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How To Add Navigation Menu In WordPress (A Simple Guide)

May 25, 2024


Whether you just started using WordPress or are looking for ways to improve it, you’ll need to pay attention to your website navigation.


This helps your customers get the information they need in a matter of seconds, and basically avoids any confusion about the structure of your web page.


In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to add a navigation menu to your WordPress website.



What Is A Navigation Menu?


A navigation menu is a collection of links that directs website visitors to a specific location on your site. The most common type of navigation menu is a horizontal bar at the top of the page.


example of navigation menu

An example of a horizontal navigation menu. (Credit: Stack Overflow)


Other formats include:


  • Drop-down menus
    A list of submenus is displayed when a menu item is clicked.
  • Mega menus
    A multi-level drop-down menu that occasionally includes images or videos.
  • Flyout menus
    A menu that flies from the side, instead of flying from the bottom, as it does in a drop-down menu.


Your WordPress theme typically determines where your navigation menu will be placed. Most themes have a top-level primary menu, and some themes might also have secondary menus and footer menus.


Simply put, the navigation menu assists you in structuring your website as efficiently as possible.


Navigation menus also affect your SEO


data analytics of site performance

A high SEO ranking means more people will see your website.


Did you know that WordPress menus can actually enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website? Yup, making sure your menus are easy to understand can help you rank higher, because search engines love to reward relevant content.


Also, making sure your website is optimized and is always running at top performance, greatly helps with SEO and is achievable if you’re all set up with one of the best web hosts.


So let’s look at the ways on how menus can improve your SEO:


  • Sitelinks for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)
    If a site’s navigation and main page are both well-organized, search engine results will show both of these.
  • Improved UX
    If your readers enjoy using your website, they will probably stay there longer. This’ll mean that you will experience lower bounce rates.
  • Easier search engine crawling
    If your navigation is well-organized and makes it clear what content is offered under each menu topic, it’ll be simpler for bots to find and index your content.


The secret is to place menus in a visible place that is neatly organized. While the advantages of better SEO are fantastic, at the end of the day, menus also make it simple for your readers to locate the content you’ve created for them.


Want to get even more hands off?

If you don’t love dealing with the very technical parts of your site, a managed web host can be worth looking into. Here, the host helps you look after things like security updates and patches. Check out our write up on the best managed web hosting platform for more info!.



How To Create A Custom Menu In WordPress


Custom menus are what makes your website stand out from the rest.


Here’s how to do it:


Step 1. Creating the navigation menu


I’m pretty sure you’re excited to add navigation items and links to your menu, so let’s start from the beginning!


You can access the navigation menu interface by:


  1. Going to your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Clicking on “Appearance”
  3. Then click on “Menu”


add menus in wordpress

You must first go to the menu section on your WordPress dashboard.


Right now, you’re in the Menus interface, wherein you’ll be prompted to make a menu right away. The next things you’ll have to do are:


  1. Provide a menu name (your visitors won’t see it and it’s purely for your own use in remembering the menu)
  2. Click “Create Menu” after typing your menu name


add menu name

Adding a menu name will only be seen by you and won’t be published as your actual menu name on your website.


That’s all there is to it! You just made a menu.


Step 2: Specifying the location where you want your menu placed


After you’ve created your menu, it’s now time to specify where to put it. You can do this when WordPress shows you a screen that includes the Menu Settings. The Display location option is what you’re primarily concerned with for this step.


Display Location setting

You can find 3 boxes to tick in the Display location settings.


For instance, our main navigation menu at Bitcatcha (and most other websites) is clearly displayed in our header.


example of horizontal navigation menu bar

An example of a horizontal navigation menu.


If you want to follow just that, it’s best to click on:


  1. The “Primary Menu” option
  2. Then, hit “Save Menu”


Primary menu setting

Choose “Primary Menu” if you want to place your navigation menu in your header.


But, this isn’t something you should always do and you should choose the location that best fits your website. For instance, you might find that an off-canvas menu suits your website’s layout better.


