When to Add a Category to a Custom Menu
By David Hannes.
Recently an internet marketing client at Creative Developments web design, located in Scottsdale, AZ, contracted us to develop her WordPress website. She was developing a site that would require extensive use of custom menus posts and categories.
WordPress 101: A WordPress website enables web developers to add custom menus for nav. bar development from the dashboard under appearances…menus. This is good tool, enabling one to create navigation bars that consist of more than just pages, but rather a combination of page, post, category and custom links.
While reviewing the work of my client it soon became clear that she did not quite comprehend menu architecture and when it is that she should declare a link on the custom menu to be a category a page or post.
The golden rule: If you intend to showcase multiple posts under a specific topic then it may make sense to develop a custom menu link from a category. If your menu bar link is intended to be a single, stand-alone article, there is no reason to add a category to your menu, link to the page or post instead.
Think of a category as a list of posts or an archive of articles. Example: If I were writing multiple news articles on the New York Yankees, I would create a category called New York Yankees and associate all posts that are related to the New York Yankees with this category. That way when I click on the category link “New York Yankees” on the menu bar I would see a list of posts and the preview of each article on the category list of Yankee Baseball posts. This is quite common architecture when visiting a newspaper website.
Let’s take another example; suppose I wanted to develop a list of links to several of my videos on YouTube. Should I create a page or a category? Was your first thought a page? Not so fast. If I wanted to create several links on a single page that in turn linked to my YouTube videos then yes, I would create a page, set up a list of links that pointed to external YouTube videos.
But what I wanted site visitors to comment on each of my videos without visiting my YouTube Channel? If that were the case I may want to create a post for each video with the comments option turned on and embed the YouTube Video into each given post. The posts in turn would be associated with a specific category. In my example, instead of creating a page of links to all my videos I could develop a category called “Video Gallery” that in turn would showcase a list of posts, each one associated with a specific video. It takes more time to develop but what you end up with is a more refined presentation that is less dependent up external linking.
Remember, categories are not posts, categories are not articles. You can manipulate a category to include html in order to showcase more than just the archive of posts but a category is still just that, an archive of posts. Treat it as such.
Check back on our blog often for new WordPress tips and advice. Creative Developments is a multimedia website design company, video editing house and internet marketing company providing on-line solutions with a creative edge.