The WordPress Menu Manager found on the Dashboard under “Appearance” >> “Menus” can be used to create custom menus that can be used with widgets, see Custom Menu Widget Tutorial and for creating custom navigation menus many WordPress Themes use.
You can check if your WordPress theme includes support for custom WordPress navigation menus under “Appearance” >> “Menus” : “Manage Locations”.
Most newer WordPress themes include support for WP Nav menu theme locations to replace the older style automated WordPress navigation menu: older themes would add all Static Pages to the navigation menu with limited options for customization.
WordPress Theme Custom Navigation Menus
Stallion Responsive for example includes four WordPress Navigation Menus
Other WordPress themes might have a single theme location, usually the main navigation area below the header area.
If you haven’t already created a custom menu under “Appearance” >> “Menus” we’ll have to make one first.
After following this WP Nav menu tutorial your “Appearance” >> “Menus” : “Manage Locations” page should look something like this:
WP Nav Menu
Go to “Appearance” >> “Menus” and if there’s no custom menus already created add the name of a new WP nav menu in the “Menu Name” form and click the “Create Menu” button, or;
If there are already existing menus first click the “create a new menu” link followed by adding the name of your new menu within the “Menu Name” form and click the “Create Menu” button.
I’m going to make a custom menu called “Navmenu” (call it anything unique) for use as the main Stallion Responsive Theme navigation menu (the menu that’s just below the header) that’s loaded in the “Theme Location : Primary Navigation”.
After clicking the “Create Menu” button we’ll have an empty Custom Menu called Navmenu ready for adding links.
I’ve ticked a few Static Pages I want adding to my main navigation menu and ticked theme location “Primary Navigation” ready to add those links and set the theme location.
After clicking “Add to Menu” (on the left) and the blue “Save Menu” button on the right we’ll have a new custom menu with three links (to Static Pages) that’s used as the Stallion Primary Navigation menu.
Which to your visitors would look something like this:
Looks OK, but it’s only three links and it almost fills the width of the screen (1,000px wide on a desktop PC). If I added more links it would look a mess, fortunately custom WP nav menus can be further customized including modifying the anchor text and adding dropdown options as you see on the menu for this site.
Below is a screenshot of my finished Primary Navigation menu (as it was May 2014) for this site.
What I did was add three top level menu items:
A custom link with anchor text : SEO WordPress Theme
This has two sub pages that are accessed by hovering over the anchor text “SEO WordPress Theme”
A Static Page with anchor text : WordPress SEO Tutorial 2014
This has ten sub pages that are accessed by hovering over the anchor text “WordPress SEO Tutorial 2014”
Two more Static Pages (Recent Comments and Sitemap) with no sub pages.
You may have noticed there’s a mixture of link types within my primary navigation menu that’s NOT available on your WordPress setup. WordPress by default doesn’t show Posts or Tags on the WordPress Menu Manager admin pages!
To access all link types under “Appearance” >> “Menus” click the “Screen Options” button that’s at the top right hand corner of the screen and tick all the options you want access to.
I haven’t ticked the advanced menu properties Link Target, CSS Classes, Link Relationship (XFN) or Description because I haven’t used them for this site.
Having access to Categories and Posts (I don’t use Tags on this site and don’t know what Format does) means like with Static Pages and Custom Links I can add Posts and Categories to my nav menus.
DropDown WordPress Menu
You’ll note from the screenshots above I’ve added drop down support (one leel deep) in my primary navigation menu. This is easy to achieve, to add a drop down menu link, drag and drop a link under another link, but dragged slightly to the right and it will only be available as a drop down menu item.
Depending on your theme you can have multiple levels of drop down links, though if you added a 10 level deep drop down menu it won’t fit on the page. I haven’t added any beyond level one for this site, but with Stallion there’s not really a limit, you could have 5+ levels deep like you see in my example below, though that didn’t quite fit on the page, the Level 5 link was just off the page.
Nav Menu Theme Options
With the Stallion Responsive and Stallion WordPress SEO Themes the Primary Navigation Menu can be completely disabled under “Stallion Theme” >> “Layout Options” : “Navigation Menu”.