Adding custom menus to WordPress…

WordPress 3 Tutorial Part 8: Custom Menus

Part of the WordPress tutorial segment of the Internet Empowerment Series hosted by Social Media Survival Guide author, Deltina Hay, this session talks about…

By default WordPress allows you to have complete control of what is shown in your site’s navigation. You can include or exclude any content you choose by using the simple drag and drop feature or you can add multiple items by checking off the appropriate boxes and adding them to your menu.

You are not limited to pages only though. You can add links to anything from your blogs categories to image galleries.

The video above might be a bit dated in the sense that it was recorded many versions of WordPress back, but the information still applies. The video does a good job of showing you the menu options available to you so there is no reason to expand on this. Thankfully, WordPress menus are one of the easiest parts of WordPress to grasp. There is really nothing complicated to worry about unless you are using an outdated theme or version of a theme from several WordPress updates back.

The reason this matters has to do with the changes made to the core of the menu interface in a WordPress update from this past Summer. If your theme has been updated and is compatible with WordPress 3.7 or the latest version as this is written which is 3.8. If you are using any version of WordPress past 3.5 and a theme that has not been updated you will not be able to edit your menus or create new menus. My experience is that you are able to load the menu editor/creator page and make changes. Problem is, you can’t actually save your changes or create a new custom menu because the theme will cause a conflict because of the outdated structure that will present you with a blank page for your efforts.

On the upside, this is only an issue on the admin side and it does nothing to the public side of your blog to make the site inaccessible. What it will do on the public facing part of WordPress is to cause every single page on your site to be automatically placed in the theme’s default menu location. That means that anyone selling a digital product would be displaying a link to their download page right in the blog’s navigation menu. Obviously not a good thing…

There is no remedy for this except to change your theme to one that is regularly updated and compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

This is a far bigger problem with premium themes than it is with free WordPress themes. Sadly, many freelance theme developers don’t update themes they create. What they sell you is what you get. Most established theme developers do regularly update their past themes, so stay away from new theme developers untill they have established some sort of track record if this concerns you.