Ok, From here on out, I will be talking primarily about mining & blacksmithing. I will try to point out similarities to other professions as things come up, but those will only be happenstance...
The Choice is Made. You paid you copper pieces, and now are an apprentice miner. What now?
Picking a second, Primary Profession
Depending on your preferences, there are three, possibly four, other professions that would compliment mining:
- Blacksmithing - uses the ore you mine as well as the stone and most of the gems you find
- Engineering - same as blacksmithing
- Leatherworking - it's another "gathering" profession, and can easily be done alongside mining
- Jewelcrafting - it uses the gems you find, but has no use for the metals or stone.
What you chose is up to you...
Herbcraft is another good gathering profession that might seem complimentary at first, but it can interfere with mining. This is due to one reason: both use the same resource: the "find" function of your minimap on your user interface (your "UI")
The find function can find EITHER minerals OR herbs (or old quests, or undead, or whatever you have spec'ed) but it can only show one thing at a time. If you are hunting one farmable, you can't be finding the other. (well, at least not with the help of the UI)
If all you are doing is farming (and not questing), it's actually not that bad in that you look for minerals on one "lap" of an area, then change to herbs for your next "lap". By the time you finish your second lap, the minerals from your first lap should have respawned, and you can keep running laps, getting more & more materials (aka "mats").
Overall though, in a "normal" usage, where you will quest some, farm a bit, and just run around a lot, it's best not to have herbalism & mining together.
One thing I STRONGLY recommend is installing the add-on called "Gatherer" LINKY (also, the included database is needed) It basically remembers where most of the mineral (and plants & treasure chests) are, and displays them on your mini-map as well as your world map.
It's not 100% complete, as I have found a few that aren't listed, and the add-on doesn't PREDICT what will be at a given place, only what has been seen there before. (Quite often mineral nodes don't stay the same. One time will produce silver, and the next may be tin, with or without gems) But the usefulness in helping you find your loot is invaluable.
Another great resource if you are so inclined, is the thenoobschool.com power levelling guide: LINKY Even if you aren't looking to go from level zero to level 400 in a week, it has invaluable tips, maps and suggestions. They also include a step by step guide (5 or 6 steps) for installing Gatherer.
Let's Get Digging!