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How to Add a Navigation Menu in WordPress

How to Add a Navigation Menu in WordPress, featured image

It’s essential for your website to have clear, well-arranged navigation that gets users where they want to go. WordPress comes with a user-friendly interface that lets you create menus without any coding knowledge. However, if you’re just getting started, you may still run into trouble trying to set up your menu.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn what a navigation menu is and how you can add one to your WordPress site.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

What Is a Navigation Menu

A navigation menu is a list of links that directs users to specific destinations on your website. The most common type of website navigation is a horizontal bar at the top of the page.

An example of a menu.

There are several kinds of navigation menus, such as: 

  • Drop-down menu – reveals a list of submenus when you hover or click a menu item. It’s a standard way of displaying your menu.
  • Flyout menu – similar to a drop-down menu, but the submenus fly out from the side, rather than from the bottom of each menu item.
  • Mega menu – a drop-down menu with multiple columns and/or levels, sometimes even with images or videos.

A navigation menu helps you optimize the structure of your site, informs your visitors about your site’s content, and links to the internal pages of your website.

In WordPress, the location of a navigation menu is dependent on your theme.

Navigation Menus & SEO

Good navigation should also be optimized for search engines. On a WordPress site, SEO (search engine optimization) depends on both your theme author and you.

While the theme author is responsible for writing SEO-friendly code, you should create a logical menu structure that is the most accurate representation of your site’s content.

SEO-friendly navigation menus have the following benefits:

  • Search engines can crawl your site better, potentially improving your rankings.
  • Users will be able to get where they need, improving (or more accurately reflecting) your bounce rate.
  • Users may also stay on the site longer, which will impact your metrics positively.

Create a Navigation Menu in WordPress

In WordPress, you can create and manage navigation menus on the Appearance > Menus admin page. If you have a complicated menu structure, you can also use a menu plugin.

First, click the Appearance > Menus in the left sidebar of your WordPress admin area. On the Menus page, click the create a new menu link.

Clicking the Create a new menu link.

On the next screen, enter a descriptive name (which is just for your reference), select a display location, and click the Create Menu button.

Creating a new menu in WordPress.

From here, you can choose which pages you’d like to add to your menu.

First, click the View All tab to see your site’s pages. Then, tick the checkbox next to each page you want to add to your menu. Finally, click the Add to Menu button.

Adding posts and pages to a menu.

You can also change the order of your menu items by dragging and dropping them into place.

To create a multi-level menu, such as a drop-down or nested menu, you need to drag the child menu item to the right of the parent menu item, and ‘clip’ it into place.

Once you’re satisfied with the order of your menu, save your changes.

Add Categories and Custom Links to Your Menu

Categories are used to sort and group posts into separate sections while custom links are URLs that link to a custom location on either your site or an external one. Not only do these help with organization, but you can also link your social media accounts, stores, and other sites for easy access.

To add categories, review the items in the Categories section and select the ones you want to add to your menu. When you’re ready, click Add to Menu.

Adding categories to a WordPress menu.

You can add custom menus from the Custom Links tab.

Here, you can specify the URL and the link text and add them in the same way as posts, pages, and categories.

Adding custom links to a WordPress menu.

Much like other menu items, you can also drag and drop these items into the desired order and nest them if needed.

Edit Menu Items

By default, WordPress uses the page title or category name as the link text for pages and categories. In some cases, this is perfect. However, at other times, you may want to change this text.

To edit the link text, click the respective menu item, change the Navigation Label, and click the Save Menu button.

Change llink text

If your theme supports it, you can also edit your menu items from the Customizer interface. To open the Customizer, click the Appearance > Customize menu.

Delete Menu Items

When it comes to deleting menu items, the process is just as simple.

On the Appearance > Menus page, click the menu item you want to remove and find the red Remove link below the Navigation Label field.

Click this link, then save the menu using the Save Menu button.

Removing an item from a WordPress menu.

Change the Location of Your Menu

If you want to change the location of your menu on the front-end of your site, click the Manage Locations tab on top of the Menus page, assign your menu to the new location, and save the changes.

Choosing a location for your menu.

Conclusion

Adding a navigation menu to your WordPress site is a straightforward process that can be done from the WordPress admin area and doesn’t require any coding. To get the best results, both in terms of SEO and usability, choose a menu structure that properly represents your content.

Are you considering how to best present your navigation menus? Let us know in the comments section below!

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