How to set up menus in WordPress

How do I add a drop down menu in WordPress?

How do I add a drop down menu in WordPress?.I show you how to set up menus in WordPress so your visitors can navigate around your site. First, you assign each of your posts to a category. Second, you create a menu from appearances in your WordPress dashboard. Third, you organize your posts the way you want them to be displayed. Fourth, you save your menu and then you are finished.

I use the Gutenberg WordPress editor so my walkthrough will be using this editor.

Let’s get started setting up those menus.

How to assign post categories

Each time you create a blog post. You need to make sure you assign each post to a category. This helps visitors navigate your site and is also good for S.E.O.

You do this using the document tab that is on the right-hand side of the WordPress admin screen.

Document tab in WordPress editor

I have just started a new post. You can see the document tab on the right. The first drop down menu you can see is ‘Categories’.

For example, let’s say I am going to write a post about ‘Lonely Planet Guide Books’. I would want that to be in the category of ‘Guide Books’.

I would complete my post, but before publishing I need to assign a category.

Like this.

Assigning a category in WordPress

I already have three categories set up already. They are ‘Product reviews’, ‘Recommendations’, and ‘Travel tips’.

I have already decided I would like a new category for this post. That category is guide books.

To set up a new category I click on the blue ‘Add New Category’ link. Once I click on the link, I get this feature.

How to create categories in WordPress

You have a box to enter your new category. If it is a main category you then just click on ‘Add New Category’. If your new category is a sub-category then you use the drop down box to assign it to a main category before clicking on ‘Add New Category’.

For my new category I will leave it as a main category. In the future I might decide to add sub-categories to this main one. Such as, Guide books for Asia, Guide books for Europe, etc..

Once you click on ‘Add New Category’. Your new category will appear in the list with a tick to show that you have assigned this post to that category.

Adding a new category in WordPress

Setting up menus

Now you have a handful of posts it is time to create your menu.

To start, hover your mouse over ‘Appearance’ in your WordPress editor and click on ‘Menus’.

Like this.

How to set up menus in WordPress

After you click on menus, you will get this.

How to create a menu in WordPress

If you are coming to this page for the first time, you won’t have any menus like you can see with my site.

Create your first menu

To create your first menu you need to click on the blue ‘create a new menu’ link that I have circled for you.

Once you click on the link you get this.

How to create your first menu in WordPress

First, you need to name your menu. If this menu is going to have all your posts and pages then you can call it something like ‘Main’, ‘Top’, ‘Header’, something like that.

If you want to have a menu with just tips, then maybe something like ‘Top Tips’, ‘Handy Tips’, you get the picture.

As an example, let’s say you decide you want to have this as your main menu and you want to call it ‘Top’.

I type ‘Top’ and click on ‘Create menu’.

How to create menus in WordPress

Now it is time to build your menu. All the things you need for your menu can be found in the ‘Add menu items’ on the left.

Choosing categories

Let’s start with categories. You need to open the categories drop down box on the left. Like this.

How to add categories to your menu in WordPress

The default is ‘Most Used’. I want to see all of my categories so I will change the tab to ‘View all’. Like this.

View all tab in WordPress menu creation

Now I can see all my categories. To move them to your menu you just tick the box and then click on ‘Add to menu’.

Like this.

How to add categories to your WordPress menu

You can add as many or as few as you like. You can change the order by moving the category boxes up or down.

Just left click and hold on your mouse. When you have moved the category to where you need it, release.

How to remove a category

If you change your mind about a category and want to remove it. Click on the down arrow next to category to reveal a remove option.

Like this.

How to delete a category from your menu in WordPress

Click on ‘remove’ and the block will be deleted.

How to add posts to your menu

Once you have your categories set up then you can add your posts.

To find your completed posts, look to the left of your categories and you will see a ‘Posts’ drop down option.

Click on that to reveal your posts. Like this.

How to add posts to your menu in WordPress

As before with categories, you tick the posts you would like to include in this menu.

I will select some of my posts to add to this menu. Like this.

How to set up menus in WordPress

From here we need to organize our posts to be displayed under the correct category. That is done by dragging the posts to sit under the category. We place them a little to the right so they will appear as a drop down to our visitors.

We organize like this.

How to organize your posts in your WordPress menu

Once you have completed organizing your menu, click on the blue ‘Save menu’ link.

If you decide you want to remove a post. It works in exactly the same way we did it with categories. You click on the down arrow on the right and you will see the option to remove.

You also need to assign one of your menus to be your main menu. The menu that will be shown in your menu bar.

To do that you tick the box at the bottom of the menu page.

I have highlighted the box here for you.

How to assign your main menu in WordPress

If you tick this box, you will have to save this menu once more.

Let me show you my main menu for my site.

Main menu in WordPress

The blocks that are hugging the left will be what my visitors will see when they visit my site. The blocks that are slightly to the right, will be shown as a drop down option.

This is the homepage of You can see this menu at work. homepage

My categories are listed along the top. When a visitor hovers their mouse over one of the categories they will see the posts within that category.

After completing every post, do this

Each time you publish a post, I suggest you come to your menu and add your new post to the category you want it to appear in.

Once you have moved your new post into your menu don’t forget to save your menu.


When you first start using WordPress it seems so complicated. It isn’t. Once you complete the various tasks a couple of times it becomes routine.

Follow my step by step guide until you get the hang of it.

You can create as many menus as you like. You might want to have a mini menu of ‘how to do guides’ in a side widget, or a ‘top tips’ menu in your footer.

When I first started with WordPress I kept forgetting to add my new posts to my menu or menus.

It is about getting into a routine of what to do each time you complete a post. Do this routine each and every time you complete a post and you won’t forget to do things.

Don’t forget about sitemaps. It is important for you to have a sitemap for your site. A sitemap helps search engines like Google to understand how you site is organized.

To learn more about sitemaps, please have a look at my post, ‘how to create a sitemap‘.

If you are looking to change your WordPress theme to premium theme. I highly recommend checking out premium themes on Envato. Envato have premium themes that are currently on sale. (This an affiliate link.)


How many menus do you have for your site?

What type of menu do you find works well for your site?

Do you use a plugin for your menus? If so, which one? What does it do?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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