Just a reminder. You have to deal with meta data etc if you want your site to be SEO
The actual answer is
we have two half's of a brain, a heart and a soul(if you have not sold yours yet, i did, for bus fare,then promptly bought a beer and walked home)
as for finding what works, just keep trying till you hit the nail on the head
Normality is a perseption based on someone else's jaded opinion.
I dont recommend pirating themes, but you can find a good free one, if you really search for it!
If you really want simple, just use an HTML framework like bootstrap or w3shools. I guess it requires a little knoweldge in CSS.. w3schools.com is a great place to get started working with html.
Forgive me if I won't deal with the specifics of the thread as I'll only try to address the question in the title: 'Why is Simplicity So Difficult?'
Abstract things are deceivingly complex. The more layer of abstraction they are, the more their complexity increases. Only those who master that complexity can have access to simplicity. That's why (I think) SIMPLICITY IS DIFFICULT. To enjoy it means to master the craft.
A moment of introspection :-)