Links to external sites as Menu Items
It would be great if you could enter a url for the menu item rather than this kludgey redirect process. This could also be accomplished through implementing a http 301 redirect that has been proposed to in some other posts, but again this is a somewhat kludgey solution.
As much as it would be ideal to have a link in a menu to link to an external page, it's not best practice from a usability perspective. Also search engines may penalize your site if you have lots of menu based links that redirect to external sites. This is how spam farms tend to work and how they try to game search engines.
Best practice is to have a page on the site that links off to the remote page, but have the menu load the page locally on the site instructing the visitor to link to another site.
It sounds in principle like it is a good way to "shortcut" the 2 step process of a local page linking off to another page, but it is best practice to link off a page, rather than linking directly offsite on a navigation menu. Remember when visitors use your website they expect navigation menus to take you to another page on your site rather than offsite.
Dick Stone commented
Great idea. Simplifies many issues.
John Canfield commented
The lack of this feature is a major oversight by WA. We migrated here a couple of years ago from a less sophisticated club based web portal where we could point a menu item to a URL. We were amazed we can't do this here.
I would like to be able to add menu items that link to any specified URL, including pages within the site. While I think good design often eliminates the need for duplication, sometimes a page needs to be linked to in multiple locations for user-friendliness. For example, if a main menu item has a drop-down (secondary menu), sometimes people don't realize they can click on the main menu item and only look in the drop-down options. A main menu item of "Become a Member" could link to the same page as the drop-down option "How to Join." Also, it'd be nice to be able to add menu links to different anchors on a single page, and to be able to link to files, e.g. PDFs, so that we can list items such as our Bylaws in the menu.
Is there anyway to make menu items point to an external site in a new window?
I have used the redirect but I would like the page to open in a new window.
Dmitry Buterin commented
BTW, ideally I think these menu items should be somehow visually differentiated so that site visitors are not unexpectedly thrown to some other place.