Your WordPress menus are critical components that will also house other vital portions of your website. They give your readers the quickest method to locate your information and explore your site. As a result, adopting disorganized or cumbersome menus might degrade your user experience and, as a result, harm your search engine results. In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to add a navigation menu in WordPress easily.

What is a Navigation Menu?

A navigation menu is a set of connections to key elements of a website. On a WordPress website, they are often shown as a horizontal bar of links at the top of each page. Navigation menus assist users to locate what they’re looking for by giving your site structure.

For example, if a reader finds your site using a search engine, they may not necessarily end up on your home page. To learn more about your site beyond the page they came on, they must understand how to navigate your other material. They will seek your menus out of habit to get a sense of what else is available to explore.

Importance of Well-Crafted Menus

Easy to crawl by Search Engines

In order to index your material, search engines utilize bots to crawl through your site and find its pages. Bots will locate and index your material more easily if you have well-organized navigation that clearly reveals what information is accessible for each menu subject.

Sitelinks for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)

If the site and its navigation are well arranged, the search engine results page will display the main page as well as connections to internal pages, improving the site’s SEO.

Improve User Experience

A well-designed menu also improves the user experience, which, as you may have anticipated, leads to conversions later on. If visitors can reach their desired goal, they are more likely to stay on a site and peruse additional material.

How to Create a Custom Menu

  • Login to the WordPress Dashboard.
  • From the ‘Appearance’ menu on the left-hand side of the Dashboard, select the ‘Menus’ option to bring up the Menu Editor.
  • Select Create a new menu at the top of the page
  • Enter a name for your new menu in the Menu Name box
  • Select the pages you wish to include in the menu. You may add all new top-level pages automatically or pick individual ones from the left column.
  • To see all of your site’s pages, select the ‘View All option. Then, check the box next to each of the pages you wish to include in your menu and press the ‘Add to Menu’ button.
  • Click the Create Menu button.

In the menu editor, all menu items are listed vertically (from top to bottom). Depending on the location you choose, the menu will appear vertically or horizontally (left to right) on your site.

How to Choose Where Your Custom Menu Displays

Most themes allow you to place menus in a variety of places. If you’re the Astra theme in this example, it includes five different locations: Primary Menu, Secondary Menu, Off-Canvas Menu, Logged-in Account Menu, and Footer Menu

After adding pages to the menu, choose where you want the menu to appear and click the ‘Save Menu’ button.

If you’re not sure where each location is, save the menu in several locations and then visit your site to check how it looks.

Adding Custom Links as Menu Items

This is handy when you wish to connect to a page that is not listed in the left column, such as a whole external website. All you have to do:

  • Click on Custom Links in the left column, and you can now add whatever link you want to your menu.
  • Enter a URL (its own web address) and Link Text (the name of the link in the menu)
  • When you’re done, click Add to Menu.

Adding Categories as Menu Items

This is useful when you run a blog and you want to add your blog categories as a drop-down in your WordPress menu. To do so:

  • Click the Categories tab on the left side of the menus screen.
  • Click the ‘View All’ tab to see all your categories.
  • Select the categories you want to add to the menu.
  • Click the ‘Add to Menu’ button.
  • You can drag and drop them into position. Click Save Menu when you’re done.

How to Delete Menu Items

  • In the menu editor box, find the menu item you wish to delete.
  • To expand the menu item/box, click the arrow icon in the top right-hand corner.
  • Select the Remove option. The menu item/box will be deleted instantly.
  • Click the Save Menu button.

How to Create Multi-Level Menus

When designing the organization of your menu, consider each menu item as a header in a professional report paper. Main section headings (Level 1 headings) are indented to the left of the page in a formal report; sub-section headings (Level 2 headings) are indented somewhat more to the right; and any subsequent subordinate headings (Level 3, 4, etc) within the same section are indented even further to the right.

Using a simple ‘drag and drop’ interface, the WordPress menu builder allows you to design multi-level menus. Drag menu items up or down to adjust the order they show in the menu. Drag menu items to the left or right to create sub-levels inside your menu.

To do so:

  • Place your cursor on the ‘child’ menu item.
  • Drag the left mouse button to the right while keeping it down.
  • Let go of the mouse button.
  • Repeat the previous steps for each sub-menu item.
  • To save your changes, click the Save Menu button in the Menu Editor.

How to Add Additional Menu using Widgets

If you want to incorporate more menus on your site (for example, in your sidebar), you may do so with WordPress menu widgets. To do so:

  • Navigate to Appearance > Customize in WordPress admin
  • Go to the Widgets section.
  • You’ll notice a list of pre-configured widget places, which can vary based on your theme but are often found in your sidebars and/or footer. Choose the location for your menu, and you’ll be offered with a variety of widget options.
  • Click on the Navigation Menu. If it’s not in the list, select Add a Widget, search for it, and then click to add it to your widget area.

If you don’t have enough acceptable areas within your selected theme, widgets provide you still another approach to show menus on your website.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add a navigation menu in WordPress. One of your top concerns when designing a strong user experience should be intuitive navigation.


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