WordPress Easy Category Menu Links

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Here is an easy way to add category menu links to WordPress. It is far easier than what some other sites suggest. What we need is a simple method that works as easily as the rest of WordPress does. I found an easy method I like and will share it with you below.

Categories are used for organizing sites so visitors can find what they want. You can create menus in the navigation bar that allow visitors to click on a link to see the category they are seeking. How the menu links look in your navigation menu depends on your WordPress theme. Usually, the category menu links will be at the top of your site. Ultimately, the idea is for your viewers to be able to find all of your posts about a specific subject matter. The key to bringing all this together is to use automatically populated category pages connected to your menu links. The best part is it is easy!

To begin, we will install one plugin. Then, adding category menu links is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Create a category.
  2. Create a page for that category.
  3. Rearrange the menu order.

(in fact, once you know how, you can even skip step 3!)

Install the “Page Links To” Plugin

The key to making category page menu links work easily is by installing the “Page Links To” plugin. Download and activate the plugin first.

Create the Category

Categories are how your posts are organized. Categories are typically one or two words for best effect. Consider using simple words your visitors and the search engines will both recognize.

There are several ways to create a category. If your category already exists, you can skip to the next step (Create a Page). When you create a post, there is a Categories area on the right side of the Edit Post page. There is a link for + Add New Category. You can click on this, type in your category name, leave the Parent Category alone for now, and click the Add button.

Another way to do it is to go to the Posts menu in your Dashboard, and click on the Categories link that flies out. This takes you to a page where you can do all sorts of Category maintenance, including creating new categories, by filling out the fields on the left side of the page and clicking the Add New Category button.Categories Page on WordPress
Either way you do it, this is how you create categories to organize your content for visitors.

Create a Page

Now we will create a category page for your menu links to point to. This is a page visitors can bookmark, your menu link points to, and one that also links to your category URL in one step. You see, WordPress automatically creates a URL for each of your categories. In fact, if you have been posting without using categories, then you will find your posts all under a URL like http://www.myawesomeblog.com/category/uncategorized/ The tricky part is getting your navigational menu links to point to your automatically created category URLs. And that is where the plugin we installed earlier comes in handy.

In your Dashboard area, hover over Pages, and click on the Add New fly out link. On the Add New Page page, type in a title. This title is critical! What you type here is how your menu link will appear in your navigation pane. You probably want this name to be very short. Make it one word if possible. I suggest it is good practice to match the name of your category page to the category name you created in the previous step.Category Page Menu Link URL

Scroll down to the bottom of the page. In this section, select the custom URL radio button and paste in the URL of the category this page points to. The category for Amateur Radio on Direct Dirt looks like this: http://www.directdirt.com/category/amateur-radio/ Yours will be similar and you can find them on the Categories page by hovering over the new category and then hovering over the word View when it pops up. Once you paste the URL into the field, you are ready to Publish this page.

Your navigation menu now has a link to your category. Look at your site. If you are pleased with the layout, then you are finished. Many times, however, WordPress and/or the plugin we installed does not display the links in the order we want. If this is the case, then continue on to the next section.

Rearrange Your Category Menu Links

The menu links (in this case) are rearranged by going to Pages, All Pages. Here you see all pages you have created in a list. Let’s say you have pages like About, Contact, and Fashion listed, and Fashion points to your Fashion category URL. On your site, you want them to be Fashion, About, and Contact, but they do not show up in that order.

The fix is easy. Hover over each page, and when the sub menu pops up, click on Quick Edit.Page Quick Edit Order Field In the Quick Editor, there is a very important text field called “Order” where you can enter a number. WordPress will put the menu links in numerical order. In our example you would enter 1 on the Order line for the Fashion page, 2 in the Order for the About page, and 3 for Contact, pressing the Update button for each. After doing this, all your menu links will now appear in order.

When you create a page, there is a Page Attributes area on the right. In this area, there is a field for “Order”. This is the same Order setting as the one from the Quick Editor area I told you about, above. If you plan ahead, you can use this Order field to arrange how your category menu links appear.