Organizing Your Content and Navigation

Navigation Menu

Your navigation menu allows your visitors to reach the pages on your website. It automatically contains all of your published pages. You should give your pages meaningful, concise titles and organize them in a logical manner.

Changing the Position of Your Navigation Menu

If you have one navigation menu and you are using a Genesis theme, you may be able to change the position of your navigation menu by showing it in the secondary navigation menu position instead of the primary navigation position. To do this, go to the Genesis > Theme Settings menu, turn off your primary navigation menu, and turn on your secondary navigation menu. Then go to the Appearance > Menus screen, where you can go to the Theme Locations panel in the upper left. Set the Primary Navigation Menu blank and set the Secondary Navigation Menu to your custom menu.

Customizing Your Navigation Menu

Most WordPress themes use custom menus to handle the website navigation. When your website uses custom menus, you must go to the Appearance > Menus screen in order to make any changes to your navigation menu. When you create a new page, it might not appear within your website navigation.

The Appearance > Menus screen allows you to add navigation items, re-order navigation items, change your navigation menu hierarchy (which navigation items appear in drop-down menus), add custom links (to other pages on your site or to external URLs), and change the display names for navigation items (if you do not want the display names to be the same as the page names).

Creating Navigation Menus

The custom menu system allows you to create multiple navigation menus. Some themes can display more than one at the same time.

However, most websites will only need one navigation menu. To create a menu, go to the Appearance > Menus screen. If you are creating a navigation menu for the first time, you can immediately start working in the right hand panel. If you already have a navigation menu and want to create another, just click the “+” tab to create your new menu. The first thing you need to do is give your navigation menu a name, such as “Primary Navigation.” After adding the navigation items you want (see the following section), you may want to check the box to automatically add top-level pages to your navigation menu as they are created. When you are finished, click the Save Menu button.

Adding and Editing Navigation Menu Items

You can add navigation items from the Pages panel by checking the boxes next to the pages and clicking the Add to Menu button. They will then be added to the right hand panel. You can select all pages by clicking the Select/Deselect All button or the Select All link. The most recent pages will be displayed, but you may also want to use the View All tab to see all of your pages. If you have a lot of pages, you may want to use the Search tab. You can do the same thing with your post categories by using the Categories panel.

Once you have added the items you want, you may want to change the order in which they appear on your site. You can do this by dragging and dropping the items in the right hand panel. You can also make certain pages appear as sub-menus by dragging them below and slightly to the right of the item you want as a parent menu. They will appear indented in the right hand panel when they are in a sub-menu. You can have multiple levels of sub-menus.

You can also add custom links to your navigation menu. These can link to other pages on your website or to outside websites. Just go to the Custom Links panel, type in the URL and the label you want to use, and click the Add to Menu button.

To edit or remove a navigation item, click the downward-pointing arrow next to the navigation label. A panel will open up where you can change the navigation label, the title attribute (the text that appears when hovering over the navigation item), the URL if it is a custom link, or remove the navigation item from the menu.

When you are finished, make sure to click the Save Menu button.

Page Hierarchy (Sub-Pages)

If you want a page to appear inside a drop-down menu, you must edit that page. Find the Page Attributes panel in the right-hand column, and in the Parent drop-down, select the “Parent” page – the page that you want the currently edited page to appear underneath. You can have multiple levels in your page hierarchy. The visible (top-level or first-level) navigation items are typically referred to as parent pages, and their initially hidden drop-down (lower-level) navigation items are referred to as child pages.

Posts cannot be organized in hierarchies. However, they can be assigned to categories, which in turn can be organized into hierarchies.

Page Order in the Backend (Pages Menu)

Go to the Pages > Page Order menu to change the order in which your pages appear. You can also assign child pages through this menu. If you do not see the Pages > Page Order menu item, check to make sure the CMS Page Order plugin is activated.