Video: How to stop fumbling around in the WordPress menu Editor

Cynthia Bartz • August 11, 2016

In this video I’m going to do a quick walk through of the Menu menu in WordPress. This can be found in Appearance > Menus. This is what shows up in what’s traditionally called the Navigation of your website. In this example we have links to The Coaching Process, Blog, Services and Workshops, About, a Podcast, and the Contact Page.

Reordering Menu Items and Sub-Menu Items [00:46]

For each menu item, you can drag and drop them in the order that you want them to appear. You can also slide them to the right to create a sub-menu item. If you’ve ever been to a website where you have an arrow next to a menu item that drops down with more items to choose from, this is how you would do that. You would add whatever pages you wanted to appear as a sub-menu item underneath The Coaching Process. You could add ten of these if you wanted to. However, I do not recommend that. Don’t get crazy! If you don’t want a menu item to be a in a drop down menu, just slide it back left so that it is at the same level as the other menu items.

If you open up the live website you will see that the menu items we see in the Menu Editor are exactly the same: The Coaching Process, Blog, Services, etc.

Menu Item Settings [02:09]

Let’s say that I wanted to know exactly what page I was linking to. Maybe I have multiple About pages or multiple versions of an About page and I’m just not sure exactly which one of those pages I’m linking to. I’m going to click the down arrow next to the “About” page and it’s going to give me more options.

Navigation Label

I have the navigation label which is what the menu item is labeled on your live website. If you had a page name that is crazy long and you didn’t want that to show up in your navigation, you could change that super crazy long name to something short like About Me or My Process. The super cool thing is that whatever you change this name to, you will always know exactly what page you’re linking to because you have this little guy right here that’s telling you what page it is. So, if I were to change “The Coaching Process” to “My Process”, you can still see in the original menu section at the bottom that I’m linking to The Coaching Process. And it is a link, so you can click through to see which page your visitors are going to land on when they click on that menu item.

[03:26]

I’m going to right click and Open In A New Tab, because I don’t want to close out of my editing. Because I am logged into this WordPress instance I can come up to the top and edit the page. This way I can be 1000% sure that I am editing the page that’s directly connected to the menu item.

Adding Pages to Your Menu [03:56]

You can add pretty much any page that is on your website to the menu as a link. On the left hand side we have: pages, posts, categories, etc. Under the “Pages” section on the left we have the most recent ones, or you can view all of them. If you have a ton of pages and the “view all” list is overwhelming, you can go to the “Search” and search for the page you’re looking for.

Then all you need to do to add it to the menu is click the check box next to the page and then click “Add To Menu”.

I’m going to slide this one up and make it a sub-menu under Services and Workshops because this is actually taking me to my shop where all of the workshops live so you can actually purchase them and pay for them. But, just like we were talking about before, Shop really does not explain exactly what you’re going to find on this page. Really what you’re going to find on this page are the workshops that are currently offered by Becky Berry, Coach, when they happen and your ability to register and pay for them. So I’m going to change Shop to Workshops. You can see I’m still linking to Shop down here. Then I’m going to add Services as well as a sub-menu so you can go directly to those pages. And that one I’m going to leave as services.

Save Your Menu [05:43]

You have to “save” anytime you make a change to the menu. If you don’t save, you won’t see the changes you made. If you are freaking out because your website isn’t updating, it’s probably because you didn’t save.

[05:54]

There are some other options over here on the right and I’ve added a couple of things but you can add anything. These are all of your posts. It’s a list of all of the things that you’ve put under this category. So you can add any one these to the menu. And, this is one of those prime examples of having an awesome post that is super popular that pretty much everybody wants to read, so you probably don’t want the super long name in your menu. But you might want to put it in the menu and say “Most Popular Posts” or “Thinking About Quitting Your Job” (no, that one is long, too) but you might have another, shorter title that makes sense that you also want to appear in the menu.

