Where do I go to update my menu structure?

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From the backend: Appearance > Menus

After our previous post about organizing your site navigation to provide the best usability for your users, we thought a walk-through of the backend of the menu-editor was in order. When it comes to making sure the information on your site is accessible, having your menu structured neatly is the first and most important step.

Fortunately, doing this is really easy, once you know where to look. From your backend, go down to where it says “Appearance,” (next to the paintbrush icon) and from those options you should be able to spot an item labeled “menus”.

That’s the one you want. Click on it.

Selecting the correct menu

Once there, you’ll be able to see how your menu items are currently ordered. By default, the first menu you see will be the main menu, but if you’d like to edit a different menu you can do so by going to the top, selecting the menu you’d like to change, and clicking “select.”

From here it is also possible to create a new menu, but we don’t recommend having more than the primary, secondary, and quick links menus already listed, as more menus usually just means a more cluttered and difficult-to-navigate website. (This is definitely a less-is-more kind of situation.)

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Change the menu you edit.

Re-ordering menu items

With your appropriate menu selected, you should see something like this:

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Pages to the left, menu order on the right.

Your top-level navigation items appear here as the “About” and “Student” pages, with their second-tier items indented under them. You can drag and drop these to re-arrange. To add a new page to your menu navigation, simply find and select it from the “pages” box on the left and click “Add to Menu.”

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Navigation labels can also be easily re-named.

Newly-added pages will appear at the bottom of your menu list as top-tier navigation items with their navigation label the same as the page title. You can easily edit the navigation label without changing the page title if appropriate, and you can add the same page multiple times if you would like it to appear under separate menus.

Of course, common sense applies to everything here: make sure your menu items have intuitive names, and that pages listed under them deserve to be there.

Link to external sites

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Link to external sites.

Let’s say you want to add a link to an external site. Don’t worry, that’s not a problem! Under “Pages” you’ll find an expandable section listed as “Custom Links.” Simply paste the URL you’d like to link to into the appropriate field and give it a name in the field labeled “Link Text.”

Click “Add to Menu,” then arrange it like any other menu item in your menu structure.

Usually when you add a link that navigates away from your site, you’ll want to make sure it opens in a new window. To do this, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve checked the “Link Target” box in the “Screen Options” field at the top of your page. This is a little hidden, but you’ll find it if you go to the absolute top of your page.

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Look for “Screen Options” at the very top of your page.

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Check “Open link in a new tab” to keep visitors on your site.

Under “Show advanced menu properties,” check the box that says “Link Target.” Now, when you go down to the menu items, under the section where you can re-name a menu label, you should see a check box that says “Open link in a new tab.” Check that box, and any time someone clicks that link it will open in a new tab instead of navigating them away from your site.

These are the basics, but as you can see, editing your menu comes with a lot of flexibility and customizability. You don’t have to use a lot of these options, but we’ll take the time to walk you through some of them in future posts in case you want to use them.

Still struggling? We’re always happy to help: send us an email!

Published 03/03/16 by Laura Lynch