Menu Tabs

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Beginning Blogging 10. Menu’s Pages and Tabs, oh my!

Most themes on Wordpress allow you to add a Custom Menu to your blog page, where you can provide ‘click through’ tabs for your readers to access other areas. These can be either pages, such as About Me, or alternatively other blogs or websites. So let’s set up our Custom Menu. We’ll begin by creating a page about ourselves, and we’ll include a sort of résumé and a photo so that our viewers can find out more about the author of this blog.

Go to your Wordpress Dashboard. Down the left hand sidebar, you will see Pages listed between Links and Comments. Click on Pages and note that there is already one available titled About. Click on Edit. You will now be in the Edit Page with the online editor available. Simply write something about yourself here. You can include a photo of yourself by clicking on the small image icon at the top of the online editor window next to Get Shortlink. When you are happy with your About page, click on Update.

Adding a page about yourself

Pages can have an hierarchy so that in my case, my Who Am I? page is listed under About and is 1 in number order. To understand Page Attributes, click on Help from the top right of the Edit Page. Take a look at your blog. Who Am I? should not have been added to your tabbed Menu list at the top underneath your header.

Next we are going to create a Custom Menu which will not only include any pages that we compose on Wordpress to give our readers more information, but also take them directly to any other blogs we might have such as a Photo blog for example. NOTE. Not all themes on Wordpress allow you to Create a custom Menu. Those that include this feature will state that information underneath their theme picture on the Manage Theme page.

manage themes custom menu

From your Dashboard, click on Appearance and then if your chosen Theme has the Menu feature included, click on Menus. Firstly you need to give your Menu a name, so type into the Menu Name box your chosen name for your Menu. NOTE. This name can be anything because it is not visible to any of your readers. Next click on Create Menu. On the left of the Menu area you will have some choices become available to you namely Theme Locations, Custom Links, Pages (which should contain any pages that you have already constructed) and also Categories. As my chosen theme only supports one Menu, this is named as the Primary Navigation.

In the Custom Links area, type in the URL of any other blogs that you wish to include. NOTE. These blogs do not necessarily have to be from Wordpress, they could be from any site. It could also be your flickr photostream for example. When you have inserted the URL, you will need to also add a Label. This is the title of your tab, so as I am including an URL to my photo portfolio, I’ll name it ‘My Photos’. To include in your Menu simply click on Add to Menu. Next choose which pages to include by firstly clicking on Show All, and then ticking the boxes next to the name. NOTE. You really need to add Home to your Menu so that your visitors are able to return to your Home page, especially if your chosen theme tends to make use of Split Posts on the Home page.  Again, click on Add to Menu. You will now notice that Home, My Photos, Serious stuff  and Who Am I? have appeared on the right hand side under the My Menu area with another of my Custom Links pointing to one of my other blogs.

My Menu now constructed

Lastly you can also add some of your Categories to your Menu if you wish. If you have quite a few categories you do not have to add them all, you can of course leave some unticked. However, if you also have quite a few other sites added to your Menu and/or quite a few Pages it can begin to look fairly fussy in content. Remember that your categories can also be added to the sidebar or the bottom Gadget area instead. To finalise your Menu, you can now ‘click and drag’ each Menu item either up or down to alter the order that they are to appear on your Custom  Menu. When you are completely happy with your Menu items and their order, click on Save Menu.

Completed Menu tabs in my blog

You can now go and take a look at the finished result. Click on each Menu tab and check that by doing so, you are taken to the sites and pages that you have chosen to include. And that’s how to set up a Custom Menu. You can see how mine looks in the picture above.



  1. I've started a Wordpress blog, which is a work in progress and I've been following you posts, but I must say, I' a little disappointed with the selection of themes Wordpress offers.

    I'm wanting a magazine type layout that I can alter to my likings,but after going through the 99 themes offered, not one comes close.

    I looked into an outside source for a theme, but after searching like crazy, I discovered you can't use themes from outside those Wordpress offers, freely I must add, so I'm disappointed I have to pay a fee to use a theme of my choice.

    Is it true you have to pay a fee to get under the hood of the CSS of a Wordpress theme?

    I'm not trying to be a negative butthole, but I'm starting to like my Blogger in Draft a lot more.

    Anywho......... I hope you keep this series going,it really does help, thought you should know.

  2. Jerry you are quite correct in that Blogger (via for example, has a lot more choice, not only in template choice but also when it comes to using Gadgets. I think the Wordpress team have begun to realise this which is why of late, they have begun churning out more themes like no ones business! Customisation is a big problem though on there, and I do agree with you. Why should you have to pay for customisation when you can simply get it all for free on Blogger?

    However, that said, there are some nice touches to Wordpress. I prefer the Dashboard on there myself, the Slideshow for your photos and the Gallery options which hopefully I'll touch on next.

  3. Hi TG, You have done another great article. I have to admit that I like the way the WP Dashboard looks. I'll probably always stay with Blogger, but it's nice to know there is another decent option :)

  4. Yes, funnily enough I think that the average tendency is for users to begin on Blogger and then migrate over to WordPress. If only would realize that in order to compete with Blogger they need to 'open it up' to customization more without expecting users to pay. Free will always win over pay for some feature every time.


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