I started with zoas and mushrooms.
Mushrooms are a good indicator of light. If they stand up, that means they aren't getting enough. Healthy mushrooms should lay flat out on the rock they are attached too. Color is no indication of health though. That pretty much goes for any coral. Coral only indicates the amount of zooxanthellae present. More zooxanthellae will make the coral brown in color.
Zoas can be a good indicator of too much light. If the polyps don't open, then lights could be too bright. But that would be some really strong lights, like light that is good for picky sps
I think it's best to start with coral that are photosynthetic and won't rely on feeding too much. In a new tank you want to be careful when learning to adjust and maintain parameters.
After zoas and mushrooms I went with a torch coral which adds some good movement. Torches and hammers are pretty hardy
hope that helps!
Best of luck!