So you’ve decided to start blogging, and you chose WordPress as your blogging platform. Excellent choice! I believe that WordPress is the best blogging platform out there. You have so much flexibility to make your website look exactly the way you want it to. Unfortunately, with all that flexibility comes a learning curve, which can sometimes get pretty steep.
As a Premium Member of Wealthy Affiliate, the excellent online community of online entrepreneurs, I see a lot of questions about working with menus, and one of the most common questions concerns how to add a drop down menu in WordPress.
Why Do You Need Drop Down Menus?
The fast answer is: You don’t. If you are simply blogging for the purpose of sharing your experiences with friends and family and don’t really care how many people visit your website, then it’s probably not that important. However, if you are trying to maximize traffic to your blog because you intend to monetize it, then you will probably want to include some drop down menus.
There are two reasons you may want to include drop down menus on your website.
1. Drop down menus make site navigation really easy. One of the most important things to think about when writing a blog is the reader’s experience. You want them to have a pleasant experience on your site. And chances are, if you’ve written good content, some of your readers may want to see some of the other things you’ve written. Without drop down menus, they’ll probably just click on the latest posts in your blog roll and leave it at that. If you’re monetizing your blog, you’ll want to make it easy for them to see some of the more important pages. Drop down menus make this really easy.
2. Google doesn’t like websites that are hard to navigate. One thing you’ll have to take into account when you’re trying to drive traffic to your site is search engine optimization, or SEO. Your primary consideration should be reader experience, but once you have excellent content nailed down, you should really consider what it takes to make it to the first page of search engine results. While no one knows the exact algorithm search engines use for ranking search results, it’s pretty much accepted that Google rewards sites that provide a structured system of pages and posts, and drop down menus can help you achieve that.
How to Add a Drop Down Menu in WordPress
For the purposes of this section, I will assume you have already built your website, selected a theme, and started blogging, so you are already familiar with the WordPress dashboard or back office.
Since this website was created in WordPress, I will use this website as an example. At the top of this site, I have four drop down menus to provide easy access to my product reviews: (1) The best, (2) the good, (3) the bad, and (4) keyword research. The description of these is pretty self-explanatory, and your website will have different menus depending your your niche and the organization of your site.
Here, you can see the drop down menu under “The Best.”
To work with menus, you need to select Appearance –> Menus from the left menu on your WordPress dashboard.
Below is a partial screenshot of the menus section of my site. Depending on your theme, you may only have one menu, the “Top Menu”, but you may have more. Assuming you want to add your drop downs to your Top Menu, you need to make sure that is selected.
Step 1: Create Your Drop Down Menu Headings
You may already have some pages or posts in your menu, but those all link to pages or posts on your website. Menu headings are not going to link to anything.
To create a heading, you’re going to click on “Custom Links” in the menu on the left and a drop down form will appear. In the URL field, you will enter a hashtag symbol and nothing else. In the Link Text field, you will enter your drop down menu header as you want it to appear. Then click “Add to Menu” to add it to your menu. Repeat for each header you want to add.
Step 2: Select the Pages and/or Posts to Add to One of Your Drop Down Menus
To add a page or post to your menu, you will need to click on the “Pages” or “Posts” button on the lefthand menu. A drop down form will appear showing your pages or posts. It shows the most recent by default, but you can select view all if you don’t see the ones you want to add in the list.
Click on the box next to every post you want to add to your drop down menus. Don’t worry about where they will go. You will be organizing them in the next step. At this point, you just want to add them to the menu. Once you check all the posts you want to add, click “Add to Menu,” and all the posts will automatically appear at the bottom of your menu.
Step 3: Organize All Your Posts into their Various Drop Down Menus
At this point, you have a bunch of pages and/or posts on your menu. If you were to save this menu and go look at your site, they would all appear across the top of your site. You don’t want this, though. You want them to appear under the various headers you created in Step 1.
To get them under the appropriate heading, you simply drag and drop them underneath the heading you want them to appear under. Just make sure when you do so that you drag them over to the right so that they are indented underneath the heading you want. Otherwise, they’ll still show up on the top menu rather than as a drop down. If you’ve done it correctly, it should look like this.
The default is for the posts to appear as the title of the posts, but you can modify this if you want. Just click the drop down arrow and change it.
Once you have all the menu items where you want them, just click “Save Menu” at the bottom of the page.
And that’s it. Now, when you visit your website, you should see all your drop down menu headers at the top of the page, and when you point at them, you should see the pages and posts you put under each of the headings. If you need to change anything in the future, just go back to Appearance –> Menus again and make the changes.
If you have any questions or are having trouble implementing these changes, just come back and leave me a comment below. I check back here every day or two, and I’ll be sure to answer any questions you may have.
Have a great day!