How to Create Great WordPress Pages and Menus
There’s more than one way to slice an onion. And WordPress can seem like one big, wild onion with many layers. For instance, you have a front end and back end, and you have posts and pages to deal with. This article will peel back some of the main layers of WordPress, and show you the difference. Here’s how to create and edit WordPress pages and build a site navigation menu.
Step 1. Know the Difference Between WordPress Pages and Posts
You can think of WordPress pages as sections of your website. For example, a homepage, an about page, or a contact page.
Pages are generally used to display information or functions that need to be front-and-center on your website.
For example, in this demo from the Core WordPress theme, the navigation contains the key areas of the site. Each one is a separate WordPress page. Generally, pages are up in your website’s navigation because they are the key places you want people to browse.
In this case, the home, about me, and contact buttons are all pages. And the other navigation links are categories of blog posts.
Without going into too much detail on categories, when you set a category for blog posts, you can then link to a page that will simple have a feed of all blog posts for that category. That’s what ThemeFuse has done with this theme demo.
Now, a WordPress post is different from a page because WordPress posts automatically appear in your blog feed. That’s the biggest difference.
When you publish a page, it only exists at its unique url address. For example, yourdomain.com/page. It won’t appear anywhere else on the site until you add a link (such as adding the link to an about page in your navigation).
But when you publish a post, it automatically comes up in your blog feed.
Here’s the MOJO blog feed, for example. This is what WordPress was built for in the first place–blogging. Now, you can do so much more with it.
But before you get into creating posts and pages, you need to know the difference.
Again, WordPress posts live on your blog feed and WordPress pages live on their own, separate urls. Of course, your blog posts have their own, unique urls, too. But they also fill up your blog feed.
Step 2. Two Ways to Create and Edit Your WordPress Pages
Edit Pages from the Admin Dashboard
So, if you need to create an about me page or contact page, you need to access the pages editor in WordPress. To create new pages, you must login to your admin dashboard.
When logged in, there is a sidebar to the left. From there, hover over Pages to see these two options. You can choose All Pages for a view of each page you have in draft or published, make edits, or add new pages. Or, you can simply click Add New right here.
Once you click Add New, you’re directed to the page editor. This can look different depending on your WordPress theme. Many of the themes available on MOJO Marketplace come with a page builder plugin, such as Visual Composer.
These editors enable you to build a page visually from the front-end (much like Wix or Squarespace). Depending on your theme, you can add any number of elements to make your page look and function exactly how you need it to.
These are just some elements we use on the MOJO blog to build WordPress pages and posts.
You can also create pages with text, images, videos, and shortcodes (which let you add elements or functionality from a plugin or your theme) using the basic WordPress editor.
At a basic level, this editor allows you to write, edit, and format text. When the Visual tab is selected, your text will be formatted as shown. With the Text tab, you can use html to format your text.
Using the basic editor, you can also embed images from your media gallery using the Add Media button.
Edit Existing Pages From the Front End of Your Site
Another way to access your page editor is right from your website. When you’re logged in to your WordPress admin dashboard, you will notice a WordPress admin bar floating at the top of your screen.
When you click the pencil icon next to Edit Page, you’ll be taken straight to the page editor, where you can then make edits to the page. This is a cool feature in WordPress that enables you to view your site and edit it seamlessly.
Whenever you’re logged in to your WordPress admin account, you can edit pages or posts in this manner, right from your site.
Step 3. Publish Your WordPress Page
As you edit and assemble a WordPress page, you can preview your work.
Just click Preview from the publishing panel in your editor, and a new tab will open with a preview of what your final version will look like.
This is what our page looked like in preview mode.
When you’re finished, click Publish and your page will go live at the url listed above the page editor. (Hint: you can edit that url, but you may have to change your url settings under the Settings tab in the WordPress admin dashboard sidebar).
Keep that url in mind for the next step.
Step 4. Add Your New Page to the Navigation Menu
Finally, let’s say you want to add your about me page, or whatever page you create, to the navigation menu on your website.
For this change, we’re going to open up the visual customizer built into WordPress by choosing Appearance > Customize from the WordPress dashboard.
This will open up the front end of your website with a sidebar that shows all your visual customization options (depending on your theme and any plugins you have installed).
From here, you’ll choose Menus.
Next, select the menu that’s assigned to your navigation. This is usually labeled Main Menu or Navigation.
Scroll down and click the Add Items button, then expand the Pages drop down menu. Add the page you want to place in navigation by clicking the + sign.
When you add your page, you can then drag and drop items in your menu to reorder them.
For example, by dragging the about page to the top of the list, I’ve added the link to the front of my navigation.
When you’ve finished making changes, click Save & Publish to finalize your new menu.
Step 5. Finish Your WordPress Site Navigation
Now that you know how to edit and publish pages, you can build out a full site navigation. Depending on the type of site you create, this will be different.
In general, site navigation should consist of the most important pages or resources on your site. If there is a critical function or piece of information for your site, you should include it in your main menu.
Some examples of this are about pages, blog categories, online stores, contact pages, and pillar content pieces. For in-depth examples, explore some WordPress theme demos and see how they configured the navigation.
Good luck and tell us about your project in the comments below!