Whether you want to add an article that you've created to a menu or some other component that you've installed, like a gallery, a calendar, or store front, it's quite simple in Joomla! The thing that's often times overlooked, is adding the information to help the search engines find the article's link.
For this lesson, we'll use a Joomla 1.5 administration interface. Joomla 1.6 and 1.7 work similarly, but the buttons and labels might be slightly different.
First, decide which item you want add and to what menu (if you have multiple menus).
Go to "Menus" (near the upper left of your administration panel), and from the drop down, click on the menu that you want to add the item to (don't click on the "Menu Manager", but choose the actual menu... i.e. Top Menu or Main Menu). You're now in the "Menu Item Manager".
Near the upper right, you'll see an icon that says "New". Click on that icon.
You'll now be in a new panel that give's you choices of what you want to add. For this example, let's choose an article. Under the "internal links" section, click on article. This will give you a whole range of options. Let's say we just want to link a single article. Choose and click on "Article Layout".
A new panel will open with information to fill in. Let's just go down the list, starting on the left...
Give your new menu item a title. This is what will appear on your menu.
You don't need to worry about an alias, that will be generated on it's own.
Make sure you've got the right menu selected.
Make sure the radio button is selected to make it "published" (otherwise it won't be visible).
Access levels are automatically set to "Public" (so anyone can see it), and it's automatically going to have the preference to open the article in the same browser window. These settings are the most common.
Choose an article. On the upper right, you'll see "Select an Article" with a box, and a button. Click on the "Select" button. This will open a little window which will allow you to choose from all the articles on your website. Simply click on the article you want linked to the menu item. The little box next to the "Select" button will now populate automatically.
At this point, you could click on the "Apply" or "Save" icons ("Apply" will keep your pane open, in case you want to make some adjustments. "Save" will save and close the menu item set up window.) in the upper right, and the menu item will appear.
And, now the SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a simple thing that's often overlooked.
Have you ever noticed at the top of your browser, how it often tells you what page you're on, or something about that page? Sometimes you might see the word "Home" or "Contact Us". Sometimes you don't see anything at all. And, sometimes you see a whole bunch of words describing the page that you're visiting. The later is a site that's making a page visible to search engines, or using a piece of Search Engine Optimization. Those words at the top of your browser are one of the first things that a search engine robot or spider sees. And if they are relevant to the actual content that's on the page, those spiders and robots are going to report that page back to the search engines as a good place to go (OK, I'm keeping this really simple).
We're now going to add that to this menu item.
On the right side of your Menu Item panel (let say we didn't close it out as we spoke about above), just under where you selected an article, you'll see a section labeled "Parameters (System)". Click on it. It will expand downward and you'll see a few options you can fill in.
In the box labeled "Page Title", we're going to enter words that are going to describe the page that you've selected. A page title can safely be up to about fifteen words. So choose kind of a sentence that describes your page. It's likely not really going to be a coherent sentence, because you're not going to use words such as the, is, at, which and on. These words are known as stop words and can cause problems when searching for phrases.
After you've entered your "Page Title", choose the "no" radio button next to "Show Page Title". If you don't check the "no" option, all those words are going to appear across the top of your article (which usually doesn't look too good).
Click on "Save" and go check out your new menu item from the front of the website.
If you have questions, please don't hesitate to email me.