Navigation Menus are an integral part of a website’s layout. It is a tool that provides access to the rest of the website and, in a sense, guides someone who lands on your homepage. They provide viewers an outlook of the website. 

Moreover, it organizes your website and helps the viewer “navigate” it. Menus are usually at the top of the website, and it consists of menu items, such as About Us, Services, Contact Us, and others.

Each WordPress template comes with a preset location of the navigation menu. When designing a website, however, you may want to customize the location, formatting style, items, and responsiveness in a navigation menu to your liking or that of a client. 

To a website designer, a template navigation bar may feel restricting. For this purpose, WordPress allows you to customize this feature with ease. Whether you are proficient in PHP or not, you can add a navigation menu either way.

Customizing a navigation bar also makes practical sense. With more and more people using mobile devices, mobile-friendly web design is essential for a website. It includes having a navigation bar that doesn’t take too much space but also provides easy access. As a web designer, you can add various effects that allow you to achieve an attractive navigation bar as well.

How to Customize Navigation Menus with Coding?

With even a basic knowledge of PHP, you can add custom navigation menus on your own. The following steps will help you in customizing navigation menus using PHP.

  1. Register the Navigation Menu 

Register or declare the navigation menu in the same place where other functions of the customized theme are registered. To add a navigation menu in several locations, you will need to make slight changes to the code.

  1. Creating a Menu and Adding Menu Items
  1. To create a menu, go to Appearances and then Menus.  
  2. Enter the name of the menu that you want to create. Then click “Create Menu.”
  3. Under the menu “Add menu items,” you can add and remove items to the navigation bar.
  4. Select the pages that you want to add to the menu. You can also add other pages to the list or select from pre-existing pages. Click “Add to Menu.”
  5. Under the “Menu Structure,” in “Menu Settings,” you can change the order of the pages as well.
  6. Check the box with the name of the customized menu. Click Save Menu.
  7. Display the navigation menu. Add the wp_nav_menu () code to the header.php file for the customized theme. You can add the menu in other locations of the website by using wp_nav_menu ().

In CSS, the .custom_menu_class () allows you to style the navigation menu. You can change the font style, font size, color, margins, and other features. You can get the code for registering and displaying custom navigation menus in WordPress from several websites online.

How to Add a Navigation Menu by Using Plugins (Without Code)?

The approach for adding custom navigation menus with coding may not seem easy to some. Don’t lose hope; there is another way to customize the navigation menu using Page Builder plugins found in WordPress. The best part of using a plugin is that no coding is required.

You can find various plugins available for WordPress. To customize a navigation bar, you need to install a plugin first. After installation, you can add menus by going to Appearances>>Menus. From here, you can add menus and customize them accordingly.

Some of the popular plugins used for website building are Jetmenu, Max Mega Menu, Responsive Menu, Beaver Builder, and others. Some of these plugins help build navigation menus for a mobile-friendly website design, while others allow you to create icons or change the orientation of a menu bar.

Plugins provide a variety of options for your navigation menu. For example, you can have a navigation bar solely made of icons. A popular plugin, such as the Menu Icons by Themelsle, provides icons for your navigation bar. It makes it is different from the traditional approach of the navigation menu. 

This feature makes your website unique as compared to others. Install the plugin to place icons in the navigation bar. Open the navigational menu that you want to customize. Then select the page and the icon for it. Make changes as required and save the menu.

When you are designing a navigation menu for mobile, you have the option of Responsive Menu by ExpressTech available on WordPress. With the help of this plugin, the navigation bar does not take up space. Moreover, it is easily accessible by tapping on the screen.

Plugins, such as Mega Main Menu, offer several styles for the navigation bar.

If you are tired of the conventional horizontal navigation menu, you can create a vertical menu as well. The Superfly plugin on WordPress provides you with a vertical menu bar. You can use the navigation bar to your advantage and save space. You can also modify the area that the menu covers. 

Apart from these, numerous plugins allow you to customize the navigation menu according to your requirements. To make use of a plugin, you have to purchase one. 

Tips for Creating a Navigational Menu

Creating an aesthetically pleasing, effective, and intuitive navigation bar is something learned from experience. Despite this, a few tips can help:

  • A navigation bar must be placed at the top of the page.
  • It should have minimum words, and it should organize all the web pages under relevant categories.
  • The menu should also include social media icons, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others.
  • The navigation menu should be compatible with desktop as well as mobile.
  • All webpages should have the navigation menu placed at the top so that the viewer can switch between web pages with ease.

Despite this guide, if you are unsure or lack experience when it comes to adding navigation menus, you can hire a professional. Generally, digital marketing services provide web designing services, which include custom navigation menu design and display. So if you are building a website, it is best to hire professionals who can do the job for you.


About the Author: Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.

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