In WordPress when you publish a page it’s usually added to the main navigation menu. In many WordPress blogs and sites this works just fine. It’s easy and automatic. Sometimes though, it’s not ideal. What if there are a lot of pages and the menu would be too overwhelming? What if you want to include a link in the main navigation that goes to a CafePress store, a shopping cart or some other location? That’s where custom WordPress menus can help.
To access the menus, log into your WordPress dashboard and select: Appearance > Menus
Once you’ve created a menu you’ll see that you can populate it with custom links (like the CafePress store), WordPress pages or blog categories. The important thing to note is that only the items you select will be added to the menu. After you’ve added things to the menu, you can move them around so that the order is exactly the way you want it. You can even make child pages.
Another nice feature if the WordPress Custom Menu is that you can use it to define the text used in the menu. Just click on the menu item to expand it and you’ll see how to customize the menu text.
Once you’ve made your menu or menus (you can have more than one) how do you get them to show up in your WordPress site? At the top left of the menu page you’ll see a box that looks like this if your theme doesn’t support custom menus:
If this is your situation you can still use custom menus, but you’ll need to use a menu widget to add the menu to your site’s sidebar.
If your theme does support custom menus what you see will depend on how many custom menu your theme allows. Here’s a screen shot from a theme that supports three different menus. (Weaver II Pro)
To summarize, custom menus are a great way to control exactly how your menu appears.