Step 3: Adding menu items


Once the new menu has been created, you will see a “Add menu items” option enabled in the left column, allowing you to quickly and easily add the items to your custom menus with a few clicks.


personalize menu items

You can personalize your navigation menu by adding your own menu items.


As you can see, the sidebar has sections for various things, including:


  • Pages
    Static content on your website such as your About Me or Contact Us pages.
  • Posts
    Content on your website that’s listed in chronological order such as blogs and articles.
  • Custom Links
    Links that bring people to a different webpage.
  • Categories
    A taxonomy that helps make your content more organized.


Adding a post, page, and category is very simple here, but in the custom link, you should provide the full URL of a page as well as the link text that will be visible for that link. You might also see extra sections with menu items that are particular to your site, depending on the specific plugin and/or theme that you’re using.



Want to create anchor link in your website? Delve into this step-by-step guide article on creating anchor links to improve the website navigation.



What If I Want To Edit My Menu?


If you’ve decided that you need to make some amendments to your menu, you’ll be glad to know that there are a lot of ways for you to easily edit it. Let’s take a look at some of them.


1. Rearranging menu items


When you begin adding multiple menu items, you may suddenly feel the need to rearrange them. This is fairly simple to do, as you’ll just have to drop and drag them into the position you want. Here’s how you do it:


  1. Go to the “Menu Structure” section
  2. After that, you can easily drag and drop a menu item to change where it appears in the menu bar


drag and drop items to rearrange them

Simply drag and drop items to rearrange them.


Also, you can drag a menu item below another menu item to make sub-menus:


creating a sub-menu

Simply drag a menu item below another item to make sub-menus.


Remember to click “Save Menu” after you’ve finished making changes to your menu.


2. Removing menu items


You can also remove any current menu items or menus. It’s a pretty straightforward process and all you have to do is:


  1. Find then click the “Down Arrow” icon which is displayed on the right of an item
  2. Then, click on “Remove”


deleting items in navigation bar

Deleting an item removes it from your navigation bar.


After doing this, your website’s added menu will be removed.


3. Adding custom links


WordPress makes it incredibly simple to add unique links to your menu. It can be used to link to other websites you own as well as your online store and social media profiles.


You can create custom links by using the Menu screen’s Custom Links tab:


  1. Simply include the link and the text you want to use in your menu
  2. Then click the “Add to Menu” button


adding custom links

Custom links are a great way for you to get more engagement for your navigation menu.


To increase conversions, you can even get creative and include social media icons or call-to-action buttons in your menu.



What Else Can I Do With Navigation Menus?


When you really dive into the functionality of a Navigation Menu, you’ll realize how such a basic feature gets to offer so much for your website. The possibilities are almost endless and the only limit is your imagination and creativity.


You can even find that you can do so much more than what we mentioned earlier. Changing things such as your font size and color, knowing where to place the menus, and even adding a sidebar or a footer are all possible even with just the WordPress theme customizer.


  1. To do this, you first need to access the WordPress theme customizer in your WordPress dashboard. Simply go to the Appearance section and click on “Customize”.
  2. appearance customize

    Click on customize to access the WordPress theme customizer.


  3. Once you’re there, just click on “Global” and you’ll be able to customize everything from fonts to buttons.
  4. global settings

    Click on global to find options to customize your website.


  5. You’ll then be greeted with different options to customize your menu and your website. Just click on the ones that best fits your wants and needs.


By customizing your menus by how they look and feel, they become special to you, making you stand out from the crowd.



Learn more on how to create WordPress Custom Fields to seperate Posts and Pages.


Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Great Menu


Menus are a simple feature that often gets overlooked.


Yes, they are a very basic element, but they’re one of the things that make up great websites, giving you an opportunity to increase your SEO ranking which translates to more leads and conversions.


Thankfully, adding, customizing, and editing Navigation Menus doesn’t require you to be a WordPress pro. All you have to do is follow our guide and you’re one step closer to your business goals!