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Setting up the Main Menu

The menu menu, also known as the primary navigation menu, appears across the top of every page and in the footer. It’s the primary way people find their way around your site (aside from searching). Almost every page on your site should be on the main menu.

The UUA Transitions Office Settlement Handbook recommended search packet content has been translated into draft pages in your website.  It will be up to you what you want to add, change or delete from the site which is why the only menu item, when you first open your website, is Welcome.

The Example Site offers you a look at the menu with the pages that have been developed as follows:

  • Welcome (cover) letter
  • Ministry
    • Sermons and Services
    • Rites of Passage
    • Religious Education
    • Pastoral Care
  • Leadership
    • Denominational and Interfaith Work
    • Organizational Development and Administration
    • Racial Justice and Multiculturalism
    • Social Justice
  • About Me
    • Biography
    • Theology
    • Newsletters and Publications
    • Ministerial Record
    • References

If you hover your mouse over the any of the menu items you will see the sub-pages.  The Welcome page is designed to be your Home page, the first page of your website, and Contact is a link to the contact form.

What’s Tricky about the Main Menu

The main menu represents the organization of your site. The URLs of each page should match the location of the page on the main menu. For example, if the “Sermon and Services” page is on the “Ministry” menu, its URL should be:

http://www.uuministry.emerson/ministry/sermons-and-services

Removing the last section of a URL (like “/sermons-and-services”) should always lead the user to a valid page (like http://uuministry.com/your-name/ministry).

As a result, adding or moving pages on the main menu is a two-step process:

  1. Edit the page and specify what menu it goes on. When you save the page, WordPress creates the URL to that page.
  2. Edit the main menu and put the page where it goes.

It would be nice if we didn’t have to do that second step, but we do.

Tip: You can keep your URLs short by editing the path before you save it. The “Permalink” setting at the top of the edit page enables you to edit the last section of the URL. All but the last section is based on your site’s domain name and the path to the parent page on the menu, so you can’t edit those. For example, if the “Sermon and Services” page is on the “Ministry” menu and the URL of the “Ministry” page is “http://uuministry.com/your-name/ministry”, you can’t edit that part.

Warning: If you change page URLs after they are published, links to them will be broken which is why it’s recommended to use the links as they are in the template.

Adding Pages to the Main Menu

First Step: Edit the page.

  1. Create or edit the page.
  2. On the edit page, in the righthand column, in the Page Attribute box, set the Parent to the menu that this page will be on. (Put another way, choose the page that will be the parent of this page in the menu structure.)
  3. When you click the Publish or Update button to save this change to the page, WordPress creates or updates the address of this page, which you can see in the Permalink link, just below the page title box on the edit page.
  4. The first part of the Permalink (the part that’s not bold) is the address of the parent page, which you can’t change from this page. Click Edit to change the last part of the permalink. WordPress uses the name of the page to create this last part, and you can usually shorten it while maintaining identifying information about the page.

Second Step: Edit the main menu.

  1. Open the Menus page (Appearance > Menus) and select the Main Menu.
  2. Find the new page in the Pages list in the lefthand column, click its checkbox, and click the “Add to Menu” button.
  3. WordPress adds it to the very bottom of the menu. (How annoying!) Scroll down to find it there, and drag it up to where it should be. Indent it under its parent page.
  4. If you want the link on the menu to be shorter than the full page title, click the down-arrow at the right end of the menu item and type the shorter text in the Navigation Label box.
  5. Click the Save Menu button to save your changes.

Moving Pages on the Main Menu

First Step: Edit the page.

  1. Edit the page.
  2. On the edit page, in the righthand column, in the Page Attribute box, set the Parent to the menu that this page will be on.
  3. When you click the Update button to save this change to the page, WordPress updates the address of this page, which you can see in the Permalink link, just below the page title box on the edit page.
  4. If other pages link to this page, consider installing the Quick Redirects plugin (or another redirect plugin) so you can create a redirect (like a forwarding address) from the old address to the new one.

Second Step: Edit the main menu.

  1. Open the Menus page (Appearance > Menus) and select the Main Menu.
  2. Find the page you moved in the Menu Structure list in the righthand column.
  3. Drag it to its new location, indented under its parent page.
  4. Click the Save Menu button to save your changes.

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