How to Easily Edit the Menu in WordPress: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to edit the menu in WordPress is a simple process. Follow along with this post (use an extra screen or a new tab) to make sure you don't make any mistakes! 🙂

WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) that powers millions of websites worldwide. One of the essential components of any website is the menu, which allows visitors to navigate through the site's pages and content easily. WordPress offers a user-friendly interface to create and edit menus, making it easy for website owners to customize their site's navigation.

To edit the menu in WordPress, you need to access the Menu editor, which can be found under the Appearance section in the WordPress dashboard. Once you're in the Menu editor, you can add, remove, and rearrange menu items, create submenus, and customize the menu's appearance. You can also create multiple menus for different sections of your website, such as the header, footer, or sidebar.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced WordPress user, editing the menu is a straightforward process that can be done in a few clicks. In the following sections, we'll guide you through the steps to edit the menu in WordPress and provide tips and best practices to create an effective and user-friendly menu.

What is a menu in WordPress?

A menu in WordPress is a list of links that are typically displayed at the top of your site. Here is what mine looks like:

A menu makes it easy for your visitors to find their way around your site's pages and other content. You can add, remove, and rearrange menu items in the WordPress menu editor.

Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I earn a commission when you make a purchase through them. 🙂 Click to learn how to increase your affiliate earnings on your own blog.

Understanding WordPress Menus

WordPress menus are an essential part of any website as they help visitors navigate through the site's pages and content. Without a menu, there is no navigation. Without navigation, there are no pageviews!

Breathe easy: you don't need to know how to code to update your WordPress menu. You can even create and manage multiple menus, each with its own set of links that can be customized to fit the needs of your website. But, for the purposes of this post, I'll keep it simple.

Accessing the WordPress Menu Editor

To edit the menu in WordPress, you need to access the Menu Editor. This is where you can add, remove, and rearrange menu items as well as create new menus. Here's how to access the Menu Editor:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the Appearance tab from the left sidebar.
  3. Click on Menus from the dropdown list.

Now you can start building and customizing your menu. You can add pages, posts, categories, custom links, and more to your menu. You can also drag and drop items to rearrange them or create submenus.

The Menu Editor is a powerful tool that gives you complete control over the navigation menu on your WordPress site.

Creating a New Menu

Creating a new menu in WordPress is simple. Don't forget to SAVE your progress as you go, or it will all go POOF!

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Go to the “Appearance” section and click on “Menus.”
  3. If you want to create a new menu instead of editing an existing one, click on the “Create a new menu” link.
  4. Type in a name for your new menu and click the “Create Menu” button.
  5. You can now start adding items to your new menu.

To add items to your new menu, you can choose from the following options:

  • Pages: Add links to pages on your website.
  • Posts: Add links to posts on your website.
  • Custom Links: Add links to external websites or custom URLs.
  • Categories: Add links to categories on your website.
  • Tags: Add links to tags on your website.

To add an item to your menu, check the box next to the item you want to add and click the “Add to Menu” button. You can drag and drop items to rearrange their order in the menu.

Once you have added all the items you want to your menu, click the “Save Menu” button to save your changes.

Edit the Menu in WordPress

To add items to your WordPress menu, you can choose from several options such as pages, custom links, categories, and posts. Here are the steps to add each type of item to your menu:

Adding Pages

  1. Go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on the Pages tab to see a list of all your pages.
  3. Check the box next to the pages you want to add to the menu.
  4. Click on the Add to Menu button.

Adding Custom Links

  1. Go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on the Custom Links tab.
  3. Enter the URL and link text for your custom link.
  4. Click on the Add to Menu button.

Adding Categories

  1. Go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on the Categories tab to see a list of all your categories.
  3. Check the box next to the categories you want to add to the menu.
  4. Click on the Add to Menu button.

Adding Posts

  1. Go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on the Posts tab to see a list of all your posts.
  3. Check the box next to the posts you want to add to the menu.
  4. Click on the Add to Menu button.

When you add an item to your menu, it will appear as a menu item in the Menu Structure section. You can then drag and drop the items to rearrange their order, or indent them to create submenus.

If you can't see the menu you just created, double-check that you created the correct menu. Each theme will have its own menu options, but the theme I'm using on this blog has like 15 different menu options.

I only edit the Main Menu, and the Mobile Menu. There are footer menus, too, but I don't update them too often. I leave the rest alone!

It's important to note that not all WordPress themes support all menu item types. Some themes may only support pages and posts, while others may support custom links and categories. If you're unsure which menu item types your theme supports, check with your theme developer or refer to the theme documentation.

Customizing Menu Appearance

Changing Menu Color and Background

Changing the color and background of your menu is an easy way to make it stand out.

To change the color of your menu, go to Appearance > Menus > Menu Settings and choose your preferred color.

You can also add a background image or color to your menu by going to Appearance > Customize > Background Image.

Customizing Menu Fonts

Customizing the font of your menu can help make it more readable and visually appealing.

To change the font of your menu, go to Appearance > Customize > Fonts and choose your preferred font. You can also change the font size and style to make your menu look more professional.

Each theme will have a slightly different set up, but you should be able to adjust all of your fonts and colors in the Customization section.

Managing Menu Locations

In WordPress, menu locations are the areas of your website where you can display your menu. You can manage your menu locations by going to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.

When you create a new menu, you need to assign it to a location. If you don't assign it to a location, the menu will not appear on your website.

