How do I make a navigation bar?

Most WordPress themes have a navigation bar that runs across the top of the site. Some themes such as Twenty Fourteen have a navigation bar down the left or right hand side of the site.

Twenty Sixteen theme with top navigation bar and custom menu in sidebar

To create a new navigation bar or menu

In the WordPress Dashboard. Go to…

  • Appearance > Menus
  • Click the text link, near the top of the page, that says “create a new menu”.
  • Type a name for your menu in the Menu Name: box.
  • Click the Create Menu button.

Create a new menu in WordPress

Then you can add links

Once you have created your menu you can add links. There is an easy point and click option to add menu items to…

  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Categories

To add a link to your menu…

You can add links to pages, posts, category listings or make custom links to any web page anywhere on the web.

In this example I’m linking to one of my own blog posts.

  • Click the Posts tab.
  • Tick the box for the post you want to link to.
  • Click the Add to Menu button.
  • Save the menu.

Your menu now has a link to that particular post.

Adding a post to a WordPress menu

The categories option links to a blog style listing. If you link to a category, the page you see after clicking the link would show a list of all of the posts in that particular category.

Custom Links

Using WordPress menus you can link to any web page inside or outside of your website.

Go to…

  • Appearance > Menus
  • Choose the Custom Links option.
  • Paste the URL of the web page in the URL box.
  • Type the text the user will click into the Link Text box.
  • Click the Add to Menu button.
  • Save your menu.

You can make more than one menu

Suppose you wanted to have your main menu in navigation bar across the top of your site. But wanted an extra menu in the sidebar that linked to different pages, posts, categories etc.

  • Follow the instructions above to add a new, second menu to your site.
  • Add a different set of links to this second menu.
  • Always remember to save your menu.

Placing your menu in the top navigation bar, sidebar or footer areas

There are two ways to display navigation menus in your site.

To add the main navigation bar.

This could be across the top or down the side of your site. To your site visitors, the main navbar usually looks like a set of buttons.

  • Go to… Appearance > Menus > Manage locations.
    After clicking the manage locations tab you will see some thing like this…
  • “Your theme supports 2 menus. Select which menu appears in each location”.
  • Select one of the menus you have already made form the drop down list.
  • Save your changes. Then test your site to see if you used the correct menu. If not, go back and change it.

Choose the menu to use for your main navigation bar in WordPress using Manage Locations tab

Put a navigation bar (menu) in the sidebar or footer

If your theme has sidebars or footers you can place menus there.

Go to…

  • Appearance > Widgets
  • Drag a Custom Menu widget, into the Sidebar widget area.
  • Type a title for your menu in the Title: box.
  • Choose the menu to use from the drop down selector.
  • Click the Save button!

Your menu will now display in the sidebar of your website.

Add a custom menu widget to the sidebar widget areas in WordPress