Hi. I hope this is the appropriate place to ask for input. I couldn't find another category that seemed to fit.
I have been using wordpress for over a year and need some advice on where to go next. I've created a child of the Oxygen theme, which I'm happy with for now. My website, if you want to look, is http://www.sorrentostoneware.ca. I feel I've got a decent start with wordpress, but I want to go further.
As a beginner I bounce around from tutorial to tutorial, and book to book trying to learn as much as I can. However, I'm beginning to find this frustrating because the learning is so piecemeal, plus, there seems to be very many ways of doing things in wordpress. I look at themes in the repository and find they can get pretty complicated when I go through the template files trying to figure out how they're organized, even just to do some simple css styling. I do my explorations on a localhost, wampserver, so I'm willing to roll up my sleeves to some extent. In the past I have coded a site in html and css, but don't know php.
What I'm looking for is a place to call home in the wp solar system, one that will support me in learning over the long haul, and that uses wordpress best practices.
I was toying with building my own theme, but realize I don't actually have what it takes to become a theme developer, even with underscores 1000 hour head start. I work full time, but I have a couple hours a night that I want to put into learning how to do better SEO, Db backup, caching, Google analytics, security and all those sorts of site maintenance practices.
I am also looking for another theme, which I am willing to be patient about. I want a theme that has a good support community behind it, so when I want to do some customizations (like add dynamic sidebar/widget areas, or move a menu, or style something) I will have someone to ask specific questions about the template modification, code issues, functions.php and those kinds of things. I want to work from a code base that isn't complicated, and that I can begin to understand over time. If underscores were a theme, and had a community around it, that would be perfect.
I guess my problem is, I don't know enough code to know what I'm looking for. But, I do know that I need some sage advice from someone who's been there. Hope you can help.