Organize Your WordPress Blog Using the Menu Bar

There’s a lot that goes into a well-designed WordPress blog. It has to look good, have a focus, be intuitive, and organized. By organized, I mean the content has to be easy to find; not just the last ten posts, all of the posts. If a person can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave. As the blog owner, it’s your job to make sure the content is organized, and the best way to do that is with a menu bar that breaks the content into menu items.

The menu bar usually sits in the upper section of your blog when viewed on a PC, it’s probably a tap away on the Menu button for the mobile version.

Getting Started

Everybody has their own way of organizing their content: tags, categories, or a mix of the two. As long as you use either categories or tags, you’re halfway to getting your blog organized. If you don’t, then go through your posts and assign them to categories, which is the easiest way to start.

Once you have your categories and tags set, you can begin making the menu bar. To add menu items to your menu bar, go to your blog (make sure you’re logged in to WordPress) and click on Customize in the bottom, right corner. The Customize menu will appear on the left side of the screen. Choose Menus > Primary.

Add item button

Click on the Add Items button, then a new panel with options for adding menu items will appear. You can add items to the menu bar by Custom Links, Pages, Categories, Tags, and Format. If you have an About page (and you should), you can add it to the menu bar under Pages. While you’re adding a page, you may as well also add your contact page. Just click on the + and the item will appear at the bottom of the menu items to the left.

It’s really that easy. Add some categories and tags. You may have to use the search bar at the top of the Add Items panel, especially if you have a ton of tags. Don’t worry about the list getting too long, you’ll organize them into categories with sub-categories soon enough.

Because the menu bar utilizes CSS, you don’t have to worry about capitalization for tags or categories.

If your theme doesn’t specify the way a sub-menu item appears, you can add capitols by clicking on the downward pointing triangle and change it under Navigation Label.

Using Sub-menus

Your menu bar might look like an endless stream of content, so now you need to think about the main menu items and which items need to become sub-menu items. Keep it simple and think about the main topics of your posts and use them for the main menu. For instance, I post mostly about publishing, mobile photography, blogging and technology. Those are my main menu items. I can easily break publishing and mobile photography into sub-menus (i.e. Snapseed and Photos will be sub-menus for Mobile Photography). Take a peek at the menu bar for this blog if you’re having a difficult time visualizing sub-menus.

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Click on the Reoder link and use the arrow buttons to position the menu items where you want them. Sub-menu items will appear indented under the main menu item. See below. And yes, a sub-menu can have a sub-menu.

Menu with sub-menu

Remove Unwanted Items

Once you have your menu bar organized, you may end up with some items you no longer need. Just click on the upside down triangle to the right of the menu item, then click on the red Remove link at the bottom of the panel and it will be gone. You can always get it back with the Add Item button.

Check Out Your Menus

Before you put your menu design to rest, go to your blog and check out each menu to make sure all the posts you want displayed are there. You may have to go into specific posts and change some tags and categories. I had a few posts that were excessively tagged and ended up in the wrong places.

What I Learned from Organizing the Menu Bar

Once I was done organizing the menu bar, it dawned on me that I have way too many tags. When I first started this blog, I used tags without thinking. I wanted my blog to be found, and I thought tags were the bomb. I now realize how foolish that was. My next blog project is going to be cleaning up the tags so I can use them only for sub-menu items.

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