We all use them, menus in our navigation bar, whether it’s for categories, pages, or a mix of both.
Sometimes our themes even allow us two navigation bars.
And then there is the sidebar, with its nice little custom menus.
So how do we use the menu feature? Back a couple of versions ago, WordPress added menus under your appearance menu.
They actually got the idea from Woothemes. Gone were the days of creating your menu using the “Page Attributes.”
But at first not every theme supported this feature, and unfortunately I still find a few that don’t. Bummer.
If you are new to WordPress, or even have been working with it for a while, chances are you might have overlooked this option.
And maybe your theme allows more than one navigation bar but for the life of you, how do you get the second one set up?
Let’s take a quick look at the menus feature. In the screen shot below, I have created a simple menu. On the side, I can add either pages or categories, I can order them by simply dragging and dropping, and I can create sub-menus by grabbing it with your cursor and moving it slightly to the right till it locks in place. Simple, right?
You will also find all of your pages and categories listed on the left hand side that can easily be added, then dragged to the spot where you want them on your menu.
And if your theme does support one menu or more, you will see it here and you have the options to choose which menu you have created and where it goes.
The custom links feature is primarily used for creating a link in your navigation bar to a URL. For example, in this screenshot, I have created a button that says,”Visit my website” so I can put in my site’s URL. Now we have a custom link to an outside site I may want to put in the navigation bar.
The other use of this custom link is a workaround I have discovered. Sometimes I want to have what I call a “dead link” in the nav bar. Normally, everything in a nave bar links somewhere, but sometimes you don’t want that. For example, in the menu above, I have “Services,” then underneath that, “Illustration” and “Graphic Design.” Now there are times when we don’t want “Services” to be an active link to a page. We want it to be more of a title for the pages below it.
How do you do this? Simply fill out the custom link box and put in a dummy url, anything . The reason for doing this is that it cannot be added to a menu if left blank.
Now add it to your menu, open it up under the menu, and remove the fake URL. You now have a navigation button that doesn’t link anywhere.
You will also see from the above screenshot that there is a place to put in a title attribute. This is useful for both the search engines, and for devices that help the sight-impaired use their computers. The other great option is the navigation label. Let’s say I’ve created a page called “About Bob Dunn” but I don’t have room for it in the nav bar. I can open it here and shorten it to “About.” This will only change the button in the navigation bar, and won’t affect the actual title of the page.
Lastly, this feature comes with a widget that allows you to put custom menus in your sidebar as well. The beauty of this widget is that you can use it even if your theme doesn’t support this menu feature.
For example, let’s say I want to have several categorized video posts. I just create a new menu adding those categories and label it something I can remember.
Now I go to my widget page, drag the Custom Menu widget into a sidebar, or even the footer, choose the menu I just created, and there you go. A nice little custom menu just for the videos.
You may be saying at this point, Bob, I’d like to use this feature, but I’ve already created my menus the old way. What I suggest is that you recreate them using this, because in the long run it will be so much easier to edit your navigation bar.