May 20, 2024
How to Create and Manage WordPress Menus

How to Create and Manage WordPress Menus

WordPress provides a rich array of tools to craft exceptional websites, including robust features for crafting and tailoring navigation menus.

Creating menus is straightforward. Once you grasp menu management in WordPress, you can construct finely-tuned custom menus.

This expertise is invaluable; well-optimized navigation enhances your website’s user experience (UX) and contributes to effective search engine optimization (SEO).

What is WordPress Navigation Menu?

What is WordPress Navigation Menus?

A WordPress navigation menu is a user interface element that allows visitors to navigate through different sections and pages of a WordPress website. It typically appears as a list of links displayed in a specific location on the website, such as the header, sidebar, or footer. The navigation menu is a roadmap, guiding users to important sections like the homepage, About Us, Services, Blog, Contact, and other relevant pages.

In WordPress, you can also create and customize navigation menus through the built-in Menu Editor in the WordPress admin area. This editor allows you to add, remove, and rearrange menu items easily. You can then create hierarchical menus by organizing items into parent and child relationships. This will helps in structuring complex websites with multiple levels of content.

WordPress navigation menus are highly customizable. This allows you to include not only pages but also custom links, categories, tags, and post types in the menu structure. This flexibility enables you to tailor the navigation menu to suit your specific needs and ensure a seamless browsing experience for users. 

Additionally, WordPress themes often provide different menu locations and styles. It gives you the freedom to choose the most suitable layout and design for your website’s navigation.

Why is WordPress Navigation Menu Important?

A WordPress navigation menu plays a crucial role in enhancing the user experience and improving the overall functionality of a website. 

Firstly, it serves as a roadmap for visitors, guiding them through the different sections and pages of the website. A well-structured navigation menu ensures that users can easily locate the information they are seeking. Thereby, reducing bounce rates and increasing engagement. By organizing content into logical categories and hierarchies, the navigation menu simplifies the browsing experience. This makes it more intuitive and user-friendly.

Secondly, a WordPress navigation menu directly impacts the website’s usability and accessibility. It allows users to quickly jump to specific pages, browse related content, or navigate back to the homepage effortlessly. This convenience is especially critical for websites with extensive content or multiple sections. 

Besides, a clear and concise navigation menu enables efficient information retrieval, ensuring that visitors can find what they need without frustration. Moreover, an accessible navigation structure benefits users with disabilities by providing alternative ways to navigate the site, such as keyboard shortcuts or screen reader compatibility.

Furthermore, from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective, a well-optimized WordPress navigation menu can positively influence a website’s search engine rankings. Search engines like Google prioritize user-friendly websites that offer a seamless browsing experience. A structured navigation menu with relevant anchor text and logical organization helps search engine crawlers understand the website’s content hierarchy and context. This can then lead to improved indexation and better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). By strategically incorporating important keywords and linking to essential pages within the navigation menu, webmasters can enhance their site’s SEO performance and attract more organic traffic.

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How to set up Menus in WordPress

Different WordPress themes require distinct approaches, so check your dashboard to determine which method to use. You’ll use the WP admin dashboard.

Setting up menus in WordPress using the WP admin dashboard is a standard process that involves using the built-in Menu functionality.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up menus in WordPress:

1. Access the WordPress Admin Dashboard:

  • In the admin dashboard, locate and hover over the “Appearance” menu option in the left-hand sidebar.
  • Then, click on “Menus” from the submenu that appears under “Appearance.”
  • On the Menus screen, start by creating a new menu.
  • Enter a name for your menu (e.g., Primary Menu, Header Menu) in the provided field.
  • Click the “Create Menu” button.
WordPress Menus craetion

2. Add Menu Items:

  • After creating the menu, you can start adding items to it. On the left side of the Menus screen, you’ll see different sections like “Pages,” “Posts,” “Custom Links,” and “Categories.”
  • Check the items you want to add to your menu (e.g., pages, posts, custom links) and click the “Add to Menu” button. The selected items will appear as menu items in the right panel.
WordPress Menu items

3. Organize Menu Items:

  • To arrange the menu items, simply drag and drop them into the desired order.
  • Create sub-menus by dragging menu items below and slightly to the right of parent items. This action creates dropdown menus for hierarchical navigation.

