You know, I think it’s entirely up to personal preference.
You can always think to yourself, do I touch my ears often, do I wear large headphones a lot, is it the side I sleep on, etc. Those things could mean having a ring in your conch is annoying.
But you could always try it, have a ring put in by your piercer, and when you don’t like it, switch back to a post with a nice treaded end.
That’s a question better asked to the APP’s Safe Piercing people.
That said, DO NOT PIERCE YOURSELF.
You’d better ask the professionals over at the APP Safe Piercing blog.
If I were you, I’d direct very specific questions regarding healing time to the experts over at APP’s Safe Piercing tumblr.
You should start with the piercing you like best. There’s no real need to “test the waters”, the healing process should be the same for pretty much all cartilage ear piercings, just as the type of pain you’d have to expect.
I’ve seen some piercing shops who also have a webshop, but it’s a rarity.
If you can, buy Anatometal and Industrial Strength (and other quality manufacturers) through a physical piercing shop. Both manufacturers have a directory with the shops that carry their jewellery (here and here).
That being said, some people don’t live anywhere near a reputable shop. I, for one, know of only bad to mediocre shops with sub-par supplies (EXTERNALLY THREADED, UGH), and the one good shop within a three hour train journey has suddenly upped sticks and left. The only other shops I know to carry good stuff are in the next bleedin’ country.
So, I’ve got to resort to ordering online, too. Your best bet would be bodyartforms.com as they deal pretty much directly with the manufacturers, and they can order custom pieces for you (please keep in mind that those take longer, as they’re made especially). The only downside to their shop, is that they still stock acrylic, and it would be better if people were stopped from putting such toxic waste in their ears.
The best thing to do is leave it alone as much as possible. It’s like they say about scabs; the more you scratch at it…
Just clean it the way your piercer’s adviced you to clean it, and otherwise leave it be. Piercings in cartilage are a different ball game than piercings in soft tissue, but none of them should be jostled. Most produce this largely clear stuff that turns sort of crusty, especially when they’ve just been done, and if there’s any excess around the piercing, it should come off with your prescribed, gentle cleaning, but it’s okay if some of it’s left, as it’s a natural reaction your body has to wounds, aside from bleeding.
Just let it be, fingers off as much as you can, cleaning as prescribed, and if in doubt, return to your piercer. Good luck & enjoy :)