How to create and update a wordpress navigation menu

Here’s a quick “how to” video showing you the basic concepts (below the video are step by step instructions).

Creating and updating a WordPress menu is an important step in making a website which is easy to navigate. Typically, when you create pages in WordPress they’re not added to the menu automatically, so we need to create the menu which shows how to get to the pages you’ve made. This blog shows you how to create such a navigation menu. Let’s start at the beginning:

Step 1: Login to your website’s dashboard.

Just a quick aside on what may seem like a mundane issue to you. It is important that your username is something OTHER than admin. If it is admin, that means that all a hacker has to do is figure out your password in order to get into your website. You might want to check out some of the important things that Penner Web Design does to make sure that your website is kept secure. We have a web security package which you might be interested. You can explore it here:
https://pennerwebdesign.com/wordpress-web-security/

 

Step 2: Make sure your menu isn’t collapsed

If your menu only shows icons in a vertical row, click on the right arrow at the bottom of it (see it at left) and your menu will appear with words on it. That’s a bit easier to follow.

Step 3: Create your pages

Generally the menu you create will point to pages you have created. If you have already created pages, you can see them by passing the cursor over the ‘Pages’ item in the menu list at the left and selecting ‘All Pages’.

If you haven’t created any pages in your WordPress website, find out how you can do that here: https://pennerwebdesign.com/blog/how-to-update-a-page-in-wordpress/

Step 4: Go to the section of WordPress where you control the menus

 

Now that you know how to create page, create 4 of them. Call them Home, About Us, Contact and Sample Page.

Next, pass your cursor over the word ‘Appearance’ (see left).  A ‘flyout’ menu appears. Click on the word ‘Menus’ to go to the menu control area of WordPress.

 

 

 

Step 5: Name your Menu

Type the name that you want to give to your menu in the blank space beside the words “Menu Name“. Then click on the blue ‘Create Menu’ button.

Step 6: Select your Menu Settings

Usually you want the menu you are creating to be the ‘Top Menu’. Click on the little box to the left of the words ‘Top Menu’ and then click on the blue ‘Save Menu’ button.

Note: Some themes will refer to this type of menu as a ‘primary menu’ or ‘header menu’ or some similar term instead of ‘Top Menu’. Some themes will have different places where your menu appears and this is where you determine that.

Step 7: Select the pages you want on your menu

You will see the Most Recent pages that you have added to WordPress by default. If you have a lot of pages added over a period of time, you may have to click on the ‘View All’ tab.

We only have 4 pages in our little website. We want to add all of them to our menu. So click beside each page name to put a check mark there, and then click  the ‘Add to Menu’ button as shown on the left.

(A short cut would have been to click ‘Select All’ and then the ‘Add to Menu’ button.)

 

Step 8: Save your menu

Click on the blue ‘Save Menu’ button on the right side of the page. This is a very important step because if you navigate away from the page without saving, everything is lost!

 

Step 9: Dragging Menu Items Around: Submenus and Reordering

Sometimes you want a menu item to ‘drop down’ from the main menu items you created above.  To create a submenu item click and drag that menu item slightly to the right. In the illustration at the left, I have made ‘Contact’ a submenu underneath ‘Home Page’. Do that.

Similarly, if you want to reorder the menu items so that  ‘About Us’ appears first in the menu list, you would click and drag that menu item to the top. Try that now, then click ‘Save’, and refresh your web page to see the result (shown below).  Note that ‘contact’ is a drop-down menu item under ‘Home’ and that ‘About Us’ is the first menu item on the list.

Step 10: Editing Menu Items

Let’s suppose you want to change the name of the ‘About Us’ menu item to say only ‘About’.

Go back to the section in WordPress where you control the menus. (See Step 4 above). As shown at the left, click on the little down arrow on the far right side of the ‘About Us’ menu item. This reveals  all of the details about this menu item. Now in the Navigation Label area, change About Us to About.  (Don’t actually do this.)

NOTE: This window is also handy if you want to remove a menu item. All you do is click on  ‘Remove’ at the bottom left.

 

Step 11 Adding Posts and Links

 

If you have posts on your website, you can go to the page from which the menus are controlled, click on the little down arrow on the far right of the ‘Posts’ and it will display the most recent posts you have. You can add them to your menu in the same way as you added pages.

 

 

In addition, you can add links to pages on other websites. You can do that by clicking on the little down arrow at the end of ‘Custom Links’. This allows you to add links to whatever website you like by typing in the URL. At the left, I’m adding the URL for Google and clicking ‘Add to Menu’.

