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Creating a user-friendly blog menu in WordPress is a topic I’m pretty passionate about—so passionate that it took up the bulk of one of my doctorate research papers! People can turn the menu into a whole labyrinth that does nothing but lose the reader. People throw in primary menus, secondary menus, and it just gets crazy! Let me show you a simple method for setting up your menu.
Let’s quickly review what a blog menu is. The blog menu appears at the top of your website and serves as the primary form of navigation for your site:
When creating your menu in WordPress, you want to take a second and think of how you want your user to navigate your site. What are the highest priorities for them? Below are some suggestions:
- About Me Page
- Recommendations Page that includes affiliate links to products you recommend
- Newsletter Subscription
- Blogging Categories
I’m going to start by showing you how to set up your menu with a category item. This might help if let’s say you have a Motherhood website, but you want a reader to be able to easily access all Pregnancy articles.
Let’s create some categories. In the WordPress Dashboard side menu, go to Posts from and then select Categories:
Now enter in the category you want to create under Name and then select Add New Category. You can keep doing this over and over again until you enter in all of the categories you want. I recommend trying to keep your number of categories to under ten–preferably closer to five. And remember–you don’t need to have every category on your menu.
Another menu item you could have is a particular page. To create a page, go to the WordPress Dashboard sidebar and select Pages and Add New. Then create your page based on whatever content you want on it. If you don’t know how to edit a page at this point, don’t worry about it, just create the page and we’ll get back to it.
Set Up Menu
Now let’s actually set up the menu! In the WordPress sidebar dashboard, go to Appearance and select Menus:
Start by giving your menu a name in the Menu Name section and then select Create Menu
You can now select the checkbox of any pages you want added to your menu. Word of warning here: don’t go overboard! Keep it simple–6 items max if possible. You don’t want your menu to “wrap around”–meaning it has so many things on it that it has to go to a second line. You want your menu to be one clean line. Once you have selected all pages you want, click Add to Menu. Then click on Categories to select some categories.
Once you select the categories you want, you click Add to Menu
On the right side of the screen, you’ll now see your menu. You are welcome to drag and drop the items to arrange them in the order that you want.
Also, there is a way to make a “dropdown menu”, but I’d like to caution you against that. Simple is best nowadays with sites. Dropdown menus tend to give off to the reader that the website is a confusing maze. That’s my opinion, take it or leave it! Also one tip: quite often I go to Apple.com to see what they are doing. That is a company that pours a lot of research into usability. They used to have dropdown menus, but dropped them. And I guarantee you they didn’t do it haphazardly; I bet it was after careful studying of user behavior. But let’s say a drop-down menu is an itch you just have to scratch, FIIIIIIINE, I’ll show you how to do it.
Simply click your mouse on the item you want as a sub-menu item, drag it underneath the main menu item you want it under, and then drag it slightly to the right.
Once you have the menu set up how you want it, click Save Menu
Determine Menu Location
We are going to tell that menu in WordPress to show up on the main menu bar of your site. To do this, click Manage Locations from that same page that you were just on:
Next in the line of Primary Menu under the Assigned Menu bar click Select a Menu and then Primary Menu. Then click Save Changes
Double Check and Edit
To check your blog menu, type in your website URL (or in the dashboard, to all the way to the top left where it says your blog name and click Visit Site) and see what it looks like:
Is it cluttered? Does it run over into a second line? If so, then you need to either have less items on the menu bar OR edit the size of the text on the header bar.
For Divi Theme users, you can edit the size of the text on the header bar you go to Divi > Theme Customizer > Header & Navigation > Primary Menu Bar
I recommend that you check your menu on multiple browsers and mobile devices. You’ll find that for most mobile devices, the menu appears different. It is often an icon like this:
This is because if all of the words appeared on the menu when the user loads your website, it would look incredibly cluttered on a small device. If you are seeing words that are cluttered, it means that your site design is probably not “responsive.” This means that the blog will slightly adjust it’s layout based on the width of the reader’s browser or screen. My theme, the Divi theme, is responsive, so if you are looking for a great responsive theme, I highly recommend that one.
How to Delete a Menu Item
If you ever need to delete a menu item, the process is super simple. From the Menus page (Appearance > Menus), click on the arrow in the top right of the menu item:
Then click Delete
And there you have it! Your menu in WordPress should be all set up! If you are just setting up your website, or even re-launching your website, I highly recommend checking out my Blog Checklist. I walk you through all of the steps needed to get started right. Fill in your info below if you are interested.
FREE Step-by-Step Blog Launch Checklist
If you are starting or re-launching a blog, chances are you might be a little overwhelmed with the process. In this Blog Launch Checklist, I break down everything that you need to do to get your blog running.