Menus are quite possibly the most important structural element of your website. They provide the framework that can make your website easy or difficult to navigate so it’s important to have the right elements on your menu to keep visitors at your website for as long as possible.
A couple of things to know first up:
- WordPress menus use the Pages, Posts and Categories that have been created in your website. You must create these before trying to build a menu or you will have nothing to build the menu with. So, if you haven’t got any Pages, Posts or Categories yet, go and create those then come back to this post.
- All WordPress themes will have at least one menu. It usually runs across the top of the website, under the logo. Sometimes it will run down the side of the website. Be aware that some themes have two menu locations instead of only one. These will normally have the standard menu under the logo but will also have a menu in another location. At the very top of the page above the logo or at the bottom of the page near the footer section are common second locations. Check how many menu locations you have in your theme by clicking the Manage Locations tab at the top of the menus page, then think about what items you would like in each location.
To find the Menus page go to Appearance>Menus. The page should open on the Edit Menus tab (see tabs near the top of the page – Edit Menus and Manage Locations). If not, click on the Edit Menus tab.
If you don’t have a menu yet click on Create New Menu which is located just under the tabs I’ve mentioned above. Give the menu a name. Main Menu is a common name for the… main menu. If your theme has the option of a second menu you can create a second menu and call it Top Menu, or Footer Menu depending on its location.
TIP: If you have more than one menu make sure you have selected the one you want to work on (Main, Top or whatever). It’s a bit annoying to set up a menu and find it’s not the one you wanted to work on.
Once you have created and named your menus you can start to populate them with items. Select the Menu you want to work with and do the following:
- Tick the selection boxes for any Pages you want on your menu and click Add to Menu.
- Repeat if you want to add any Posts or Categories to your menu.
- The items you have added to the menu will be displayed in the Menu Structure field which is the main field on the Menus page.
- Positioning the menu items once they are all in the Menu Structure field is simply a matter of dragging the item to the position you want it to be displayed in. When you drag an item it will indicate where you can drop it by showing dotted lines around the drop location.
- To create a menu item with sub items (which results in a Drop Down Menu, or a menu with Fly Outs) simply drop the sub item element under the main element ensuring it is indented across to the right (as shown in the featured image for this Post where you can see Tropical Juice and Sipping Duck under Projects and a little to the right. In this case the menu item Projects will appear in the menu. Tropical Juice and Sipping Duck will appear as menu flyouts in Projects).
- You can Nest items, as described in the last point, more than once to create sub menus within sub menus. For example, Tours>Outer Reef Tours>Snorkelling is a three tiered nested menu.
- You can mix and match elements when you build a menu with sub items. You will often have a Page as the main menu item then have Posts or Categories as sub items. But you can also use a Post or a Category as the main menu item and have Pages as the sub items.
TIP: The Pages, Posts etc displayed on the left side of the screen (where you check the items you want to go in the menu) are displayed in a Most Recent tab, meaning these items are the latest items added to your website. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Most Recent, click either the View All or Search tab to find the item you’re looking for.
- The Custom Links section, under Pages and Posts in the selection menu, can be used to create menu items based on URL’s. You will use this option when you want to display something other than a Page, Post or Category in a menu. We have used this option on this site. Projects are custom items unique to this theme which we are using to show our Clients. To create a menu with our Clients under Projects we added the Project page to the menu in the normal way, then added Custom Links for each client. To do this we would go to the client page on the website, then click in the browser bar containing the URL (e.g., http://www.tropicaljuice.com.au/project/tropical-juice/), copy that link, then paste it into the URL field. We then just gave the item a name (the Link Text) and clicked Add to Menu.
That’s about it. Very, very easy! Post any questions below and we’ll provide you with more guidance.