wpkelley41, I think you have it all wrong. At the beginning of the game the most important thing is to explore & colonize planets before any other race does. It is almost mandatory that you research Intergalactic Travel first. That will immediately add +1 to the speed of all your ships. You must get there first. This also helps with your survey ship investigating anomalies.
In my games I have the first 6 techs scripted out ahead of time, to get me started off on the right track. Try researching these, in the order listed, to see if you get off to a good start. Here they are...
1. Interstellar Travel
2. Xeno Commerce
3. Xeno Industrialization
4. Universal Translator
5. Diplomatic Specialization
Many people, including myself, make their home planet a production planet. This allows you to to build ships quickly (Constructors, Colony ships).
I make the 2nd planet (Mars) a research planet. It is very important that you don't fall behind in research. If you're strong in research it improves your trading position.
The third planet colonized should be an Economy planet. If you don't do this quickly, you will start to have money problems.
I build the rest of the planets based on what the planet has to offer, but I'm always looking to make research planets.
Here are a few general tips...
1. On every new colony, I always start with 2 factories. Whatever you want to do with any colony will be facilitated by these factories.
2. Only build shipyards on production planets. Shipyards require production, and it is a natural combination with production planets. It is usually a waste on any other type of colony. Always build a shipyard as the first item on a production planet. That way it will build in 1 turn.
3. There are many planet types that you can create. Here is the list that I use..
P - Production
R - Research
W - Wealth
I - Influence
M - Mixed
The one-letter designations I append after the planet name (i.e., Earth - P). This way it's easy to see what each planet does, and it's easy to find them to make future additions.
4. All things being equal, I'm always looking to build Research planets if possible. You can never have enough research.
5. All my original planets are specialized with P,R, or W. Later in the game, conquered planets may become I & M planets. If a conquered planet is mostly utilized with a mix of tile types, I leave these mostly as they are and set them as 'Mixed.'
6. Industrial planets can easily manufacture tiles for themselves. Research & Wealth planets usually need help to get up to speed, so these are good tiles to purchase to help the colony get up to speed.