Hi Arwen,I don't really worry too much about dividends. I look at growth factors mostly and then try and buy when the general market is sold off. This gives me a "relatively" cheap price. Some stocks will naturally have higher p/e's given their own story and sector.
I have lost money in the past buying semis(WFR,SIGM) at the wrong point in their cycle. Semis are also subject to too much competition. Now I'm staying away from them as well as refiners and other cyclical businesses. I try to find good management in businesses that aren't too cyclical. Just trying to keep my turnover low.
Most important thing for me is to establish as low a cost basis as possible to lock in gains. If you pay too much, the odds are against you in the long run. Since I'm not a trader, this is important.