Upgrading your armor and weapons is easy when you can get the stuff in loot drops. I will always do the side quests in conjunction with my story line quest-many times killing an enemy will count for both of them. I typically don't do Heroics unless I'm at least one level higher than what's recommended and I never solo Heroic +4. As for guilds, stay away from Fleet!! OMG! If you're serious about joining a guild, simply put up a post in general chat briefly stating what kind of guild you're looking for along with your level and class. I'm sure there are a lot of respectable players out there who would be interested in having someone of your caliber in their guild. I'm new to the game too and got lucky when I joined a guild that was just forming. Best move I've made yet.
Welcome to SWTOR and hope you have a great time here!
Nice to know.. personally i dont visit fleet much.. atleast not yet. To much ego there.
On the planets however i met some nice people already. Next time i log i will ask around for a nice guild to play with.
I dont have much time to play though since im a busy father of a 2 year old, and my job consumes serious time aswell.
Im pretty much a casual gamer. So i will be looking for a old farts guild or something.. lol..