What is a menu? Well, it’s often found in the header of your theme design and here we’ll look at how to set it up.
So by default, the way WordPress works, is that if no menu has been set on your end, it will just put all your “Pages” up in the navigation. Now for some, this might be OK, because then you’ll have your About & contact page up there and that might be all you need.
However, configuring a menu the right way, will allow you to add some features that you may want to add to your blog, in order to improve your visitors experience.
First off, if you’re using the default WordPress.com Dashboard, the Menu editor is actually kind of “hidden” within the settings. You will have to open the Themes Customizer (which makes no sense), in order to find it. I recommend that you use the “WP-Admin” dashboard, whenever you’re working on your blog. It’s the same layout you’re using when you’re Self-hosted, so if you have that planned for the future, you might as well get used to it now. Besides that, it’s a much more logical way of navigating the backend of WordPress.
A quick an easy way to enter this Admin area, is simply by adding /wp-admin/ to the end of your blog url. So if you blog domain is: testdomain.com, then you just go to testdomain.com/wp-admin. If your URL is testblog.wordpress.com, then you will go to testblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin. Very simple.
Once there, your Admin dashboard will look something like this:
It’s essentially exactly the same dashboard you’re used to, just in a different design with some of the options easier accessible.
How to create a new menu
So what you want to do, is look at the vertical menu in the left-hand side and hover over “Appearance” – a sub-menu will then appear where you can find and click on “Menus”.
When you reach the Menu page, here’s how you do:
- Select Create a new menu at the top of the page
- Enter a name for your new menu in the Menu Name box
- Click the Create Menu button
You can add different link types into your menu, these are split between panes left of the menu you’re currently editing. So for an example, adding a page is done like this:
- Locate the pane entitled Pages
- Within this pane, select the View All link to bring up a list of all the currently published Pages on your site.
- Select the Pages that you want to add by clicking the checkbox next to each Page’s title.
- Click the Add to Menu button located at the bottom of this pane to add your selection(s) to the menu that you created in the previous step.
- Click the Save Menu button once you’ve added all the menu items you want.
If your current theme supports custom menus, you will be able to add your new menu to one of the Theme Locations.
In the section titled Theme locations, click the check box for the location where you want your menu to appear. Click Save menu once you’ve made your selection. It’s typically called “Primary” or “Navigation” or something along those lines.
Which links should you have in your menu?
Now that you know how to create a menu, let’s have a look at what kind of links you want to put in there. Depending on your blog/website, there are at least 2 essential pages you want to put in there and those are:
- An ‘About’ page
- A ‘Contact’ page
These are important, as they give your visitor a quick an easy way of learning more about your blog/yourself and a way of contacting you.
It could be that brands want to get in touch with you for a collaboration, or other visitors with general comments/feedback about your site. You would want these people to have an easy way of figuring out how to reach you.
If you run a blog, you may want to consider putting some of your main Blog Categories up there as well. So if you’re a lifestyle-blogger, you may want to have a menu that looks like this:
Home | About | Fashion | Beauty | Lifestyle | Contact
This is a very standard type of menu for a reason, because it works. It gives your visitors all the information they need. More importantly, if they are only interested in reading your Fashion posts, then they can quickly and easily just click on Fashion.
I realize that often you may have 20+ categories, if that’s the case you should consider organizing them in a way so you only have 3-5 main categories and have the remaining being sub-categories. More about that in our upcoming post about how to organize your categories + tags.
Lastly I will say: Try and keep your menu items to a maximum of 5-6 links. There is often no reason to have anymore than 6 links in your menu. The menu is meant to quickly and easily give an overview how to find the main areas on a website. Of course a website will often have much more than just 6 pages, but not all pages should have it’s own section in the main menu.
How others do it
Here’s a few menu-examples from some of the top fashion bloggers out there, you can take inspiration from what they’ve chosen to include in their main navigation menu:
1. Song Of Style
Shop | Categories | Videos | Fashion Week | Contact | About | Book
2. Wendy’s Lookbook
About | Poshmark | Youtube | Contact
3. The Atlantic Pacific
Outfits | Edit & Etc | Notepad | Shop | Say Hello
4. The Chriselle Factor
Home | Fashion | Beauty | Motherhood | Lifestyle | Videos | Shop my instagram | About
5. Negin Mirsalehi
Home | Fashion | Beauty | Lifestyle | Negin360 | Contact
As you can see, a common factor is to keep a maximum of just a few items in their menu. Almost everyone features and about or contact page, if not visible in the menu – then otherwise easily accessible from other areas of the website.
Often your blog’s design will also dictate the amount of items you can feature in your menu, while it still looks good. If you’re Self-hosted, that of course gives you much more flexibility for how you can integrate your menu nicely. If you’re on Free or Premium WordPress, then you’re limited in the design-choice, but there are definitely still designs that allow for any sort of menu you’d like.
By now I hope you’ve been well-equipped to start organizing the menu for your own blog 🙂
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