If you did all of this and changed the ‘Home’ menu item back to the top of the list, your final menu should look like what is shown below:

 

Enjoy working with WordPress menus and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me!

 
For all you bloggers out there, this is a pretty cool shirt.

WordPress Web Security

Recently a client of mine called in a panic. His website had been hacked, AND he had a malware infection on his website, AND he had been blacklisted.  Not a good situation!  Not only was it an extremely disturbing situation for him personally and professionally, but all of the web clientele he had carefully built up over the years were also in jeopardy should they manage somehow to get in contact with his infected site.

Web security is a huge issue. Forbes magazine recently ran an article listing huge cyber-security breaches in 5 well know firms. This website repels at least 500 attempted user logins every day. Your website should be well protected against this kind of attack. Because the havoc that can ensue, should such an attack be successful, is not something you want to deal with.

There are many excellent articles on WordPress Website Security. Here is one at copyblogger and another one at WordPress codex itself. Here at Penner Web Design, I have just implemented a new Website Security Service, which will severely cut the chances that a hacker can get into your website. I hope you will take advantage of this extremely valuable service!

(Oh, and in case your wondering, my friend had not subscribed to my Website Security Service.)

Customizing a WordPress Theme

WordPress is an amazing tool. It allows you to choose from thousands of themes, both free and premium. If you’re not too picky, you’ll find a theme that is perfect for you and your business. What is not easy about WordPress, is doing a custom theme. If you have a design that you made in photoshop, it’s not an easy thing to make WordPress play nice with it. So you have two choices.

  1. Spend 6 months learning the ins and outs of the wordpress system, learning CSS, html, javascript and php. If you know those things, it should be a piece of make.
  2. Or you can Contact me and I’ll help you get a quote for what you need.

I can take pretty much any psd and make it into a custom wordpress theme. Prices vary, but you’re looking at anywhere from $500 – $1000 (as of December, 2011) to create a custom theme from your photoshop design. If I see your design, and talk with you on the phone, I can give you a firm price. And I’ll get it done in record time.

New Favorite WordPress Plugin, “Post Content Shortcodes”

I was showing a client her new site. She was loving it. Everything was going very smoothly. I showed her how to update pages, create pages, edit the menu – she was in love. Everything was going splendidly. I was happy, and more importantly, my client was happy. Then came a bombshell.

“I need my site to say the same thing on a lot of different pages, and I don’t want to have to edit 6 pages that say the same thing. where do I edit that content?”

My heart sank. In my head I was thinking “I have no idea… and I told you at the beginning that wordpress doesn’t do that.” But I maintained my composure and told her I would look into it – knowing full well that this would take hours and hours of research on how to do something that I’ve never done before. She said she needed to be able to edit a page in one place and have it change across multiple pages across her site. Not possible, at least that’s what I thought.

Little did I know, but there is a beautiful plugin called “Post Content Shortcodes“. Once installed, all you need to do is create a post or page with the content that you need repeated throughout the site. Then you paste a short piece of code wherever you want that content to show up.

So if you have your store hours in 25 different places througout your site (and it’s not in the header or footer), think about how annoying it would be to change them all. It would probably take you an hour just to change your hours of operation. With Post Content Shortcodes, it will take you 30 seconds to change it in 25 places. Brilliant. I’ll definitely be using this again.

How to Update a Page in WordPress

Go to your login page: http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
You should come to a page that has this login screen:

login

Enter your username and password.

Click on Pages in the left hand column of your WordPress admin area.

Pages

You will be taken to a listing of all the pages in the website. You may need to page through to find the one you are looking for. When you find the page you want to update, click on it. From here you can do most everything you need to do. Use the formatting tools to change the size of the font and to make other changes, just like using microsoft word.

To Make a Link, Highlight the text you want to make a link. Click on the link button at the top (it looks like a chain link). A box will pop up. If you are linking to an external page, enter the address in the URL box. If you are linking to another page on the website, select that page from the list. Press Add Link.

When you are ready to publish, you’ll want to find the Publish box on the top right side of your page. Choose the Update button.

Edits

It’s as easy as that.

Still having problems? Give me a call and I can help you out. 919-724-4417.

Or if you’re having larger problems: request a quote

Maybe you are the type of person that would rather read a guide book?  Check out this WordPress for Beginners book on Amazon.