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How to Add a WordPress Menu: A Step By Step Guide.

Looking for a step-by-step guide to add WordPress Menu to your website? Adding a menu in WordPress helps visitors quickly access your most important pages, enhancing their overall experience on your site. While the built-in WordPress menu editor is powerful, it can be a bit tricky for beginners. 

Whether new to WordPress or looking to improve your site, creating a well-organized menu should be one of your top priorities.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step guide to add a WordPress menu. We’ll also explain how a well-structured menu can improve navigation and make it easier for visitors to find the content they need.

What is a WordPress Menu?

A menu, also known as a navigation menu, is a list of links directing visitors to key areas of a website. Typically, these menus appear as a horizontal bar of links at the top of each page on a WordPress site.

Menus provide structure to your site and assist visitors in finding what they need. WordPress makes it simple to create menus and sub-menus, allowing you to add links to important pages, categories, blog posts, and even custom links like social media profiles.

The placement of your menu depends on your WordPress theme. Most themes offer several options, enabling you to create different menus for various locations. For example, many themes include a primary menu at the top, and some may offer a secondary menu, a footer menu, or a mobile navigation menu as well.

The Purpose of a Menu

The purpose of a menu on a website is to provide a clear and intuitive way for users to navigate and find the information they need. It’s akin to a map, guiding visitors through the site. 

A well-designed menu enhances the user experience, encouraging visitors to stay longer and explore more content, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

Poor navigation can significantly detract from the user experience, ranking as the third most critical issue after slow loading times and lack of responsiveness. Even the best design cannot compensate for a site that is difficult to navigate.

Creating Your First Custom Navigation Menu

Creating a custom navigation menu in WordPress is straightforward and can significantly enhance your website’s user experience by organizing content and making it easily accessible. Follow these steps to create your first custom navigation menu:

Step 1. Access your WordPress dashboard  

a screenshot WordPress menu

Log in to your WordPress admin area by navigating to `` and entering your credentials.

Step 2. Navigate to the Menus section 

a screenshot showing how to navigate menu section

In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance > Menus.

Step 3. Create a new menu

a screenshot showing how to add WordPress Menu

Click on the Create a new menu link at the top of the page. Give your menu a name, such as “Main Menu” or “Header Menu,” and click the Create Menu button.

Step 4. Add items to your menu  

a screenshot showing how to add items on menu

On the left side of the Menus page, you will see sections for ‘Pages,’ ‘Posts,’ ‘Custom Links,’ and ‘Categories.’ Expand the section you want to add items from by clicking on the arrow next to the title. Select the items you want to add to your menu by checking the boxes next to their names and then click the Add to Menu button.

Step 5. Organize your menu items

a screenshot showing how to organize menu items

After adding items to your menu, arrange them by dragging and dropping them into the desired order. You can create sub-items by dragging an item slightly to the right under another item, which will create a dropdown menu.

Step 6. Set the display location

a screenshot about menu settings

In the Menu Settings section at the bottom of the page, select the location where you want your custom navigation menu to appear. Common locations include ‘Primary Menu,’ ‘Header Menu,’ or ‘Footer Menu,’ depending on your theme’s available menu locations.

Step 7. Save your menu

A screenshot showing how to save menus after creating and adding items

Click the Save Menu button to save your custom navigation menu.

Step 8. Preview your menu  

Visit your website to see your new custom navigation menu in action. If needed, you can always return to the Menu page to adjust the menu items or their order. 

Note: Menus are displayed in a vertical list in the editor but may appear vertically or horizontally on your site, depending on the chosen location. Most themes offer several locations for menus.

Tip: If you’re unsure about each location, save the menu in different places and check your site to see how it looks. You might want to use more than one location.

Creating Drop-Down Menus in WordPress

Drop-down menus, or nested menus, have parent and child items. To create a submenu:

1. Add a Submenu Item

Drag an item below the parent item and slightly to the right. 

2. Multiple Layers

You can add multiple layers of dropdowns, but keep in mind that many themes do not support multi-layer drop-down menus, and they can look cluttered.

Adding Categories to WordPress Menus

If you run a blog, you might want to add blog categories as a drop-down in your menu:

1. Access Categories

Click the Categories tab on the left side of the menu screen. You may need to click the View All tab to see all categories.

2. Add Categories to Menu

Select the categories you want and click the Add to Menu button.

3. Arrange Categories

The categories will appear at the bottom of the menu. Drag and drop them into the desired position.

Adding Custom Links to Your WordPress Navigation Menus

In addition to categories and pages, WordPress allows you to easily add custom links to your menu. This feature can be used to link to your social media profiles, online store, or other websites you own.

To add a custom link, go to the ‘Custom Links’ tab on the Menu screen. Enter the URL and the link text, then click the ‘Add to Menu’ button.

You can also enhance your menu by adding social media icons or call-to-action buttons to boost conversions.

