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Menus, parent pages and order box

  1. I don't quite understand the difference between menus (Appearance/Menus) and creating menus by choosing a parent page (and adding an Order number in the Order box) while editing a page - when to use which system; what are the reasons for choosing the one above the other?

    I am helping a friend with an academic website which already has about 86 pages. At the moment it uses the parent-page / order-box system, but I'm trying to simplify it by creating a menu - but I can see that that might also become very difficult to manage.

    I also don't understand why there is an option to create two menus. (I have read the support pages,and I'm still confused.)

    Thanks.

  2. Is the site you are helping with the one linked to your name or is it another site?

    If you are asking about another site and it is public please post a link to it as that will help you get accurate help.

  3. Thanks for the interest.

    No, the site is not linked to my name, and as it belongs to a friend, I don't want to name it. The question is general though - how to handle 86 pages; and how or why to choose between the two systems.

    (I just realised that I should have posted this to Questions - sorry.)

  4. The answer depends a bit on the theme used and whether or not you have really have 86 Pages or your have a combination of Pages and Posts.

    Pages can be put in a hierarchy with a menu and Posts can be organized with Category's

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-vs-page/

  5. According to the dashboard there are 86 pages and 5 posts. There are six main headings (using the parent-page and order box system) and lots of sub-, sub-sub, and even sub-sub-sub pages. I can see that if I change my mind about the structure, then the menu will be be difficult to adjust using this system. That is why I'm trying to use the Appearance / Menu system - but I'm not sure which is the best.

    I've reduced the number of main headings in the Appearance / Menu system to four. I'm still busy adding pages to the menu, but I think that by the time I've included all 86 pages, that block of pages will be very long and probably just as unwieldy as using the first system.

    At the moment the site's theme is Inuit Types.

    I understand about hierarchy, posts, pages, and categories. It's the choice between the two menu systems I don't understand: what are the criteria for choosing one system above another? What are the advantages of one system above another?

    Thanks for trying to help.

  6. I believe this article clearly sets out the differences and the consequences of choosing to have a page based structure rather than a post based structure.
    Better Blogging at WordPress.com: Pages and Posts
    When it comes to SEO I caution you not to create a static front page as they are traffic killers.

  7. Thank you - I think I'm better informed now. Your site is very useful. The page on custom menus (what I called Appearance / Menus) was particularly helpful. I'm beginning to understand the creative and problem-solving aspect of custom menus. I'll try and use it to solve the unwieldy 86-page problem.
    Thanks.

  8. I'm glad you found value in both of my posts. I just updated this one to include another troubleshooting tip. WordPress.com custom menu walk-through Best wishes with this project. :)

  9. Thank you for mentioning that link - it's equally helpful.
    Cheers.

  10. You're welcome. :)

  11. Re your question:
    The regular top menu of a theme displays links to all your published parent pages (with dropdowns to child pages in some themes only), in alphabetical order (unless you assign an order number), and nothing other than that.
    A custom menu allows you to:
    • Change the order more easily.
    • Create dropdowns if the regular menu of the theme doesn't support them.
    • Create dropdowns without having to turn your pages into child pages.
    • Display links to some instead of all of your pages.
    • Display other links instead of or in addition to pages (to categories, tags, posts, external webpages).

  12. Thank you. I think it will be a huge task to change 86 pages to a custom menu, but probably worth it in the end. As I understand it now, I think the fourth quality you listed will be particularly helpful in avoiding displaying a run-away menu with great- and great-great grandchildren.
    Thanks for the list.

  13. You're welcome.

    In my opinion 86 items are way too many - and I'm talking about both the menu editor and the result on the actual blog. I would suggest you create an index page instead.

  14. I am so sorry, I just want to ask help from dear friends wherever. I am new here. To make it clear, I mention the url address of my site http://www.nurulilmi.org. I install the WP using basic theme from elegant theme. I want to ask : (1). How can I make the right side bar into MENU which enables me to order the sub menu. the current condition, I just make categories. I want to change Category into MENU, then the following sub menu can be ordered as what I want. I mean that I can place Initiation comes in the top. Then Finding The Answer and so on.....

    I say thanks very much for the answers...

  15. I am so sorry, I just want to ask help from dear friends wherever. I am new here. To make it clear, I mention the url address of my site http://www.nurulilmi.org. I install the WP using basic theme from elegant theme. I want to ask : (1). How can I make the right side bar into MENU which enables me to order the sub menu. the current condition, I just make categories. I want to change Category into MENU, then the following sub menu can be ordered as what I want. I mean that I can place Initiation comes in the top. Then Finding The Answer and so on.....

    I say thanks very much for the answers...

  16. Yes, thank you - I think an index page is a good idea. I'll aim to display only up to about three levels in the menu and then use links or an index page to the lesser pages.

    Or are you saying that 86 pages are simply too many pages for one WordPress site, and that I should perhaps think about splitting the site into two?

  17. @ffurqon48

    The site you are asking about does not seem to be hosted on WordPress.COM so you need to make friends over at WordPress.ORG the keepers of the software you are using.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/7-things-to-know-before-posting-in-wordpresscom-forums?replies=1

    This site is for support of sites hosted on WordPress.COM. You should address your questions to WordPress.ORG the keepers of the software you are using: http://wordpress.org/support/

    For more on the difference: http://support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

  18. @kittaroos

    I think what Panos meant is that getting 86 Pages to fit on drop down menus will be tough for your visitors to navigate and find the Pages.

    His suggestion (I think) is to make a single page and make it an index Page with the Page titles in an outline form where you can arrange the Pages in a form that visitors can see.

    I use a couple of pages on my site to list all of my Posts so visitors can page down and see all the Posts that I have done. One page is alphabetical order and the other is in order of publishing, I also have an archives short code on a third Page that just lists the Post titles.

  19. Thank you, Auxclass. Yes, I've definitely noticed how difficult an 86-page menu can be!

    I've looked at your site and can see what you've done with an index page.

    I'm glad you don't think I need to split the site because a second site will not have an active blog page - and as Timethief said, it's the blog page that search engines look out for.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  20. The larger your site is the more chances for a search engine to send a visitor to your site and if visitors don't need to leave your site for the other content the better the chance they will look around and find other content - the whole thing is to make it easy for people to navigate your site once they do show up.

    You be welcome & good luck

  21. Oh, sorry, those links only work if you are trying to organize posts rather than pages…

  22. Thanks Tess. Maybe one day the posts will become unwieldy too - then I'll remember the archive widget.

  23. There's no limit to the number of posts a blog can have. A single static page is exactly like a single post, only outside the chronological structure of a blog. So there's no limit to the number of static pages either. So of course I didn't mean the system cannot handle 86 pages. I meant that 86 items in a top menu isn't user friendly, as auxlcass explained, and I meant you'll have difficulties with the main menu editor in particular (in Appearance>Menus).

    You can check my blog too, to see a different idea: I have split the index page into eight numbered pages (using the nextpage tag), and the first eight tabs in the top menu link to those eight pages. No dropdowns, but no endless scrolling down either.

  24. Thank you, Panos. I've checked your blog (and a very useful blog it is too).

    Using the custom menu option I'm now busy simplifying the menu structure. It's time-consuming, but a great help, and the site already looks so much better.

    Thanks for helping me to understand it.

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