Website Navigation

Sorting and Categorizing Content With the Automated CMS Tools

Time is always in short supply when you create a website, so making it possible for your content management system to present you with automatically updating navigation menus is essential. Go beyond the default WordPress widgets and use plugins to get more advanced widgets that can be configured to display advanced navigation menus.

Understanding what you are doing when you use categories and tags is an important first step. You won’t get it right first time, in fact if you get it right at all you’re head and shoulders above most beginners, but even if you get it half right, your foundation articles will stand firm and be a resource your visitors will always be able to enjoy.

Unless you provide useful navigation to your content, your early articles will be buried by your later ones and all that effort may be wasted.

Posts and Categories

If you use posts for your articles you can create categories to sort them into. These categories can also have sub categories. A post can be designated to be a part of several different categories when this is relevant. A Category menu can then be automatically created that will list only the posts contained in this category or sub category.

Parent or Top Level Page Categories

Page “categories” are handled differently, with the top level or Parent Page being their section name. Pages belonging to this section can only be a child page of this one top level page. Subsequent sub-pages are all hierarchical like a tree menu.

Category Pages
If you display the category link for a page, clicking it will bring up an automated feed page that will display all the posts designated as being in that category.

Tag Pages
If you display a tag cloud or the tag link on a post, clicking it will bring up an automated feed page that will display all the posts that have been tagged with this tag. By default tags are not available for pages, but you could use the Simple Tags plugin to add this feature to pages if you want to.

Sorting and Categorizing Using Content id Numbers

Pages, Posts, Tags and Categories all have a unique id number. Just as the system can automate display of sections such as categories and tags, plugin authors can use these id numbers to display navigation links to this content in specific ways. They generally create such plugins because they want to use them for their own websites. Then due to the open source nature of WordPress, they generously make them available to other users like you and me.

To use these you do need to know the id number, as this is usually what is used to configure the widget or shortcode. Read find a post or page id number to find out how.

This is just an introduction to the concepts of website navigation. You would need several books to cover how to use the many options available. What you need to know right now is that you have choices to make when you use tags and categories.

If you think you will need to use their section capability to display custom menus, you need to plan out their probable names before you start creating content and sorting it. You would need to be highly organized to get it all right first time but if you think of categories as being chapter names and tags as a books index you’ll start off on the right track.

If you are careful creating category names you can use their ids to create very specific related menus aside any content belonging to the same category. Like a small sitemap to that particular section. This helps a lot with your bounce rate, as people who landed on a page about a particular topic will probably be interested to read more about it.

Default Widgets To Display Website Content Navigation Links

Recent Posts Widget:
This default widget displays a menu of your most recent posts and you can change how many posts it will display.

Archives Widget:
This widget displays all your posts by date as they are archived.

Pages Widget:
This widget will display a list of your pages. You can exclude pages by page id. When you have many pages, you will need a plugin to give you more control over what pages you display and how and where.

Blogroll Links Widget:
If you add links to external sites in your blogroll, you can use a default widget to display these links in the sidebar.

Search Our Site Widget:
There is a widget in your widget area you can place in a sidebar that will search your site for a keyword search. When you have a large amount of content, this is good to include to provide people with a quick tool to find a specific topic.

Improve Your Website Navigation Options With Specific Navigation Plugins

There are navigation and management plugins for just posts, and more plugins for just pages and even more plugins for just links. So what you want to use greatly depends on what navigation menus you want to include, and when and where to include them. Most of these plugins will give you a shortcode or a widget but some are reliant on you adding code to your Theme so read the FAQ or Notes pages in the plugin documentation if this makes you nervous.

By the time you want these advanced plugins you will be far more comfortable with your CMS and installing and trying out new plugins will be a breeze. Just know that you are not limited to the default plugins to display your content menus, there are so many better ways available to use when you need them.

Highly Related Website Architecture

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