Update: This post was written years ago, before WordPress added the very cool Menus functionality. Most new themes are using this function, so that the default might be just to list your pages, but you can go to Appearance/Menus and create your own menu for you navigation, and it can include not only pages, but categories as well!
I did some tweaking to my site over the weekend, and in the process, I almost shot myself in the foot, and learned a couple of things about managing how pages appear in a site’s main navigation that I thought you might be interested in. I wanted to add some new menu items and rearrange the content a bit, so that all my work was under a Portfolio page instead of being individual top level menu items. I got all the changes made and was happy with the way things were set up until a reader pointed out to me this morning that the link to my I Follow page was no longer working. Duh…. changing the page structure also goofed up the URL of the page on this site that is most linked to by other blogs. So, I moved the appropriate page back up to the top level, but then I had a problem: I didn’t want it to be an item in my main navigation. I looked around for a solution like a page redirect, or a plugin that would allow me to choose which pages would display in the main nav, and ended up finding a page in the WordPress Codex which details how to customize your menu by adding parameters into the wp_list_pages tag.
I also learned about the Page Order feature that I had never paid much attention to. In page editing mode, you can assign each page a number to sort by so you can arrange your pages in any order you like in your menu. Then you can add the appropriate bit of code from the above referenced site into the wp_list_pages tag to display them in the order you’ve specified in your site menu.
I also added an About page with a bit more info than just the blurb that used to be in the sidebar, and added a Site Map page that I still need to beef up a bit that makes use of the Clean Archives plugin. I’ve implemented this plugin on a couple of sites now and have found it very easy to use and a great improvement.
Any comments on the changes I’ve made? They’re not huge changes, but hopefully it will make it easier to manage the content as this site grows.