How do I install a custom menu on my WordPress blog?

WordPress blog themes offer many variations in appearance and features. Many themes allow you to install a custom menu in place of the default menu.

To check if your theme supports custom menus, expand the Appearance tab in the navigation pane on the left of your Dashboard. Click Themes. Your current theme will be shown on the top of the page. The illustration below shows the default theme, “Twenty Ten”.


Below the theme description is a line of links titles “OPTIONS:”. If your theme supports custom menus there will be a link there.

Click the Menus link (there is also a link to Menus in the Appearance group).

If you do not yet have a custom menu, there is just one thing to do on the Menus page, that is to create a menu. Enter a name for the menu in the box (“mymenu” will do) and click Create Menu. image

Now other options on this page are available. For this task, these are Theme Locations, Custom Links and Pages, see the illustration here.

Start in the Pages group. Click each page you want shown on the menu so the checkmark shows, then click Add to Menu.

In the Custom Links area you can enter the address of a page or website – just about anything you want to show on the menu. There is a text box for the text that should appear on the menu for this.

The items you have added to the menu will show up on the right side.


Here you can rearrange the order of the menu items by just dragging an item from one place to another. The illustration above shows such a maneuver. 

Caution: If you move the menu item a bit to the right it may locate “indented”, like this:


With the result that the menu item becomes a submenu under the item above it. Of course, this may be just the result you want. Submenu items appear when the pointer is moved over the menu item. See the illustration.

To remove or modify a menu item, click the down-arrow on the right of the item for options.

Click Save Menu to save the menu. This does not install it, there is one more step.

The last step to install the custom menu is under Theme Locations. The selector under Primary Navigation shows the default, blank area and the menu you created.


Click in the space or on the down-arrow, then click on your menu. Finally click Save. Now your custom menu is installed.

You can modify the menu on this page. You can also revert to the default menu by selecting the blank listing under Primary Navigation (and saving, of course). This will still keep you custom menu so you can go back to it.



How do I connect Windows Live Writer to my WordPress blog?

Windows Live Writer is an amazingly powerful, yet simple to use tool for preparing blog posts. If you are not using it, you should! Get it here:

To connect Writer to your WordPress blog (other blogs connect just as simple) proceed as follows:

Open Live Writer.image

At first time use, Writer walks the user through the setup procedure.

Click Next.

The next dialog ask about what service you are using.

In this case click WordPress. If you are using another service, this is where to make the selection.

Click Next.

imageThe next dialog asks for the blog address, your user name and password.

For the web address enter the name of your blog followed by the blog service address, like this:

The dialog will add the http:// prefix, you need not worry about it.

Click Remember my password so the checkbox is checked. This will make later use simple.image

Click Next.

Writer will set up the blog and download the template, “theme”, information from your blog.

This is how Writer will then use the layout, color scheme, fonts, etc. to be able to make writing posts a simple wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) process.

The next dialog will show the blog title that you have set up in your blog. You can leave this as is, or enter some imageother descriptive term.

There is an option to “Share my blog on Windows Live”. Click this to make this connection.

Your browser will open. You will need to sign in to your Windows Live service.

Another windows ask for confirmation to connect WordPress to Windows Live.

Click the Connect button or Cancel should you wish to skip this feature.

You can then close the browser and continue in Writer.

Click Finish.

Writer opens with the theme loaded. Here is an illustration of such an initial window:


Note the window color, font, headers, etc. all there just as you have defined them by the theme you set up.

All you need to do now is enter a post title, the actual post text and click Publish (on the Home tab) to get the post on your blog. It really is that simple.

Note: If you want to configure an additional blog or skipped the initial configuring, click File (the button in upper left), then Options, then Accounts. There is an Add button, click that and it takes you to the “What blog service…” dialog as illustrated above.

Notice the Blog Account tab on the imageWindows Live Writer Ribbon. Click that and you have access to your blog and your blog account. Click Dashboard and your browser opens and takes you right to your WordPress dashboard (you may have to sign in, set the “remember me” options to get right in on future visits).

Note: If you are using another blog service, these option may be different or some may be missing.

Happy blogging!



How do I customize my WordPress blog?

When a WordPress blog is initially set up (click for how-to) a default theme is used and WordPress posts a “Hello world” post and a comment. Here is a view of a new blog:


The initial post and comment can, of course, be removed and the appearance, “theme”, can be changed.

Sign in to your WordPress accountimage – go to, in the upper left corner sign in using the user name and password you picked when setting up the blog. Click Log in.

imageOn the next page, again in the upper left, move the pointer to My Blogs, then on the name of your blog, move to the right to show the next drop-down menu. Click on Dashboard.

Your Dashboard is now displayed. In the left navigation pane are the options for many tasks and settings.

The first item should be to update your “About” page. There is likely a link right near the top. imageYou can also get there by clicking Pages, then the Edit command under About. Move the pointer to the area shown in the illustration here to see the command links.

On the next page you can use the editor to modify the default “About” text. This is also a good opportunity to become familiar with the online editor.

After editing be sure to click Update – scroll down if needed to find the link.

Next, you may wish to click Settings. On the General tab you can change the name of your blog, the byline, here called “tagline”, the time zone, and other items.

The real customization starts with the “Theme”. Click Appearance in the left pane. On the Themes tab you see the current theme information and you can browse the available themes. You want to find the theme that presents the blog to match your personality and the image you wish to project. There are over a hundred themes to chose from. You can narrow the search by clicking Feature Filters and then checking the choices of interest. The Apply Filters button then narrows the presented themes.


imageBelow the name of each theme there is a Preview link to permit you to see your blog as it would appear using that theme. Find the close, X, command in the upper left, to get back out of the preview.

Another way to see just specific themes is to click on a tag in the list under a theme. For this to give you all the options, uncheck any selected theme filters (and click Apply Filters).

Try out several themes. It may take a while to find the one that suits you best. Also remember that you can always change to another theme at any time later on.

This should get you underway in customizing your blog. Try out the many other options, you will learn the “ways of WordPress” pretty quickly.