Managing site navigation

Video creator
Salsa Digital



Welcome to the GovCMS Content Administration Training series. Hi, I’m Ivan from Salsa Digital and in this video, you’ll learn how to manage your site navigation in GovCMS. We’ll cover the following two topics:

  • How the site navigation works and how to manage it
  • And how to create and edit menu items

How to manage site navigation

Good site navigation and information architecture play an important part in building a useful website. If you have all this great information but things are hard to find, then the usability of your website isn’t great. GovCMS allows you to control and manage the main site navigation from the backend.

On the homepage, you have the main navigation, which is in the header and the footer navigation down the bottom. Both header and footer navigation will be displayed on all frontend pages. If we click into a page, let’s click on the “news and media” page, you can see the header and footer navigation, plus the navigation here on the right-hand side.

Now, I should mention that the navigation on your site will look different and could be in different regions, for example, this sidebar could be on the left. The navigation is often customised for each GovCMS site, because each website will have a different information architecture.


Pages will also have a breadcrumb, which can help users navigate between pages. If we click on “News and media” in the breadcrumb it’ll take us to the “News and media” landing page. If we click on Blog in the main navigation, then the blog article example, we can see the breadcrumb and go back to the blog listing page.

Manage site navigation

So we’ve talked about the site navigation and breadcrumb in general. Now let’s look at how you can manage menu items in the navigation. First, make sure you have the site administrator role, as it is required to manage menus. If you need this role, please liaise within your organisation and raise a service desk ticket.

To manage the header and footer navigation go to Structure, then click on Menus.

“Main navigation” is for the header navigation and “Footer” is for the footer navigation. Administration, tools and user account menus shouldn't be touched as they’re used by Drupal.

The two important ones are Main navigation and Footer. Click on Edit menu on the main navigation and this will take you to the menu listing page. You can do a few things from this page. First, you can reorder the menus. Let’s move events next to home. But first we’ll open up a new tab. And you can see events is now next to home.

We can even disable menus, this will just hide them. Just uncheck the enabled checkbox. Let’s uncheck events and click on Save. The page is still accessible if you go directly to it, but it’s not visible in the main navigation. Let’s go back and enable it.

Create and edit menu items

We’ve looked at how to manage menu items from this page. You know how to reorder, disable and enable them. 

Now let’s look at how to create and edit menu items.

  1. To create one just click on “Add link”. Let’s add a menu item for the Copyright page. 

  2. Enter a title into “menu link title” and I’ll enter in “Copyright”. 

  3. Then in the Link field, which is an autocomplete field, I can start typing in copyright and it should find it. (Just a quick note, you can add an external URL in the Link field, which will link off the site.)

  4. And in the description field, I’ll enter in “Copyright page”. This description will appear when you hover over the menu. 

  5. And make Parent link has <Main navigation> selected. This should be pre-populated so leave it as-is. 

  6. Scroll down and click on Save.

If we go back into the menu we should see the “Copyright” menu at the bottom. And if we take a look at the homepage we can see the menu here and if we hover over it we can see the description.

Edit menus

Let’s go back to the list of menu items. To edit any of the menu items simply click on Edit, make your changes and click on Save. And to delete a menu item, just click on the drop-arrow and click on the delete button. Now, you may notice that some menu items do not have a delete button. And the Home menu has a reset but no delete. Why is that?

First, let’s discuss the Home menu. It’s automatically created by a module in GovCMS so it can’t be deleted from this page. If you don’t want this menu item, simply disable it. The other four menus (blog, events, FOI requests and news and media) are also controlled by a module in GovCMS. The only thing you can do is change the menu title. So if we edit the Blog menu, we can change the title and description but we can’t change the link. And it tells you “This link is provided by the Views module”.

If you do not want the Blog menu in the navigation then simply disable it. But any link created using the “Add link” form can be deleted. 

Create and edit menu items from the content form

So we’ve looked at how to manage menu items from this listing page. But now I want to show you how to create a menu item from the content form, so when you're creating a standard page you can create a menu item for it.

Let’s go and create a new page. 

  1. Go to Content, Add content and click on Standard page.

  2. I’ll enter in “Menu item page” as the title and I’ll add some dummy text.

  3. On the right-hand side, you should see “menu settings”. Go and check “Provide a menu link”. And the menu link title automatically gets the page title. (You can also add a description and a weight. The weight value will control the order of the menu.)

  4. From the Parent item dropdown, you can select the parent item. If you select <main navigation> or <footer> it’ll be on the first level of menus. (Now, I should mention that the number of parent items you can select can be configured. So on your GovCMS site, you may have more or fewer items to select. So just be aware of that.) Let’s leave it as <main navigation> and save the page. 

  5. And let’s publish the page. 

  6. And here we can see the new menu item.

Edit content menu item

Let’s go back and edit the page. And now I want to discuss limitations with this interface. First of all, you can’t see any of the other menu items and this makes it difficult to reorder the item. Yes, you can add a weight but you’re kind of guessing what that weight value should be.

So here is what I recommend you do:

  1. Create the menu item by checking “provide a menu link”

  2. Publish your page

  3. Then go to the menu listing page, which we covered earlier, and let me open that in a new tab. 

  4. Then you can reorder the menu item whichever way you want.


Let’s now recap what we covered in this video. First, we looked at how the site navigation works and how to manage it. And then you learnt how to create and edit menu item