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Using pages and subpages helps you to organize your site’s content in a way that makes sense. Menus make it easy for your readers to see and understand the way you’ve organized your site.

You may have already noticed that most WordPress themes automatically add a navigation menu to your site. But you’re not limited to WordPress’s default settings for that menu. You can customize it to show only the pages you choose, and in the order you’d like them to appear.

Here’s how to customize your menu.

In your dashboard, choose “Appearance,” then “Menus.” At the moment, you don’t have any custom menus. In the space next to “Menu Name,” type a name for your new menu, then click the “Create Menu” button.

On the left side of the page, you’ll see a list of all the pages on your site. If there are any that you would like to appear in your menu that you don’t already see on the right, click the checkbox in front of them, then click the “Add to Menu” button. You’ll now see each of those pages in your menu at the right side of the screen. If you save your menu at this point, all of those pages will appear at the top level of your site’s menu.

That will result in a lot of clutter. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. You can arrange your menu items any way you like. To move a menu item, just click on the item and drag it to where you would like it to appear in the menu. Menu items will appear on your site from left to right in the same order that they appear from top to bottom in the dashboard. You can nest one menu item under another by moving it beneath the item you want to be the “parent” and dragging it slightly to the right. More than likely you’ll want your main pages to be your main menu items, and you’ll want their subpages nested underneath them. You can keep unwanted pages from showing in your site’s navigation by simply deleting them from the menu.

When you’ve arranged your menu to suit you, go ahead and save it. That will leave you with just one thing left to do. At the top of the page where you’ve been working, click the “Manage Locations” tab. Your theme may support more than one menu; if it does, the menu you’re concerned with right now is the one called “Primary Menu.” From the drop-down list next to it, choose the menu you just created, then click “Save Changes.” Now when we reload the site, we’ll see a nicely organized menu that allows readers to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Using menus in conjunction with pages and subpages is especially useful if you’re using your site for purposes that go beyond the requirements of the Sophia program. For instance, your writing instructor might want you to create an online portfolio. In that case, just use one set of pages and subpages to create an Integration of Learning section for the Sophia program, and a second set to create a section housing your writing portfolio.