Use WordPress.com Menu Customization to Power Your Site Navigation

jonathan Bossenger / August 12, 2019

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Have you ever considered how your site navigation affects what your visitors do? Using the WordPress.com menu customization tools and building effective menu navigation makes it easier for someone to find what they’re looking for; it’s also a key factor in great SEO.

WordPress.com menu basics

WordPress.com menu customization is much simpler than it sounds. To edit your site navigation, you need to access the WordPress.com Customizer by clicking Design and then Customize in the My Site screen.

Customize

With the Customizer open, you will see the menu on the left and the live preview on the right. You can either click on Menus or click on the blue pencil icon next to the menu in the preview.

WordPress.com Customizer

First, create a menu using the Create New Menu button. Give it a name and select the menu location. Menu locations are determined by your theme. The theme creator will add menu locations to the theme, and you can add menus to those menu locations. You can also add navigation menus to any of the widget areas your theme provides. If you prefer to add your menu to a widget, you can skip this step.

Add Menu

Once you’ve created your menu, you can add items to your menu using the Add Items button. This slides open a new section, and lists the items that you can add. To add links, pages, posts, or categories, find the one you want from the list and click on the + symbol. You can also create custom links by adding a custom URL and the link text and then clicking the Add to Menu button.

menu customization

After adding your menu items to your menu, you can click and drag each item to reorder the menu, or click Publish to take the menu live.

WordPress.com menu best practices

Here’s how good menu navigation structure improves your site’s user experience and SEO.

Main Menu

Usually, in the top header of your site, the main menu location is a good place to add a menu that contains links to your high-level content areas, such as the home page, the About page, and the Contact page. If you offer a service or sell products, adding “Hire me” or “Shop now” calls to action to the menu is a great way to direct visitors to your service or product. Any important page is perfect for this menu location, but be careful to not overload it. A good rule of thumb is to stick to five to 10 menu items.

Sidebar

Sidebar menu locations — either defined in your theme or if you use a widget — are useful for adding menus that contain lists of the same content. Examples include a list of recent posts or a list of post categories. If you just need a menu with a list of recent posts or post categories, WordPress.com comes pre-loaded with specific widgets for these options, but it’s useful to know that you can also create a custom menu to add to the widget areas.

Footer

Footer menu locations are perfect for multiple menus and hierarchical menus. More complex navigation menus can together serve as a sitemap. They’re useful to your visitors looking to explore your site on a deeper level, and also for the search engines that are indexing your site.

Great site navigation ensures that anyone can easily find their way around your site, including the search engines.

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