4. Assign Menu Locations:

  • After adding and organizing your menu items, look for the “Menu Settings” section typically located below the menu structure.
  • Depending on your theme, there may be different menu locations available (e.g., Primary Menu, Footer Menu).
  • Check the box next to the menu location where you want to display your newly created menu.

5. Save Changes and Preview:

  • Once you’ve added menu items and assigned a menu location, click the “Save Menu” button to save your changes.
  • Then, visit your website to preview how the menu appears on the frontend.
  • Navigate to different pages and sections to ensure that the menu is working correctly and all links are directing to the intended content.

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How to Manage Menus in WordPress

How to Manage Menus in WordPress

There are several approaches to managing WordPress menus that will help you improve the UX, SEO and overall quality of your website.

These methods include editing menus, restructuring menus and deleting menu items.

How to edit menus in WordPress

To customize your menus, utilize the Customizer feature within WordPress. Start by navigating to Appearance > Customize in your dashboard, then choose Menus. 

In the Customizer, you can perform several actions:

  • Add custom links and specify link text.
  • Incorporate a search function by navigating to Appearance > Widgets, selecting the “+” icon, and adding the Search Widget.
  • Include desired pages, posts, and social media icons by clicking “Add Menu Items.”
  • Integrate categories directly from the dropdown menu.
  • Input descriptions for menu items by accessing Screen Options > Description.

Furthermore, the WordPress Customizer allows you to adjust various style elements and menu settings, such as fonts, background overlays, and dimensions, providing extensive customization options.

Alternatively, you can also edit menu options directly from the site editor. Navigate to Appearance > Editor, switch to List View, and select the Navigation Block. In the Settings section, click on “Styles” to customize further. This method also allows you to manage locations by dragging and dropping the Navigation Block onto different parts of your website, like the homepage, within the List View interface.

How to Restructure Menus

A well-organized menu structure is essential for enhancing your website’s performance and user experience. If you’ve incorporated categories into your menus, you’ve already taken a step towards improving navigation. To refine your structure further, put yourself in the user’s shoes and determine the most intuitive framework.

Consider implementing a nesting menu — a WordPress dropdown menu that optimizes the menu structure by grouping related items together. If your menu doesn’t automatically feature a dropdown layout, you can create one using different methods:

  • Use the admin menu editor: Go to Appearance > Menus, and edit your primary menu by dragging menu items under others on the right side of the list. They will automatically transform into sub-elements, forming submenus for improved organization.
  • Use the Customizer: Navigate to Appearance > Customize > Menus, select “Reorder,” and click the right arrow next to items to nest them within each other, creating a hierarchical structure that enhances menu clarity and usability.

How to Delete Menu Items

According to research from the Baymard Institute, users often feel overwhelmed when a menu contains more than 10 subcategories. To ensure a user-friendly experience, it’s important to streamline your menu by avoiding excessive elements.

Start by identifying and removing unnecessary menu items. Then, you can proceed with the following steps to clean up your menu:

  • Use the admin menu editor: Navigate to Appearance > Menus. Locate the item you wish to delete, click on the corresponding down arrow next to the item, and select “Remove” to eliminate unnecessary menu entries.
  • Employ the Customizer: Access Appearance > Customize > Menus and follow the same procedure as with the admin menu editor to remove unwanted menu items and simplify your menu structure for improved usability.

Final thoughts: How to manage menus in WordPress

In conclusion, mastering the art of creating and managing menus in WordPress is a valuable skill for anyone looking to build a user-friendly and optimized website. By understanding the menu creation process and utilizing customization options effectively, you can enhance navigation, improve user experience (UX), and boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance.

With these insights and tools at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to create intuitive and engaging navigation menus that make a positive impact on your website’s overall design and functionality.

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