Left navigation menus
There are two ways to have a nice left-hand navigation menu: WordPress Menus and the Simple Site Navigation plugin. WordPress Menus have fly-outs, which you might want to use, though they’re equally good for just simple flat left nav menus. Experiment with both before you decide which to use. Later, of course, you can easily switch.
These are fully explained in the WordPress docs: http://codex.wordpress.org/Appearance_Menus_Screen.
Go to Appearance > Menus in the administration left nav menu and then choose Create Menu to create a menu, for example My Left Nav.
Once created, you’ll get a screen like this:
After adding pages to the menu, you can drag and drop them to reorder and make a hierarchy (which is different from the parent-child relations elsewhere):
The next step is to add a Custom Menu widget to the left sidebar of your site.
Make sure the menu you’ll be showing (the Select Menu option) is the one you want. Save the changes and visit your site. The left nav menu will look like this:
Notice the fly-outs!
Simple Site Navigation
This is the other option. It creates a dynamically-generated, location-aware left nav menu using the parent-child relationships you’ve defined. Depending on how well organized your site is, at first it may look like terrible, but when you reorganize the parent-child relationships between pages it will clean itself up.
This is also a widget. Go to Appearance > Widgets and look for the Simple Section Navigation widget on the left-hand side with the other unused widgets:
Drag it over to the Left Sidebar. (If you have a Custom Menu widget there already, drag it back to the left-hand side so it’s disabled.) It will look like this:
Save it, and visit your site. The left navigation will look something like this:
That looks like an utter mess, but a few minutes in Pages Tree View cleaning it up made it look nicer:
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