with a module layout, you can assign one or more menus to any module on the template. In WP i find that the menus blocks are set as part of the templates core structure, and once set, you can't just assign new menus unless you hack the templates code or use a template framework like Page lines to add new menu blocks. A lot of templates seem to be rigid in that aspect. Like i said i'm a noob in WP, so this is just the impression i have.
Now I am unsure if i should:
1. go with a well know theme framework that is flexible and supported. One that i have played around with is Pagelines, with the drag and drop and configuration features built in it allows you to pretty much layout a site with some ease and gives the option of having multiple menus (at least 3 or 4 from the test site i built – not that this is a UI recommendation). However this costs $$ and then your stuck with a theme built on a 3rd party framework. Which scares me a little.
2. go with a blank WP theme framework such as "responsive" and then hack your way through it by both configuration settings and code hacking.
3. Purchase a Premium theme that matches as close to what you need as possible and utilize this (e.g. themeforest themes).
Wonder what people would recommend? Going for a framework like Pagelines may tie me into the framework long term and find myself dependent on subscriptions etc.
Creating one from scratch, obviously takes longer bu I learn how theme structures work and I wouldn't be so reliant on 3rd party providers. My only concern is what happens if WP updates, will i need to debug and fix theme bugs every time? or is this where you use a parent-child scenario?
Lastly if i purchase a 3rd party premium theme, I'm concerned about support dropping off.
Sorry the above maybe really nooby and I may be misunderstanding the structure of WP. I'm just not sure what the best option is. I don't mind building my own theme but i'd need somewhere to start and I'd want to create one in a way that wont break as soon as WP is updated as a CMS.
Looking for feedback and advise. :)