Have you ever wanted to customise your site’s menu? Maybe you want to change the order links appear, or change the link text. Or maybe just adding new pages to your menu.
The WordPress menu screen is actually simple to use, but many people take one look at it and then back away quickly, unsure of how to use it and afraid of messing things up.
If that sounds like you, today’s post is for you. I’ll show you all you need to know about creating and editing menus.
Here’s your quick and easy guide to using the WordPress menus screen.
Creating a new menu
If you need to create a new menu, all you need to do is click the ‘create a new menu’ link at the top of the screen.
Give your menu a name and click ‘Create Menu’. Make sure the name is something memorable in case you end up with multiple menus, to make it easier to figure out which is which. I like to name menus according to their function or location, like ‘Main Menu’ or ‘Footer Links’, things like that.
If you do have more than one menu on your site, make sure you’re editing the right one. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the screen to select which menu to edit.
Adding links to your menu
Whenever you create a new page you need to remember to add it to your site’s menu so that people can actually find it!
That’s really easy to do: simply check the box beside the page’s name and click ‘Add to Menu’. Drag it into position then save your changes and you’re done.
And you don’t have to just add pages to your menu. You can also add blog or shop categories and if your site has any custom post types (portfolios and products are common custom post types) you can use them too.
It’s good practice to keep your menu tidy as too many options can be overwhelming to your users.
You can keep your menus tidy by creating submenus. To create a submenu, just drag a page under another so that it’s indented. You can have more layers of submenu as well, like in this example:
Adding custom links or headings to your menu
You can also add custom links, so you could set a link to another site. For example, if you use a project management app you could create a client login link.
To do that, use the Custom Links panel. Enter the URL (web address) of the page you want to link to and then type in the text that should show on your menu, like ‘Client Login’. Then click ‘Add to Menu’.
If you want to group related pages together to create a submenu, without creating a whole new parent page, you can just add a new heading to your menu. This is a good idea if you have multiple pages about your products or services, but don’t want to create a whole new ‘Products’ or ‘Services’ page.
To do this, you still use the Custom Links panel, but in the URL field, just enter ‘#’. In the Link Text field enter the menu heading you want and click ‘Add to Menu’. Then drag your services pages under it to create your submenu. Using ‘#’ instead of an URL will make that menu heading text only, and when people click on it they won’t be taken anywhere.
Editing a menu item
WordPress automatically uses the page title as the link text on the menu. But if one of your pages has a long title, that’s going to screw up your menu layout.
For instance, ‘About’ or ‘About Me’ will look much better than ‘About Fiona Robertson Graphics’.
So to change the link text, just click the down arrow at the right side of your menu item so that you’re given customisation options.
Change the Navigation Label to the text you want to show on your menu and remember to save your changes.
Removing a menu item
If you want to delete a link from your menu, again click the down arrow at it’s right side. Then click the ‘Remove’ link at the bottom.
Adding your menu to your site
Many themes support more than one menu, so you’re not limited to just having one set of navigation links.
At the bottom of your menu, you can set where your menu should show. As you can see, this theme supports two menus, the main menu is set to the Header Menu, while there’s a Secondary Navigation Menu in the footer.
Just check the box to determine where your menu should go and remember to save your changes.
Even if your theme only supports one menu you can still create other menus for your site. You can then display them in widget areas, like your sidebar or footer, using the Custom Menu widget.
To do this, create and save your menu, then go to Appearance > Widgets.
Add the Custom Menu widget to your sidebar, then select which of your menus should appear there. Don’t forget to save your changes.
Having clear navigation on your site is so important so your readers can easily find their way around. Thankfully, with the menus screen, WordPress makes creating and editing menus easy.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful. If you’d like more WordPress tips and tutorials, check out my eBook, WP Superstar, which is packed with all my favourite time-saving tricks.
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