How to Edit or Remove a Menu Item in WordPress Navigation Menus

Editing or removing menu items in WordPress navigation menus is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to modify your WordPress navigation menu:

1. Log in to Your WordPress Dashboard 

Access your WordPress admin area by entering your login credentials.

2. Navigate to Appearance > Menus

a screenshot showing how to access menus from appearance in the WordPress dashboard

In the left sidebar of the dashboard, hover over Appearance and click on Menus. This will take you to the Menus page where you can manage your site’s navigation menus.

3. Select the Menu to Edit

If you have multiple menus, choose the one you want to edit from the “Select a menu to edit” dropdown and click the Select button.

4. Locate the Menu Item

On the Menus page, you’ll see a list of menu items under the selected menu. Locate the menu item you want to edit or remove.

5. Edit the Menu Item

To edit a menu item, click on the downward arrow located on the right side of the menu item’s title. This will expand the menu item’s options. Here, you can edit the Navigation Label (the text displayed in the menu) and the Title Attribute (the tooltip text that appears when a user hovers over the menu item). After making the desired changes, click the Save Menu button to save your changes.

6. Remove the Menu Item

If you want to remove a menu item, click on the downward arrow located on the right side of the menu item’s title to expand its options. Then, click on the Remove link at the bottom left of the menu item’s options. The menu item will be immediately removed from the menu. Click the Save Menu button to save your changes.

Adding Navigation Menus in the Full Site Editor (FSE)

The full site editor, introduced in WordPress 5.9, lets you customize themes using the block editor. To add a navigational menu, go to Appearance » Editor in your dashboard.

Click on the ‘Navigation’ tab to expand it, then click the ‘Edit’ icon at the top. This opens the full site editor, where you can click the ‘+’ icon to add a navigation menu item. Choose an option from the dropdown menu or add a custom link by entering a label and URL in the block panel. You can also add a search option to your menu.

After adding an item, switch to the ‘Styles’ tab to customize typography, appearance, height, spacing, letter case, and text decoration. To add a submenu, click its icon in the block toolbar. Preview your changes and click ‘Save’ when you’re done.

Adding WordPress Menus in Sidebars and Footers

Enhancing your website’s navigation by adding menus to sidebars and footers can significantly improve user experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do this in WordPress:

Step 1: Create a Custom Menu

1. Navigate to your WordPress dashboard.

2. Go to Appearance > Menus.

3. Click the ‘Create a new menu’ link.

4. Give your menu a name.

5. Click the Create Menu button.

Step 2: Add Items to the Menu

1. On the Menus page, you’ll see options on the left such as pages, posts, custom links, and categories.

2. Select the items you want to add to your menu.

3. Click the Add to Menu button.

4. Drag and drop the items to arrange them as desired.

Step 3: Save the Menu

1. Once you’ve added and arranged the items, click the Save Menu button to save your custom menu.

Step 4: Add the Menu to the Sidebar or Footer

1. Go to Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress dashboard.

2. Locate the Navigation Menu widget in the list of available widgets.

Step 5: Add the Navigation Menu Widget

1. Drag and drop the Navigation Menu widget into the sidebar or footer widget area where you want the menu to appear.

2. Give the widget a title (optional).

3. Select the custom menu you created earlier from the drop-down list.

Step 6: Save the Widget Settings

1. Click the Save button to save your widget settings.

2. Your custom menu will now appear in the selected sidebar or footer area on your website.

Tips for Creating Effective Menus

✔Keep it Simple

Limit the number of items to avoid clutter. Prioritize the most essential pages.

✔Use Descriptive Labels

Make sure menu items are clear and easy to understand.

✔Include a Search Bar

Add a search bar if your theme allows, to help visitors find content quickly.

✔Test Responsiveness

Ensure your menu looks and works well on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.

✔Prioritize Key Items

Place the most important menu items at the beginning or end of the menu to make them more noticeable.

✔Utilize Dropdowns Sparingly

Use dropdown menus for subcategories to keep the main menu clean, but avoid too many levels of nested menus which can overwhelm users.

✔Consistent Design

Maintain a consistent design and style for your menu across all pages to provide a seamless user experience.

✔Highlight Active Pages

Indicate the current page or section to help users understand where they are within the site.

✔Use Visual Cues

Incorporate icons or images alongside text to make navigation more intuitive.

✔Limit the Number of Items

Aim for no more than 7-9 items in your main menu to avoid cognitive overload.

✔Accessible Navigation

Ensure that your menu is accessible to all users, including those using screen readers or keyboard navigation.

✔Monitor Analytics

Use website analytics to track how users interact with your menu and make adjustments based on their behavior and preferences.


By following the beginner’s guide above and applying the provided tips, you can easily create a visually appealing WordPress menu tailored to your audience’s needs. As you become more comfortable with WordPress, you’ll discover many additional features and plugins that can further enhance your site’s navigation and overall user experience. With your new WordPress menu in place, you’ll be able to better engage visitors, highlight your content effectively, and create a positive experience for everyone who visits your site.


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