Navigation order: how to rearrange your tabs

Magnetic compass to keep navigation order

© XOques, magnetic compass, via Flickr

You've just created your blog's new homepage by following my previous post. You're proudly looking at the Home tab that sits at the beginning of your navigation bar.

Not alphabetical order

But hang on a minute, you may remember me telling you that the navigation bar is in alphabetical order. Looking closely, you realise the last tab isn't!

How did that come about?

WordPress gives you a sample page by default

Before I created a homepage on this blog, I already had two pages: 'About Alice' and 'Contact Alice'.

The 'About Alice' had been adapted from the 'Sample Page' that was there by default when I created this blog. WordPress had already added some blurb to it explaining what this page is for, so I merely edited that content.

But I didn't notice the 'Page Attributes' menu in the right sidebar:

Page Attributes menu

Basically, who would?

Prioritise your navigation order by number

And you can see I have circled the 'Order' section which has been set at 1.

Now this determines which order the navigation tabs are set. If this page had been set at 0, it would have followed an alphabetical order for all pages set at 0.

Therefore 'About Alice' would have become first after the 'Home' tab, because it begins with A over 'Blog' and 'Contact Alice', like this:

Navigation in alphabetical order

But any other number would have pushed that tab further down the order within the navigation bar.

Let's try an experiment

I need to show you an example.

Let's create two more pages: 'Hire Me' and 'My Products'. You can see that their first letters are in the middle of the alphabet.

And let's set their navigation order to 0.

This is how they would appear:

Showing mid alphabet navigation tabs

Now let's have some fun.

I'm going to change the navigation order for the 'Blog' page to 5, the 'Hire Me' page to 2, and the 'My Products' page to 1.

Remember, this is done by going into the editing mode of each page, and changing the number in the 'Order' section of the 'Page Attributes' menu found in the right sidebar.

But let me show you a quicker way than the laborious method of going into each page to edit it.

Go to the 'Pages' > 'All Pages' in the left sidebar:

Go to Pages All Pages

And you'll get to the Page Listings page:

Show Quick Edit of Pages

Notice when you mouse over a page title, a series of links appear. If you select the 'Quick Edit' link you'll get this:

Showing the Quick Edit options

Now there's a lot you can do here, but today we're focusing on the navigation order, so don't get sidetracked!

Let's change the 'Order' to 5:

Changing navigation order in Quick Edit

And save your action by clicking the 'Update' button.

Now you repeat the same process for the other pages. Remember, I suggested changing the 'Hire Me' page to 2, and the 'My Products' page to 1.

Now let's take a look at your navigation bar by going to 'My Sites' and 'View Site':

View Site link in dashboard sidebar

And this is the result:

Mixed up navigation bar

A totally mixed up navigation bar!

Think about your navigation order

Both 'About Alice' and 'My Products' have a navigation order of 1, but 'About Alice' comes first because A is at the beginning of the alphabet. 'Hire Me' comes after 'My Products' because its navigation order is 2.

You need to think carefully in alphabetical terms when selecting your navigation order for your pages. One way is to have them ordered in numerical sequence, so they always appear in the right order.

For example, if you have a page you will always want at the end, such as 'Contact Alice', why not give it a high navigation order such as 10. That means you can slot in more pages in between and its order won't be affected.

However, if you set 'Home' at any order number, it will always be at the front because it is the homepage. This is because you have determined this in the 'Settings' > 'Readers' page (see my creating a homepage post).

There is a way of placing the 'Home' tab in another position within the navigation bar, and this is possible through Menus. I have covered this subject in this How-To post.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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