Decide on a Site Visibility setting – you may want to limit it to registered users of the site until you are ready to go live.
Widgets & Comments
Under Appearance, Widgets, open Header Right. If there are any widgets in this area, remove them. Footer 2 is a good place to put a Custom Menu (see Appearance, Widgets) to create a footer menu. Until we fix the error, you have to put something in Footer 1 in order to use Footer 2. A search widget or image widget works well.
Appearance, Comments – decide if you want to allow comments on any areas of your site. If you decide to allow comments you MUST activate Akismet . Select Jetpack and then Akismet under it in the sidebar. You will need to go to the Akismet site to get a membership, but you can get a free one.
Go to Plugins and decide which plugins you want to use. Configure those that need configuration. Visit Settings and check each plugin, and go through the settings carefully. Also go to JetPack and become familiar with those Plugins – most of them we recommend you keep. Mobile Theme you don’t need. You may not need: Publicize and Sharing (unless you use Social Media) or Post by Email (if you want to allow editing staff to create posts by email).
Some plugins such as Formidable (Forms), ZotPress, and Genesis have their own menu items under Dashboard, so check these settings as well.
Initial Content and Categories
If you already know what your main menu is going to be, or at least some of it, you can start creating content now. Go to Pages, Add New and add a page for each menu item. These can be placeholders if you don’t have the final content yet. Don’t forget the Home page (unless this is a blog site and you wish to have your latest post be on the home page).
Go to Posts, Categories and create at least one set of Categories to divide up your content. You’ll generally have one category for each menu item. These can be hierarchical if you have a complex site, but simple is good at first. These can be added later if you find you need them.
Create a real (or sample) Post with Post, Add New. While you’re there customize a few thing for easier use later. Your right sidebar can be organized the way you like. We recommend this order for those widgets: Publish, Categories, Tags, Featured Image. Just grab the title bar with your mouse and move into position. Unless you’re doing a scholastic site you may want to collapse ZotPress and Editorial MetaData by pressing the little arrow at the right side of those title bars.
[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”11958362″ entryid=”1_xv715lqp” width=”260″ height=”228″ align=”right” /] Add some images or Video using the Add Media and Kaltura (colorful starburst) buttons. See more information about Videos in WordPress or Accessible Videos.
Expand the editing tool bar to see all the tools
Now write your Post and don’t forget to Categorize it before selecting Publish.
Menus and Appearance
Now select Appearance, Customize.
Set site title and tagline, and your header image, background image if you like (subtlepatterns.com has nice ones). Under Navigation, put your main menu in the Primary Navigation Menu. Don’t use the Secondary Menu, set it to “–Select–“.
For departments you probably want a Static Front Page. Set this to point to the home page you made earlier.
Set your final Site Visibility under Dashboard when you are ready to go live!