The recent versions of WordPress offer you the new Custom WordPress Menus function to set up a navigation menu. The Menus can be created with pages and categories, and include hyperlinks. You can also sort them anyway you want.
These new WordPress menus are very flexible and are especially useful if you want to create a static website. You can have different custom menus to show different navigational elements.
How To Create WordPress Menus
To create such a menu go to Appearance -> Menu and first put in the name of the menu you want to create. Then push Save! this is important because you cannot place any links until you save the menu first.
Best practice for Menu naming is to give it the name where you want to use it, or what content you want to put in to it. I use Top Menu, Page Menu and Category menu’s for example.
After you saved your menu, you could get extra fields on the left hand side of the screen. If your theme supports it, you will see Theme Location Menu options like Primary navigation. You can have that new menu replace the theme default menu if you use that option.
Now you can add you pages or categories to the menu, select them on the left side and choose Add to Menu option. Hint: Under pages select View All first so you can select Home as well.
Once you added the page to the menu, you can sort them by dragging them to the right place and even drag them to a child page position. Click save when you are done and your first menu is ready.
Now create another menu for your categories and add the topics you like to show.
Showing Your WordPress Menus
You need to get your WordPress menus into your layout and bring the navigation structure to the front of your website.
The menu’s you just created are shown via Widgets, so go to the Widgets page first via Appearance -> Widgets. Look for the widget that is called Custom Menu and drag that to your primary sidebar (or the widgets position you want to use).
If you open that widgets you can give it a title and select the menu you created from a drop-down menu.
You can use more then one Custom Menu widget on your site, just make sure you create a good navigation for your users.
If you want to make a WordPress website instead of a Blog, these custom menu’s are the way to go!
Special Custom Menu Options
In the custom menu creation screen you also saw another option called Custom Links. With custom links you can have a link in your menu that points directly to another website. Just give it a name, put in the hyperlink you want it to point to and add it to the menu of you choice.
You can also use this option to create a Non Linked menu item. A possible use could be that you want a section divider in your menu. To do this you use the custom menu option. Label it by using the Name you want to use and for the hyperlink you use http://# add it to your menu in the postion you want to show it. Save the menu.
Open that menu item and remove the URL option and save the menu again. Now you have a menu item that is not linked.
Title Attributes and Custom Menu Fields
With any Menu item you can edit some extra options, with the most prominent one being the Title Attribute. The Navigation label is the name that is shown in the menu, the title attribute is shown if you hover over that menu item.
If you create a page menu, you could have very long titles in you menu items. By reducing / renaming the Navigation Label you can improved the menu option and if you put the longer page title in the Title Attribute your have the best navigation for your visitors.
There are a few extra special options which are not shown by default. If you want to see and use them, use the Screen Options on the right hand top corner and select the extra options you want to see.
This will show you the extra options.
Most of use will not use these options, but its good to know they are there.
If you can think of other cool things you can do with Custom WordPress Menus that please share it in the comments below.