To manage your menu locations, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Appearance > Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click on the Manage Locations tab.
  3. You will see a list of available menu locations. These may vary depending on your theme, but most themes will have at least a primary menu and a footer menu.
  4. Choose the display location for your menu by selecting the appropriate menu from the dropdown list.
  5. Click on the Save Changes button to save your changes.

It is important to note that not all themes will have the same menu locations. Some themes may have header menus, while others may have sidebar menus. Make sure to check your theme documentation to see what menu locations are available.

If your theme does not have the menu location you need, you may need to create a custom menu location. This can be done by adding code to your theme's functions.php file or by using a plugin.

Editing and Updating Menus

Update your menu as needed. This isn't something I do very frequently, maybe once per quarter.

However, if you add something to your blog that you want to display in your menu, add it right away before you forget! 😉

Renaming Menu Items

To rename a menu item in WordPress, you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Menus.
  2. Find the menu item that you want to rename and click on it to expand the options.
  3. In the Navigation Label field, enter the new name for the menu item.
  4. Click on the Save Menu button to save your changes.

Reordering Menu Items

Part of learning to edit the menu in WordPress is reordering. Reordering menu items is a simple process that can help you organize your site's navigation menu. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Menus.
  2. Find the menu item that you want to move and click on it to expand the options.
  3. Click on the Move Up or Move Down buttons to move the menu item to the desired position.
  4. Click on the Save Menu button to save your changes.

Deleting Menu Items

If you want to remove a menu item from your navigation menu, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Menus.
  2. Find the menu item that you want to delete and click on it to expand the options.
  3. Click on the Remove link to delete the menu item.
  4. Click on the Save Menu button to save your changes.

Advanced Menu Customization

If you're looking to take your WordPress menu to the next level, there are a few advanced customization options available to you. In this section, we'll cover how to create submenus, add custom CSS classes, and set link targets.

Creating Submenus

Submenus, also known as dropdown menus or sub-menus, are a great way to organize your menu items and make it easier for visitors to navigate your site.

To create a submenu, drag and drop a menu item underneath another menu item in your WordPress menu editor.

This will create a nested menu item, which will appear as a dropdown when the parent menu item is hovered over.

Adding Custom CSS Classes

If you're comfortable with CSS, you can add custom CSS classes to your menu items to further customize their appearance.

To do this, click on the menu item you want to add a class to, then expand the “CSS Classes” section in the menu item settings.

Here, you can add one or more custom classes, separated by spaces. Once you've added your classes, you can use them to style your menu items using CSS.

Setting Link Targets

By default, menu items in WordPress open in the same window or tab when clicked. However, you can change this behavior by setting a link target.

To do this, click on the menu item you want to modify, then expand the “Link Target” section in the menu item settings.

Here, you can choose to open the link in a new window or tab, or even in a specific frame or iframe.

Optimizing Menus for User Experience

To optimize your WordPress menu for user experience, start by considering the structure of your website. A clear and logical site structure can help guide users to the content they need.

When creating your menu:

  • Keep it simple: A cluttered menu can be overwhelming and confusing. Keep your menu simple and streamlined, with only the most important pages listed. This is difficult for me to do because evvvvverything feels important! Use submenus to keep everything organized.
  • Use clear and concise labels: Your menu labels should clearly describe the content of the page. Avoid using vague or confusing labels that may confuse visitors. If something says “Facebook,” I expect it to take me to a Facebook fan page or group.
  • Organize your menu logically: Group related pages together, use submenus to further organize your content.
  • Prioritize important pages: Place the most important pages at the top of your menu, where they are more likely to be seen.
  • Test and refine: Continuously test and refine your menu to improve user experience. Use analytics from your favorite heat map tool to track user behavior and make adjustments as needed.

Troubleshooting Common Menu Issues

When you edit the menu in WordPress, it is generally an easy process, but sometimes issues can arise. Here are some common problems that users may encounter when editing menus and some troubleshooting tips to help resolve them.

Menu Not Displaying Correctly

If your menu is not displaying correctly, check the menu structure to ensure that all links have been added correctly. Make sure that all pages, posts, and custom links are properly added to the menu.

Double-check that all menu items have been correctly indented to create submenus where necessary.

If the menu still isn't displaying correctly, check the theme settings to ensure that the menu is set to display in the correct location.

Some themes have multiple menu locations, so make sure that you have selected the correct one.

Menu Items Not Saving

If you are having trouble saving menu items, check that you have added the menu items to the correct menu. If you have multiple menus, make sure that you are editing the correct one. Always make sure you click the “Save Menu” button after making changes.

If the issue persists, try disabling any plugins that may be interfering with the menu editing process. You can also try clearing your browser cache or using a different browser to see if that resolves the issue.

Menu Items Not Linking Correctly

If your menu items are not linking correctly, check that the URLs are correct. Make sure that you have entered the correct URL for custom links and that you have selected the correct page or post for menu items linking to WordPress content.

If your links are correct but still not working, try disabling any plugins that may be interfering with the menu links. You can also try resetting the permalink structure in WordPress to see if that resolves the issue.

Your Next Steps

It's important to keep your menu simple and easy to navigate. Too many options can overwhelm visitors and make it difficult for them to find what they're looking for.

Your next step is to outline what you want your blog navigation to look like. Map it out in Canva, on paper, on your phone… it doesn't matter – whatever works for your brain!

After it's mapped out, use this post to walk you through exactly how to update your WordPress menu.

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