Possible Page Types You Can Add to Your Menu [06:44]

Products: These are all the products that Becky Berry, Coach is offering. You can add a product directly to a menu. She doesn’t have any Portfolio items but if she had a Portfolio item she could add that there. These things are driven by her specific theme, so you might not have these options in your specific WordPress instance. But everything you would want to add to the menu, every page on your website are all available here. They’re sorted so you can find them. Then WordPress matches the way that you added the page to begin with.

Custom Links [07:25]

You can add custom links to your menu, too. So, if you have an Amazon affiliate store, or if you have a podcast with a totally separate website, and you want that link to appear in the menu, you can do that. You can add custom links to other websites that are outside of your own website here. This also goes for landing pages. If you had a landing page that had a different URL you could put that here as well. Anything you want to link to, you can add as a custom link and you use the “link” text to create the navigation label in that menu.

[08:11]

So, for any one of these, once you’ve selected what you want to have on the menu, click Add To Menu and it’s just going to push it onto the Menu structure. Most of the time it’s just going to drop the item onto the bottom, so you’ll need to drag and drop to put it wherever you want.

If Drag and Drop is Not Behaving

Sometimes the drag and drop does not work the way you want it to. I’ve had it happen where it refuses to drag or won’t drop in the right place. Drag and drop can be fussy when you have a slow connection, or a really small window, or if you’re on a tablet. Remember, you can always use the Move buttons at the bottom of the menu item settings. These buttons will move it up and down through the structure. So, in this example, I have the option to move up one, to move all the way to the top, to move it down one. These change depending on its location in the menu.

[09:48]

There are lots of little pieces that make up website navigation in WordPress including: reordering navigation items in your menu, creating sub menus, changing titles, and adding new menu items. The navigation on your website is all controlled in the WordPress Menu Editor.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I take navigation seriously. Good navigation feels natural and logical, bad navigation will have your visitors running away like the White Walkers are coming. But in order to create a navigation that is easy to use, you have to know how to use the Menu Editor in your WordPress Admin.

Where to Find the WordPress Menu Editor

The Menu Editor is located in WordPress Admin > Appearance > Menus. You must be an administrator to edit the website navigation. If you don’t see the Appearance option on the left hand side of the WordPress Admin, then you are not an administrator.

The WordPress Menu Editor is located in WordPress Admin > Appearance > Menus

Almost all of your menus will be controlled on the WordPress Menu Editor. If you can’t find a the settings for a menu it is in one of two locations: 1) the drop down box at the top of the menu editor (if you have multiple menus), or 2) in the widgets panel under Appearance (that location is a whole other video).

Adding Pages to Your Menu

You can add any page from your website to your menu, including blog posts, shop pages, and category archives. Use the menu on the far left of the WordPress Menu Editor to locate the page or post that you want to add. By default WordPress will add the page to the bottom of the menu, so you will need to drag and drop it to the location that you want it.

You can also add links to pages outside of your website by using the “custom link,” to link to your partner business, podcast on iTunes, or any other websites that are strongly connected to your business. Be careful though. You don’t want to send visitors off your website unless it is going to benefit you in some way. I would reserve custom links for affiliates (that you get paid for), landing pages, and partner/second businesses. Don’t send your traffic to another website just because it’s cool. We want your business to grow and that can’t happen if you are sending them off of your site.

Save it!

Your WordPress Menu will not change on the live site until you save it. If you can’t see the changes you made, it’s probably because you forgot to save the menu (it’s ok, we all do it).

I’ll say it again. Save your WordPress menu. There is nothing more frustrating than spending 20 minutes getting it perfect only to realize that you didn’t save it.

Primary Menu (and other locations)

Depending on your theme you may have multiple menus and menu locations. Almost every WordPress theme will have a “primary menu” or “main menu” option. If you can’t figure out what you are doing wrong, it’s probably because you need to check the box at the bottom of the menu editor that says “primary menu” or “main menu”.

Basically, if you don’t check that box, you’ve built a menu that WordPress doesn’t know what to do with.

Learn more about how to use the WordPress Menu Editor by watching the video. In it, I walk you through the entire Menu Editor and show you how to do everything above, plus some extras.

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